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Ed Driscoll

‘The New Obama Narrative: Epic Incompetence’

May 21st, 2014 - 11:53 am

“The emerging narrative of Barack Obama, the one that actually comports to reality, is that he is a rare political talent but a disaster when it comes to actually governing,” Peter Wehner writes at Commentary

The list of his failures is nothing short of staggering, from shovel-ready jobs that weren’t so shovel ready to the failures of healthcare.gov to the VA debacle. But it also includes the president’s failure to tame the debt, lower poverty, decrease income inequality, and increase job creation. He promised to close Guantanamo Bay and didn’t. His administration promised to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before a civilian jury in New York but they were forced to retreat because of outrage in his own party. Early on in his administration Mr. Obama put his prestige on the line to secure the Olympics for Chicago in 2016 and he failed.

Overseas the range of Obama’s failures include the Russian “reset” and Syrian “red lines” to Iran’s Green Revolution, the Egyptian overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, and Libya post-Gaddafi. The first American ambassador since the 1970s was murdered after requests for greater security for the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi were denied. (For a comprehensive overview of President Obama’s failures in the Middle East, see this outstanding essay by Abe Greenwald.) The president has strained relations with nations extending from Canada to Germany, from Israel to Afghanistan to Poland and the Czech Republic to many others. All from a man who promised to heal the planet and slow the rise of the oceans.

Back in early 2011, when New York City was hip deep in a foot and a half or more of white powdery global warming and snow removal was spotty at best and nonexistent at worst, Victor Davis Hanson coined “The Bloomberg Syndrome:”

It is a human trait to focus on cheap and lofty rhetoric rather than costly, earthy reality. It is a bureaucratic characteristic to rail against the trifling misdemeanor rather than address the often-dangerous felony. And it is political habit to mask one’s own failures by lecturing others on their supposed shortcomings. Ambitious elected officials often manage to do all three.

The result in these hard times is that our elected sheriffs, mayors, and governors are loudly weighing in on national and global challenges that are quite often out of their own jurisdiction, while ignoring or failing to solve the very problems that they were elected to address.

Quite simply, the next time your elected local or state official holds a press conference about global warming, the Middle East, or the national political climate, expect to experience poor county law enforcement, bad municipal services, or regional insolvency.

That obviously applies on the federal level as well — right, John Kerry? But the VA scandal is especially damning for Obama given his vested interest in government-run healthcare and at this late stage in his administration, the possibility — yes, I’m shuddering too that it might last — that Obamacare will be his only real namesake domestic accomplishment. Plus the far left’s need to overcome the appearance that they “loathe the military,” as young Bill Clinton was wont to say.

And just imagine how worse Obama’s poll numbers would be if the media actually devoted airtime to scandals beyond the VA.

“We’ve learned the hard way that Mr. Obama’s skill sets are far more oriented toward community organizing than they are to governing,” Wehner concludes, describing the president as a “passive actor” and “bystander.”

If only someone had warned in 2008 that Obama was much more interesting in playing the role of the World’s Biggest Celebrity than actually governing:

Update: How bad is the president’s performance? He’s lost former Oba-groupie Ron Fournier: “How Obama Became the Superhero of Excuses.” he writes today. Though as Fournier notes, Obama will always have Ezra “Green Lantern” Klein on his side — if that wasn’t already a given.

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If nothing else, this proves at least one person still reads Ezra now that he's away from the Washington Post and at Vox, though basically being labeled the long-winded version of Media Matters by Fournier isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.

(Also, it will be fun a year or so from now for someone to ask Hillary is she plans to be as much of a hand-on president as Barack Obama. The answer should harken back to some of her husband's more carefully-crafted statements while under oath.)
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