What a difference a year makes.
At this time last year Obamanation was telling us that Teh Precious was the greatest thing since sliced bread. They boasted and bragged that they weren’t just supporting a political candidate, they were part of a once-in-a-lifetime movement led by a “game-changer” who was going to permanently alter the political system in this country.
According to them, Barack Obama was the most inspiring public speaker in a generation. His ability to connect with voters through both traditional and new forms of media would allow him to mobilize the public to pressure Congress to end gridlock and enact his agenda. But he probably wouldn’t need to do that because Obama had mad political skills and he would use “11th dimensional chess” moves that leave anyone he couldn’t persuade frustrated and unable to fight back. They told us that Obama was a nth degree black belt in political Kung-Fu and not only would his opponents attacks not touch him they would end up backfiring.
We were told that Obama would govern as a “post-partisan” and would unite the “middle” into a cohesive unit by reaching out to GOP moderates and religious fundamentalists and convincing them to focus on the common values we all share. He would make sure that they knew their voices were heard. By the end of his second term the radical Republican conservatives would basically be a minor party as the United States became a “single-party” (or “no-party”) democracy.
Obama would assemble a “team of rivals” from among the best and brightest of both parties and in academia. Under Obama’s guidance these technocrats would pick the best ideas to solve whatever problems arose because they would be free of ideological straitjackets.
The Obots told us that Obama was uniquely qualified to lead because he would be the first truly intellectual President since Jefferson and Madison. Unlike certain people whose last names start with a “C” he didn’t let himself get bogged down memorizing the finer points of policy which freed him to look at the big picture. And along with his superior intellect Obama had excellent judgment. This allowed Obama to master the intricacies of Washington D.C. in only a couple of years, unlike others who spent decades learning the skills necessary to lead.
But things weren’t perfect in Obamanation last year. They had already been forced to abandon their claims that Obama was a “post-racial” candidate when he ran the most racially divisive and race-conscious campaign since George Wallace in 1968. The Obots helped play the race card by accusing anyone who didn’t support Obama of racism, even though their primary targets were liberal Democrats. And they wept with joy when Obama gave the greatest speech on race in their lifetimes (as if Martin Luther King lived in the 19th Century)
That was then, this is now.
So far, Obama’s efforts to connect with the voters seems focused on persuading them not to march on Washington with pitchforks and torches. Although he is thus far successful in keeping the mobs at bay, speechifying is pretty much the only thing he’s been doing. He travels the country giving speeches, just like he did last year.
His motivational qualities turned out to be overrated, and we know know he needs a Teleprompter to say good morning to his daughters. When he speaks without a script he makes more gaffes than Joe Biden.
His mad political skills turned out to be imaginary, and the GOP is recalculating and moving up the target date of their post-Bush rebuilding period. It’s telling that the Kool-aid bloggers have mostly ignored the faux pas with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but if that affair is indicative of Obama’s political skills then it’s going to be a long four years.
As for “post-partisan” the Obots are starting to realize that the FISA vote wasn’t a fluke, when push comes to shove Obama will abandon liberal principles on civil liberties and economics. Actually, he doesn’t even put up a fight, he seems pretty eager to break their hearts. His “reaching out” policy turned out to be pandering to bigots and sexists. The Obots’ movement is rapidly turning into one of the “bowel” variety.
Obama’s “team of rivals” is a mixed bag. Appointing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State was the lone outstanding pick, but it was probably the price she demanded for her support last summer. A couple picks seem pretty good (Holder, Solis) but they are overshadowed by the bad picks (Geithner, Gates) and the problems so many nominees have had getting vetted and confirmed (Richardson, Daschle) Two months have passed since inauguration day and it’s still a work in progress.
Anyone who wants to claim that Obama is an intellectual won’t have much evidence to back them up. I’m not saying the man is stupid, his Ivy League degrees prove that he is above-average in intelligence. But there’s a big difference between “above average” and “genius.” Unfortunately for us Obama doesn’t seem to have the work-ethic that the not-quite genius types use to compensate, he tires easily. Nor does he have experience to guide him. He never even bothered to master the details of his job as a Senator before spending most of the last two years running for the job he has now.
It goes without saying that Obama’s judgment is suspect (to say the least) and the advisors closest to him appear to be political operatives rather than policy wonks. It’s the “Mayberry Machiavellis” thing all over again, and even having somebody like David Sirota in there would be an improvement, but it ain’t gonna happen because Obama’s top advisors are connected to his top financial supporters.
Never forget, somebody spent a lot of money just to make Obama a viable candidate. If you think Obama raised $99 million dollars back in 2007 from small online donors you’ve been smoking hopium. He has wealthy and powerful backers. I don’t believe they are intentionally trying to wreck our economy but they will push solutions that maintain their wealth and privilege. From the beginning they have surrounded Obama with advisors who advocate lifestyles of the rich and shameless.
Well, we didn’t get the game-changing leader that was advertised, so what did we get?
We got an ambitious political neophyte who is in way over his head. He will almost certainly improve between now and the next election, if only because he really can’t get worse. If he’s lucky the economy will turn-around by early 2012 and he can convince people he deserves the credit. But if the majority of the people decide he’s incompetent they may conclude the economy improved in spite of Obama, whether it’s true or not.
All is not lost. Our founding fathers designed a system to prevent Presidents from becoming tyrants, and it works pretty well to mitigate incompetance too, at least if Congress does it’s job. History indicates the economy will eventually recover no matter what Obama does, but that doesn’t mean everything will go back the way it was.
The voting public is starting to realize what we’ve known since last year – Obama is an empty suit. Unfortunately the immediate beneficiaries of voter disgust will be the Republicans. Don’t underestimate the American people. This nation has faced worse problems and survived. The important thing is to not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed. This too, shall pass.