David Brooks describes the president’s (well earned) plight:
The number of Americans who trust President Obama to make the right decisions has fallen by roughly 17 percentage points. Obama’s job approval is down to about 50 percent. All presidents fall from their honeymoon highs, but in the history of polling, no newly elected American president has fallen this far this fast.
Anxiety is now pervasive. Trust in government rose when Obama took office. It has fallen back to historic lows. Fifty-nine percent of Americans now think the country is headed in the wrong direction.
What he doesn’t describe is the fact that he was one of the people who had deluded himself, and was telling us a year ago that this guy was a “moderate.” He’s part of the problem, and it will be hard for me to take him seriously until I see some explanation and contrition (not that I’ve ever paid much attention to him).
And then there’s this:
President Obama is now firmly between a rock and a hard place. Democrats want a strong healthcare reform bill with a public option. Republicans and more conservative Democrats do not agree. If Obama fails to get a bill that his base supporters want, the entire Democratic Party risks alienating them; especially 18-29-year-old First GlobalsTM, who could very quickly become disenchanted with politics. Obama needs to enter the fray in a very public way, which may mean knocking heads with both wings of his own party.
Just where I want him, and just where he deserves to be.
[Update late morning]
Jonah Goldberg isn’t impressed with Brooks’ analysis, either:
According to Brooks, the reason why Obama is falling apart is that he’s married himself to the very liberal Democratic leadership. Brooks thinks this was a horrible tactical and strategic mistake and, he’s right! But why did he make it? Brooks ends his column with this partial explanation: “Events have pushed Barack Obama off to the left. Time to rebalance.”
Oh those horrible events! They make criminals rob liquor stores. John Edwards cheated on his cancer-stricken wife even as he was using her as a campaign issue because of “events.” Larry Craig was driven to that bathroom stall by “events.” I am overserved at open bars because those pernicious events won’t leave me alone.
Maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama wasn’t driven to the left by events but, rather, he was driving them thataway?
Brooks, it seems to me, is still holding out hope for the possibility that if we “let Obama be Obama” he’ll tack to the center because he really is that bipartisan, moderate, Niebuhr-grocking 21st century man that caused so many otherwise sensible conservatives to go off their feed.
That seems highly implausible to me. Obama has been Obama, and that’s why he’s in the predicament he’s in. He is the author of these events, not a victim of them.
Exactly. And David Brooks remains a naif.
[Update a few minutes later]
Camille Paglia remains deluded about and in love with (for all that she’s a lesbian) Obama as well:
Paglia has compiled a veritable not-to-do list, providing convincing reasons to cashier this president ASAP. And yet, as we have seen, she does not suffer “buyer’s remorse,” and indeed claims at the outset that she “will continue to support him.” How to make even a modicum of sense of this species of cognitive dissonance?
Like Dershowitz, Paglia cannot give up on her man, who has clearly charmed the gold threads from her moonbeamish access of adoration. Even though she states that Obama is implicated in the moral collapse of the Democratic Party, the drift of her article adroitly suggests that he is really not to blame for the debacle. It is the “White House apparatus” that she craftily targets. Obama is “surrounded by juvenile tinhorns, bungling mediocrities, and crass bully boys,” who are obviously responsible for the ethical morass in which he finds himself.
The fact that Obama himself chose this gang of mountebanks — Timothy Geithner, Van Jones, David Axelrod, John Holdren, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano, George Mitchell, John Brennan, James Messina, Linda Douglass, Robert Gibbs, Cass Sunstein, Kenneth Feinberg, Steven Chu, the Emanuelim (Rahm and Ezekiel), and the rest of, to use a phrase from Thomas Pynchon, “the whole sick crew” — does not for a moment impinge upon her waking consciousness. They are one and all either professional incompetents, ambitious parvenus, or moral defectives, yet Paglia cannot admit that each of these impostors has been vetted, approved, and anointed by The One.
Moreover, it is the Obama administration and not Obama himself that solicited the American people to report on fishy, casual conversations, as if Barack Obama was too busy soberly and deliberatively carrying out his foreign policy initiatives to pay attention. Similarly, it is Congress that is doing the dirty work, throwing the American people “to the wolves.” Obama’s error is one of omission rather than commission, residing in his leniency, presumably, for permitting Congress to sabotage the public welfare when he should have been more hands-on, better at managing the congressional process. Has Paglia not listened to the president’s speeches on radio and television or twigged to his town hall marching orders? Has she not picked up on the spirit of aggression that exudes from many of his pronouncements? But she stubbornly refuses to be disabused.
I recall coming across a wonderful New Yorker cartoon some years ago, depicting a buxom young princess in the afterglow of satisfaction lying against the bolster of an elegant, richly ornamented bed. Beside her reclines a frog, his little hands clasped snugly behind his head, his legs crossed at the knee, an expression of roguish triumph on his face. “I lied,” he says. But people like Camille Paglia will persist in seeing a prince when they are presented with nothing more than a canny amphibian. There was never a transformation, only a deception.
Just more of those darned “events.”