Obama’s Cardinal Errors
Four fundamental mistakes have drained the president's early momentum.
September 22, 2009 - 12:30 am
If the White House is to be believed, we simply haven’t heard enough from the president. Eight months of non-stop fawning coverage wasn’t enough. A presidential speech before Congress wasn’t enough. And you can bet that five Sunday talk shows won’t be enough.
That Obama hasn’t said anything of consequence in these outings seems to have escaped the White House’s notice. He’s not saying how he will pay for this. He’s not telling liberals they can’t have the public option. He’s just telling everyone else — especially the “silly” and “uniformed” people — to be more civil. And he is trying to tell us a tax isn’t a tax.
There are other creative theories. Mickey Kaus suggests that Obama has been too vague and allowed his critics to paint a picture of a scary leftist. He suggests that “uncertainty about Obama made it wildly important that he not do things that would give the most ominous speculation — that he’s way on the left of the possible envelope — any traction.” But of course it was easy to fill in the blanks because Obama kept doing scary leftist things, like spending through the roof, appointing Van Jones, and yanking missile defense installations out of Poland and the Czech Republic.
And then the likes of Jimmy Carter and Maureen Dowd tell us that the real issue is racism. Americans elected an African-American, supported him overwhelmingly for months, and then discovered their inner racism and turned on him. Or some of them did. Or the loud ones did, masking their racism with “phony” reasons for opposing Obama-ism. The absence of any racially-tinged language by Joe Wilson and other critics is beside the point.
None of these seem very convincing, however. It really isn’t all that complicated, actually. Obama has, in less than a year, made four cardinal errors.