Naked Launch

Peter Robinson writes, “Every so often a president finds himself standing completely exposed–naked, so to speak–before the political class.” Reasonable people (if such a group can be found to debate President Bush’s record) can disagree, but Robinson believes that President Bush was first caught with brass exposed in October 2005, when he nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court:


As she began making courtesy calls on members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, word began leaking from the offices of astonished senators that her purchase on even the most basic constitutional case law proved tenuous.

In contrast, Robinson believes that President Obama’s fallibility is being exposed much sooner in his administration’s tenure:

Permit House Democrats to draft his stimulus legislation? What could Obama have been thinking? Only one answer fits: Obama wasn’t thinking.

After the Harriet Miers debacle, Bush quickly recovered the support of Washington Republicans. He nominated Samuel Alito in Miers’ place and then returned to his other duties as chief executive. That was that. Nobody ever had Bush figured for a brilliant mind anyway.

In recovering from the stimulus debacle, Obama is unlikely to prove quite so lucky. A brilliant mind is exactly what Obama’s supporters in Washington thought he had. Brilliance defined Obama. Brilliance is what Obama was all about. Now we know that he has already made some dumb mistakes.

The glee among Republicans right now is only to be expected. The long faces among Obama’s startled supporters in Washington are a lot more telling.

In 2007 and 2008, Obama was given virtually no vetting by a media deep in the midst of a “slobbering love affair,” to borrow from the title of Bernard Goldberg’s latest book. (Incidentally, Bernie will be a guest on this week’s PJM Political show tomorrow on Sirius-XM satellite radio.) He (Obama, not Goldberg) encouraged voters to view him a cipher that they could project onto any and all hopes they wanted. He frequently engaged in messianic rhetoric while campaigning, and seemed to encourage similar responses from his more rabid fans–certainly, he did nothing to tamp down such responses.


Even when he won the election, and the media’s comparisons to Lincoln, FDR, JFK, and other presidents venerated over decades or more of history continued, Obama consciously played into them, jetting back to Chicago and taking the train, a la Lincoln, to his inauguration.

What could go wrong once it became time for the least experienced executive in the nation’s history to actually govern?


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