May 21, 2015

THE CRUMBLING TEFLON PRESIDENCY?:  Jeffrey Toobin has a piece in The New Yorker today called “Obama’s Game of Chicken with the Supreme Court.”  His thesis is that if the Supreme Court rules against the Obama Administration in the Obamacare subsidy case, King v. Burwell, the blame for the loss of subsidies of individuals living in States without State-operated health insurance exchanges will not fall on the Republicans’ shoulders, but the President’s:

If the Obama Administration loses in the Supreme Court, the political pain will fall almost exclusively on the President and his Party. To paraphrase Colin Powell and the Pottery Barn rule, President Obama will have broken health care, so he owns it. To the vast mass of Americans who follow politics casually or not at all, Obamacare and the American system of health care have become virtually synonymous. This may not be exactly right or fair, but it’s a reasonable perception on the part of most people. . . .If the Supreme Court rules against him, the President can blame the Justices or the Republicans or anyone he likes, and he may even be correct. But the buck will stop with him.

Toobin says this reluctantly, but at least he says it.

Toobin’s overall sentiment–that a ruling for the plaintiffs in King will be a political loss for President Obama (as it should be, since it was his decision to disregard the plain language of his own signature legislation)–is likely correct.  But what’s even more noteworthy is that it evinces that the Teflon President’s non-stick coating is finally wearing a little  thin with (at least some in) the mainstream media. Unfortunately, the criticism is mostly limited to foreign policy. Evidence of such Teflon thinning includes the Washington Post’s editorial board’s skepticism about the Iran nuclear deal (including his failure to respond to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s arguments before Congress), longtime Democratic pollster Pat Caddell’s recent statement that the Obama Administration is more corrupt than Nixon’s, Chris Matthews’ thrill dissipating to the point where he has called Obama “intellectually lazy,” Kirsten Powers’ criticism of Obama on the ISIS persecution of Christians, and Jon Stewart’s “je suis to be kidding me” quip about Obama’s failure to attend the unity rally in Paris following the Charlie Hebdo terrorism–something veteran liberal foreign affairs expert Leslie Gelb labeled a “horrendous gaffe” that “demonstrated beyond argument that the Obama team lacks the basic instincts and judgment necessary to conduct U.S. national security policy in the next two years.”

Of course there are many, many other liberals/progressives in the mainstream media who continue to stick their heads in the sand and dare not criticize the Great Leader on anything.  But it is good to see that, for at least some of them, they are beginning to see that the Emperor has no clothes.

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