Even liberals like Maureen Dowd have grown tired of Barack Obama’s self-important incompetence. Her final line is absolutely devastating.
The leader who was once a luminescent, inspirational force is now just a guy in a really bad spot. …
Just as Obama miscalculated in 2009 when Democrats had total control of Congress, holding out hope that G.O.P. lawmakers would come around on health care after all but three senators had refused to vote for the stimulus bill; just as he misread John Boehner this summer, clinging like a scorned lover to a dream that the speaker would drop his demanding new inamorata, the Tea Party, to strike a â€œgrandâ€ budget bargain, so the president once more set a trap for himself and gave Boehner the opportunity to dis him on the timing of his jobs speech this week.
Obamaâ€™s re-election chances depend on painting the Republicans as disrespectful. So why would the White House act disrespectful by scheduling a speech to a joint session of Congress at the exact time when the Republicans already had a debate planned?
And why is the White House so cocky about Obama as a TV draw against quick-draw Rick Perry? As James Carville acerbically noted, given a choice between watching an Obama speech and a G.O.P. debate, â€œIâ€™d watch the debate, and Iâ€™m not even a Republican.â€
The White House caved, of course, and moved to Thursday, because thereâ€™s nothing the Republicans say that he wonâ€™t eagerly meet halfway.
No. 2 on David Lettermanâ€™s Top Ten List of the presidentâ€™s plans for Labor Day: â€œPretty much whatever the Republicans tell him he can do.â€
On MSNBC, the anchors were wistfully listening to old F.D.R. speeches, wishing that this president had some of that fight. But Obama canâ€™t turn into F.D.R. for the campaign because he aspires to the class that F.D.R. was a traitor to; and he canâ€™t turn into Harry Truman because he lacks the common touch. He has an acquired elitism.
MSNBCâ€™s Matt Miller offered â€œa public serviceâ€ to journalists talking about Obama â€” a list of synonyms for cave: â€œBuckle, fold, concede, bend, defer, submit, give in, knuckle under, kowtow, surrender, yield, comply, capitulate.â€
And it wasnâ€™t exactly Morning in America when Obama sent out a mass e-mail to supporters Wednesday under the heading â€œFrustrated.â€
It unfortunately echoed a November 2010 parody in The Onion with the headline, â€œFrustrated Obama Sends Nation Rambling 75,000-Word E-Mail.â€
â€œThroughout,â€ The Onion teased, â€œthe president expressed his aggravation on subjects as disparate as the war in Afghanistan, the sluggish economic recovery, his live-in mother-in-law, Chinaâ€™s undervalued currency, Bostonâ€™s Logan Airport, and tort reform.â€
You know youâ€™re in trouble when Harry Reid says you should be more aggressive.
If the languid Obama had not done his usual irritating fourth-quarter play, if he had presented a jobs plan a year ago and fought for it, he wouldnâ€™t have needed to elevate the setting. How will he up the ante next time? A speech from the space station?
Republicans who are worried about being political props have a point. The president is using the power of the incumbency and a sacred occasion for a political speech.
Obama is still suffering from the Speech Illusion, the idea that he can come down from the mountain, read from a Teleprompter, cast a magic spell with his words and climb back up the mountain, while we scurry around and do what he proclaimed.
The days of spinning illusions in a Greek temple in a football stadium are done. The One is dancing on the edge of one term.
The White House team is flailing â€” reacting, regrouping, retrenching. Itâ€™s repugnant.
After pushing and shoving and caving to get on TV, the presidentâ€™s advisers immediately began warning that the long-yearned-for jobs speech wasnâ€™t going to be that awe-inspiring.
â€œThe issue isnâ€™t the size or the newness of the ideas,â€ one said. â€œItâ€™s less the substance than how he says it, whether he seizes the moment.â€
The arc of justice is stuck at the top of a mountain. [Emphasis added ] Maybe Obama was not even the person he was waiting for.