Roger L. Simon

Should We Gloat Over Obama's Childish Behavior?

Bill’s cool and Barack’s an uptight prig.

Cue the laughter. Bring on the guffaws.

But wait — didn’t we already know that?

It’s easy enough for conservatives, libertarians, et al, to gloat about Barack Obama’s recent petulant, child-like performances — at first unable to be even slightly gracious in compromise with Republicans on the tax bill and then, only a few days later, fleeing in panic when Clinton acted the real president, fielding questions with a relaxed authority so surpassing Obama’s it was almost comical.

But there is a bigger reason not to gloat. We are stuck with this odd duck for another two years at minimum and now everyone, the entire world really, knows what he is like. They also know, if they have been paying the slightest attention, the etiology of his behavior: the man never had to face serious adversity until he was elected POTUS. And now he can’t deal with it. He’s the very model of Harry Truman’s famous advice about getting out of the kitchen if you can’t stand the heat. Obama was out of the White House briefing room the second he realized he was being outclassed by Clinton. And, boy, was he ever!

We need a leader and don’t have one. This is extremely bad news for our country, especially now.

What is to be done? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t close to simple even with a real leader. Merely cutting taxes — assuming we do that — may not be nearly enough. And pseudo-stimulus spending, such as has been shamefully added on to this “compromise bill,” will most likely make matters worse. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on our economy, our way of life really. Interest to China alone will soon be enough to bankrupt us.

So what indeed is to be done? Paul Ryan has a prescription that’s a starting point, but even his ideas may not reduce spending fast enough. There is little reason to be optimistic, even with the Tea Party victories. I have just returned from New York and found the situation there similar to California, strongly resistant to change. (A good analysis can be found in the WSJ’s interview with Richard Ravitch — “Gotham’s Savior, Beaten By Albany.”) It’s tempting for some on the right to dismiss this as just New York and California, but these are our two most populous states and comprise a huge percentage of the U.S. economy. Things will not be easily improved without them. In fact, they probably can’t be improved without them. And Illinois too seems out of control.

And we have Barack Obama to lead us. Wow. The Republican leadership had better be strong. Their recent “compromise,” as Charles Krauthammer has shown us, was not inspiring. Color me nervous.