Peggy Noonan says that Barack Obama has gotten to the great voter tune-out faster than most second-term presidents. Talking too much and delivering too little will do that.
Mickey Kaus says that Obama’s new economic push reveals four, possibly five, disconnects between what he says and what he actually does. There has always been a question of whether Barack Obama actually means many of the things that he says. He called Bush-era debt “unpatriotic,” only to pile up far more of it. He described Afghanistan as the real center of the war on terrorism, but is planning to abandon it next year without taking any care to see that war actually won. He decried holding captured terrorists without trial at Gitmo, but his grand solution has been to just kill them and everyone around them with flying robots.
It’s fair to say that President Obama’s second term is off to a lousy start. He opened 2013 campaigning for gun control. After mounting a massive public campaign he failed legislatively everywhere but a couple of states, while his activism prodded gun and ammo sales into the stratosphere. Until just a couple of weeks ago, both firearms and ammo were scarce and the much maligned AR-15 rifle was so difficult to come by that prices on those that did hit the market doubled or even tripled. Obama the gun controller became the gun industry’s Salesman of the Decade. A consequence of his anti-gun activism is that a whole lot more Americans now own guns than did just half a year ago. There are probably thousands more ammunition stockpiles in homes around the country now, too.
After that failure, he pivoted to immigration and supported the Rubio-Schumer bill. That passed the Senate but has stalled in the House, and despite the noises about it occasionally coming from House GOP leadership, it isn’t likely to pass in the form Obama wants.
That failure has been followed by Obama delaying Obamacare because it isn’t working, and pivoting for the 19th time to the economy. The economy isn’t doing better than when he was first elected and his own signature law, Obamacare, and his war on energy have a lot to do with that. If you wage war on the lifeblood of the economy, you hurt the economy. If you introduce uncertainty and unfunded mandates onto the backs of business, you get less hiring. In his stump speeches, he accuses Washington of engaging in “phony” scandals, including two with body counts and one involving using the IRS as a political weapon, and of taking its “eye off the ball” of the economy and jobs.
But what has Obama himself been doing throughout 2013? Pushing gun control, and then pushing an immigration bill, and failing at both, in between vacations and rounds of golf. Whose eye is off the ball here?
As the failures have piled up and the economic data isn’t getting any better, a frustrated Obama now critiques the system he leads as if he’s just a bystander and threatens to just bypass Congress to exert his will. Neither of those amounts to anything close to leadership, making deals, and compromising. His rhetoric in fact makes compromises all but impossible, because he resorts to accusing Republicans of various evils rather than acknowledging that they have real, legitimate points.
He mounts campaigns. They fail. He gives empty speeches that no one outside his hand-picked puppet shows believes. He beats up on the system that he’s been elected to and is supposed to lead, but can’t. When the system goes awry, which is the most charitable view of the IRS scandal available, he fake-fires people and calls it a day. Or, in the case of Benghazi, he just pretends that he doesn’t have to explain his actions that night, and acts like he isn’t the commander-in-chief.
Barack Obama is admitting in all this that he just can’t do the job of president and he doesn’t really want to anymore. Not in the system we have, anyway. So he’ll be a mouthy dictator and endlessly unhappy critic for three more years, and the Democrats and the media will go on pretending that he’s a god-king.