Has the President Lost His Bearings?

There was a moment during the campaign, when candidate Obama was still keenly feeling his superlative oats, where he declared about his older opponent: “McCain is losing his bearings.” At issue then was a McCain comment that Hamas, the terrorist organization shelling Israel from Gaza, was “clearly supporting” Obama’s election.

Of course, in retrospect, it’s not hard to see which candidate was off-kilter upstairs, especially in regards to the Middle East.

The slo-mo implosion of Obama’s presidency is the topic du jour among just about everyone these days. From the yuppie-occupied tables at the neighborhood Starbucks to every main street beer joint and pool hall, in every golf club tavern and even at ladies’ luncheons, the question of what went wrong and why is foremost in every American mind and on their lips.

It’s a rare citizen these days who is not asking that very question -- has he lost his bearings? -- about the president. And as the days tick by on the government’s feckless response to the BP oil spill, a spill that occurred squarely in federal waters in a federally regulated industry, one image stands out and may go down as marking when we all knew Barack Obama had clearly lost not only his bearings, but his presidency.

The image, which ought to be branded in every voter’s mind right now, is this one -- nicely captured by video -- where the president leads the entire first family up on stage to join Paul McCartney and his raucous band of musicians in a momentous rendition of Hey Jude. The affair? Another in-poor-taste White House gala, which ought to, by now, be billed by the press as tawdry let-them-eat-cake displays of President Obama’s royal-laden, out-of-touch disposition towards all things real-life. The president’s Hey Jude moment occurred on June 3, day 44 of the man-caused catastrophe in the Gulf.

The whole thing sadly reminded me of my teeny-bopper excitement upon seeing the Beatles perform live on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. I was 13-years-old and went around singing I Want to Hold Your Hand in a silly girl, fawning trance for a week afterwards. So did all my girlfriends. We outgrew it in less time than it took for our hair to grow out from those awful Beatles’ haircuts we just had to have. To see my president thus grossly enthralled -- and up on the stage, no less -- was enough to put me nearly round the bend myself from embarrassment. What was he thinking? This seems too mild a question for the enormity of the statement Barack Obama made about his own transparently disordered character.

Any president who fails to see the vulgar implications of partying hearty while millions of American citizens are seeing their already-imperiled livelihoods go completely kaput with every day of gushing crude has lost touch with reality.

Like everyone else, I’ve hated -- just hated -- seeing those gorgeous pelicans drenched in rust-colored slime. I’ve cried over the devastation of such a beautiful, pristine coast. The beaches and the marshes and the nature preserves, all hideously disfigured for what some experts say may be a decade.

But even worse, in my view, is the decimation of the fishing and tourism industries which have barely just recovered from Katrina. These industries represent the livelihoods of millions of our fellow Americans. Hard-working from-the-bootstraps-up people, who do their jobs, pay their taxes, raise their families, and help keep our country strong.

As citizens, we must ask why our federal government has grown too big to succeed at anything much at all. That’s not all this president’s fault, of course. Our federal government has been outgrowing its constitutionally set boundaries for decades now. But anyone who has the temerity to put his name on the ballot as presidential material without having ever run anything more than an election campaign with an infatuated press in tow ought to know that he just might be getting in a bit over his own head. And when a president doesn’t even have the good sense or the backbone to have a face-to-face meeting with the BP CEO he is entrusting to fix a national disaster, then he’s not only in over his head, he is drowning.

Anyone still in charge of his faculties would know he was drowning.