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Obama: A Spectator in his own Administration

by | Sep 22, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

True story: As I watched President Obama offer details on his jobs bill, the words “self-immolation” came to mind. In our role as single-issue activists, the content of his proposal is beyond our purview. (A headline in POLITICO today captures the resulting anger/fear/desperation among Democrats: “Obama sparks middle-of-road rage.”)

But as another signal that President is in over his head it is very much worth placing in the context of the run up to2012. Let me offer a few other items to explain what I mean.

·         You already know the abysmal polling numbers. As Obama’s job approval ratings sink into the 30s, you might think he is close to plateauing —or bottoming out. I suspect there’s a ways to go. We briefly talked yesterday about the latest sign—a McClatchy-Marist Poll that found Obama’s numbers at all-time low among registered voters: 39%–with disapproval now over 50% (52% to be precise).”President Obama needs to reboot his presidency,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

·         Without going into detail, Obama’s support among every demographic group that gave him victory in 2008 has withered. Beyond the drooping numbers themselves is the simple truth that the “enthusiasm” gap between Republicans and Democrats grows progressively wider.

·         Far more important than even this awful polling data, however, may be the truth that underlies of a new book by Pulitzer Price winner Ron Suskind, “Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and The Education of A President,” which went on sale yesterday but was talked about all weekend. Again, most of the specifics that have been talked about thus far (e.g., a quote from a prominent woman in the Administration that “this place would be in court for a hostile workplace”) are not our province.

What matters is how Suskind summarizes the Obama of the first two years. He is “a brilliant amateur” who has improved over time as an executive but who was rolled by his advisers early on because Obama simply was too inexperienced to do much but blindly trust veteran Washington insiders. It’s clear in the beginning that Obama was a spectator in his own Administration, a novice looking for advice. Suskind apparently thinks Obama now has his sea legs, but can that really be true of a man who to this day relies on demonizing his opponents, a tactic that may float when you are popular (and satisfy his “base”) but is deadly when you are on the ropes?

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Categories: Obama