NRL News

Are the Scales Falling from the Public’s Eyes about Obama?

by | May 1, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Peggy Noonan

We’ve talked about the Incredibly shrinking Barack Obama on many occasions, but I’d like to end Monday’s NRL News Today posts with a few words about Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan’s most recent buyer’s remorse op-ed.

You could fill an entire library with books on the topic of why do genuinely smart people so often put their intelligence in mothballs? I can understand falling in love with “Hope and Change”—well, I kind of understand—but why did that leave people who are not on the left of the ideological spectrum so enthralled by a man about whom they knew next to nothing? A topic for another day.

Today, a piece by Noonan headlined, “A Bush League President: Republicans are aggravated by Obama. They should cheer up. So is everyone else.”

To make an obvious point right out of the box, clearly “everyone else” is a rhetorical exaggeration. There are still true believers who wait with bated breath for the next gem Obama reads off a Teleprompter. There is nothing Obama can say or do—or not say or not do—that will knock the stars out of their eyes.

But Noonan’s larger point is unassailable. If you are not hopelessly in the tank for Obama, you come away from watching him with a conclusion that is very worrisome for any candidate, let alone an incumbent President: Obama is boring.

He yammers and yaks incessantly and he might as well be yodeling. Aside from promising the moon and demonizing anyone who disagrees with him, Obama has nothing to say. Certainly nothing of substance.

Noonan underrates, in my opinion, the amount of money Obama will be able to raise, the impact of his campaign’s ability to use social media to reach a gazillion people, and (what is not mentioned in her piece) the dogged determination of the “Mainstream Media” to keep him in office for a second term.

But she is surely right about this. It is impossible to miss the scent of incompetency which surrounds the Obama Administration. Among other pieces of evidence she uses two recent appearances by the Solicitor General in front of the Supreme Court. Even justices sympathetic to the point of view of the Administration seemed irritated by the caliber of presentations being made. (It didn’t help that they were facing veteran litigators with histories of brilliant oral arguments.)

Thus Noonan is spot on when she asks, “You know why they’re not using ‘You know me’? Because we know him, and it’s not a plus.”

Let me end where Noonan begins—that Obama is diligently trying to stitch together a winning coalition, thread by thread. So what? That’s what presidential coalitions are supposed to do. However, her point is that (in her view) this is more difficult because Obama

“doesn’t have a coherent agenda, or a political philosophy that is really clear to people. To the extent he has a philosophy, it tends to pop up furtively in stray comments and then go away. This is to a unique degree a presidency of inference, its overall meaning never vividly declared. In some eras, that may be a plus. In this one?”

Pro-lifers would disagree, at least with regard to the issues that are first in our minds. Obama has never been shy about the need to unyieldingly serving the agenda of Planned Parenthood; never been timid about excising every pro-life trace left over from the Bush years; never been bashful about shredding the religious liberties of Americans; and never been hesitant about picking Supreme Court justices who would maintain the legacy of Roe v. Wade.

“A Presidency of Inference”? Hardly. More like the Sledgehammer Presidency.

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Categories: Obama