“Is the Obama administration losing touch with reality?”, Mark Tapscott asks at the Washington Examiner. Considering that Barack Obama alternated posing next to Styrofoam Roman columns and uttering quotes such as, “We’re going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth,” during his in 2008 presidential bid, this administration and reality were never on very good terms to begin with. But as Tapscott writes, their relationship is much more strained these days:
There is an air of unreality about the Obama crew these days that became starkly evident last week with a letter to Congress from National Security Advisor Susan Rice seeking repeal of the 2002 authorization for the invasion of Iraq and White House press secretary Josh Earnest claiming Republicans are seriously seeking to impeach his boss.
House Speaker John Boehner and every other top GOP leader has denied it, but that didn’t stop Earnest and the Democratic fundraising machine from insisting that impeachment is “part of their agenda.”
Similarly, Rice claimed repealing the 2002 law is needed to “give Americans confidence” that U.S. “ground forces will not be sent into combat in Iraq” even though House GOPers were preparing to approve a resolution saying U.S. ground forces should not be sent back to Iraq.
But then seeing the Obama administration publicly weaving such fantasies isn’t really surprising, considering they’ve argued for years that one half of one-third of the federal government is responsible for all of America’s problems.
Aaron Hanscom, our lead editor and textual master of ceremonies on the PJM homepage asked me the other day if any president had checked out as dramatically from current events in my lifetime. I told that while it’s a little before my time, the closest analogy that comes to mind is the Wilson Administration, which attempted to maintain the fiction that its namesake was still running the show after Wilson’s devastating stroke in October of 1919, exhausting himself while attempting to pass the League of Nations. Wilson would linger on in office until being mercifully relieved by Republican Warren Harding in February of 1924 as a shell of a man; even Wikipedia notes:
[Post-stroke, Wilson] was insulated by his wife, who screened matters for his attention and delegating others to his cabinet heads. Eventually, Wilson resumed his attendance at cabinet meetings, but his input there was perfunctory. By February 1920 the President’s true condition was public. Nearly every major newspaper expressed qualms about Wilson’s fitness for the presidency at a time when the League fight was reaching a climax, and domestic issues such as strikes, unemployment, inflation and the threat of Communism were ablaze. Neither his wife nor his physician nor personal assistant were willing to assume authority to take upon themselves the certification required by the Constitution to declare his “inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office”. This complex case became an inducement for passage of the 25th Amendment.
It took a stroke to effectively end the Wilson presidency; it simply took Obama discovering that the world and the Beltway are mean places full of mean people who keep saying no to him — to him! — the ‘Bam Who Would be King for Wright’s sake! — for him to take his golf ball and go home.
Counterfactual question for the day: Bush #43’s second term wasn’t scarred by impeachment, had no Iran-Contra-style foreign policy meltdown, and his administration had repeatedly attempted to warn of the dangers of housing bubble, but it fell on deaf ears at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Add to that, Donna Brazile’s confession at CNN.com last year that despite her party’s efforts, particularly by its operatives with bylines to portray things otherwise at the time for cheap (and ultimately successful) political gain, that “Bush came through on Katrina.” And then add to that, as Bill McGurn noted at the Wall Street Journal in January of 2009 that “Bush’s Real Sin Was Winning in Iraq.” (A hard-fought victory that the Obama has worked very hard to successfully reverse-engineer. See also: Democrats in 1975.)
Given the low marks for presidential second terms, will Bush #43’s second term come to be seen as one of the most successful second terms in modern American history?
Update: Oh, and speaking of 2006 and now:
I couldn’t begin to tell you whether I was banging that particular drum, or not. I think that I was working under the assumption that the Democrats would use impeachment as a blunt club to make GWB back down from the GWOT, but I can’t remember and I might have very well been well and truly certain that impeachment was on the table. That’s not the important point. The important point is that this is what political fear smells like.
The only thing I remember from that period is quoting crazy leftists such as John Conyers, who never met a Republican he didn’t want to impeach. (Because he’s all about fighting corruption…) I wasn’t too worried about the I-word actually happening back then.