What Didn’t the President Know, and When Didn’t He Know It?
Or, "All the President's Amnesia," which could be the title for Michael Ramirez’s new cartoon at Investor’s Business Daily. It's particularly deadly, if only because it catalogs the sheer number of examples of Mr. Obama’s favorite defensive tactic, as far back as his presidential candidate days with a supine press to keep him afloat: say anything, including feigning sheer ignorance, to survive this week’s news cycle. And as John Hayward wrote last month at “The Conversation,” the Breitbart.com group blog, surviving each week’s news cycle is now the entire goal of the administration, where, there is no past, there is no future, there is merely now:
Political theorists will study Obama's "one news cycle at a time" survival tactic for generations to come. It got him re-elected despite four years of grinding unemployment and fabulous Solyndra-style corruption. He was able to slink past scandals that would have ended anyone else - probably even Bill Clinton - because he could rely on the media's reluctance to create damaging "narratives" around him. He got past one scandal avalanche after the next, because everything instantly became "old news" once the Administration "won" a few games of Sunday-show parcheesi. The board was always completely reset for Barack Obama. He got away with portraying himself, every month for four long and onerous years, as a total outsider who just showed up in Washington yesterday, and couldn't believe what he found. Why, he's just as surprised, frustrated, disappointed, and angry about [fill in the scandal] as you are!
That last line dovetails perfectly with Ramirez’s cartoon, doesn’t it? And it also ties in with John Podhoretz’s latest column at the New York Post, on “Obama’s terrible, horrible, very bad year:”
All in all, when it comes to public opinion, Barack Obama ends his fifth year in worse shape than any president since Richard Nixon. And Nixon didn’t even manage to finish his sixth year.
That fate will not befall Obama, obviously. But as the hopeful stories pour out of Washington about how he’s retooling his White House to dig himself out from under the rubble of the ObamaCare launch, and as liberals continue to assure themselves that once the website is working all will be well, the truth is that Obama’s return to his former glory in the coming year is highly unlikely.
For one thing, the president has gone from being someone in charge of events to someone who is being buffeted about by them — and once a leader loses his hold on the levers of power it’s very difficult to get them back.
Machiavelli says in “The Prince,” the greatest analysis of political power ever written, that successful leaders work to control their fortunes the way people construct dams and dikes to contain and direct powerful rivers.
“Fortune shows her power where the brave have not made preparations to resist her,” Machiavelli writes. “She turns her forces where she knows that barriers and defenses have not been raised to constrain her.”
In the eyes of his friends and admirers, who are shocked at how badly things have gone, Obama did not raise “barriers and defenses” to prepare for the exigencies of fortune and now “everything is flying before it, all are yielding to its violence, without being able in any way to withstand it.”
As numerous pundits -- including those on the left who supported Obama (at least at the time) have noted, Obama is the most isolated president, the biggest loner-as-president, since Richard Nixon. And as otherwise Machiavellian as both men have been, as Podhoretz notes above that style of personal isolationism doesn’t lend itself to controlling their fortunes “the way people construct dams and dikes to contain and direct powerful rivers.” But hey, as then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior Deanna Archuleta promised a group of fellow leftwing eco-zealots early in Obama's first term, “You will never see another federal dam." Obviously she didn't realize her blanket statement would apply metaphorically to her boss as well.
In other words, Hubris, meet Nemesis, meet Barry O., yet again. Which is why, as Glenn Reynolds writes in his newest column at USA Today, if you thought Obama’s year was bad in 2013, just wait until next year: “All told, it's likely that 2013 won't be Obama's worst year ever. Or, sadly, America's. Happy New Year!”
For both, in no small part because, as Glenn adds, “It's true that Obamacare has been a debacle, wrapped in a catastrophe, shrouded in a disaster.” Heh, indeed. Read the whole thing.™
Let's get a jump on the New Year's Obamaschadenfreude early. What do you suppose the president will not know next? Let me know in the comments below.
Update: The obligatory exit quote is really a misquote in this case: "‘We Screwed the Duck’: CNN Really Misheard Obama’s Health Care Apology…"
Still though, that malaprop seems a fitting eulogy for the horrid year the president inflicted upon both himself, and the rest of us -- not to mention CNN's own terrible, horrible, very bad year. And an entirely self-inflicted bad year, to boot. For as the late Andrew Breitbart once reminded the MSM, "it's not your business model that sucks, it's you that sucks."