Ed Driscoll

'Bonjour, Malaise'

“Barack Obama’s ‘malaise moment’ occurred in the afternoon of Aug. 28,” Noemie Emery writes in the Washington Examiner:

[D]ressed for failure in tan, he announced he did not have a strategy for combating the threat posed to us by ISIS and crossed into Carterland, the Desert of Fail feared by all politicians, in which the once fresh new face becomes for all time an object of ridicule, and each attempt made at controlling the damage only makes matters much worse.

Jimmy Carter, wrote Examiner columnist Michael Barone in his book Our Country, “failed to understand that voters yearning for control to be exerted over events would be appalled by the spectacle of a president canceling a major speech, isolating himself from public view, and declining all public comment while he met with … private citizens … for ‘leisurely conversations about our nation, my administration, and the serious problems we faced.’ ” But “leisurely converse” is not in demand when the world is on fire. Who knew?

But of course, the left have been in malaise mode ever since the failure of the Great Society in the mid-1960s. Just compare the confidence of JFK’s New Frontier rhetoric, to the dead-end tone of Bobby’s campaign ads in 1968 and George McGovern’s similar retreat from reality four years later. Bill Clinton’s centrism seemed to represent a way out of that mindset — but the left’s time spent in the box canyon appears to be permanent. Or as I wrote in 2011, “Welcome Back My Friends, to the Malaise that Never Ends.”