During the Iran Hostage Crisis, President Jimmy Carter stayed holed up in the White House — effectively becoming a hostage, himself. Our nation looked small and helpless, as our erstwhile ally committed acts of war against us with impunity. And our President looked small and feckless, oblivious to the message he was sending to the nation and the world.
And then there’s President Barack Obama, partying on Martha’s Vineyard while the nation is mired in high unemployment, higher underemployment, a melting stock market and creeping inflation. But, hey, don’t worry — he’s promising another pivot to jobs (his seventh) just as soon as he can tear himself away from vacation.
Somewhere between these two extremes lies wisdom. And leadership.
There are theories, of course, as to why.
On the one extreme, Boyd Richard Boyd thinks Obama really is “the anti-American President.” And he’s racked up an impressive list of damning quotes from the President himself to make the case. Among them:
Sept, 17 2007 to SEIU:
“[Y]our agenda’s been my agenda[.]”
November 2007 to ACORN:
“I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career.”
October 12, 2008 to Joe the Plumber:
“I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
October 30, 2008 at the University of Mississippi, Columbia:
“We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America[.]”
Left out, unfortunately, was the time Michelle Obama raised the curtain and gave the game way:
Barack knows that we are going to have to make sacrifices; we are going to have to change our conversation; we’re going to have to change our traditions, our history; we’re going to have to move into a different place as a nation.
That seems like an awful lot of work to do in just four or eight years. But, remember, the cultural groundwork has been being laid for forty years already. That’s the hard part — the political revolution-from-above is comparatively simple.
On the other extreme is The Telegraph‘s Nile Gardiner:
Obama’s decision to head to a popular playground for wealthy elites in the face of intense media scrutiny is a surprisingly reckless move. It is a particularly foolish act just 14 months away from a presidential election where he will likely end up the underdog rather than the favourite. The contrast between an imperious, out-of-touch US president and the economic plight of tens of millions of Americans could not be starker. Obama’s holiday will no doubt come to haunt him in November next year, with the economy the number one issue for voters.
Which begs the question – why did the president go ahead with his vacation despite the worst approval ratings of his presidency, plunging stock markets, falling consumer confidence, and overwhelming public disillusion with his handling of the economy? I think the answer lies in Obama’s professorial-style arrogance, and a condescending approach towards ordinary Americans.
The Big Dog don’t have to eat our dog food — and to hell with what we might think about that. I’d say there’s an unhealthy mix of incompetence in there with the “condescending approach.” It’s much easier to undo the works of a one-term, failed President, than it is to undo the works of a two-term success. And this President is perilously close to dooming himself to a single term.
Even on the Left, much of the chatter is about how bad the eventual GOP nominee is going to be, rather than boasting about Obama’s accomplishments. The White House has been caught boasting about how they’ll “kill” the Republican candidate. Although that reelection strategy has some merit to it, neither the pundit class nor the Administration would be talking about it if they thought Obama could run successfully on his record. From “hope and change” to the “politics of personal destruction” in less than three years. Obama is so much a part of the system, it’s amazing he was ever able to portray himself as an outsider. And it boggles the mind to watch as he attempts to do so again in 2012 — from right inside the Oval Office. He’s taken chutzpah to a whole new place.
Which brings us to our question: Is Obama a dirty commie intent on destroying America, or is he merely a “reckless” and “out-of-touch” lefty professor?
I’m going to have to go with Gardiner on this one, compelling as Boyd’s case may be. The thing is, if you watch how the Administration played its hand in 2009 and 2010, one thing is perfectly clear: They expected this crap to work. Yes, Obama wanted to “transform” America — to make it better. Honestly.
ObamaCare would be loved by the voters, once they got a taste of it, as even former President Clinton believed. Dodd-Frank would really end “too big to fail,” rather than entrenching it. The Stimulus really would keep unemployment from rising over 8%. In their fantasy world of faculty lounge economics, empowering decrepit private sector unions and bloated, thieving public sector unions would enrich the middle class. And most tellingly, damningly of all, President Obama fully expected to run a Reaganesque “morning in America” reelection campaign.
These fools thought they knew how to make the economy sing. What they got was a funeral dirge.
Obama figured that by now, we’d all be partying like it was 1999 again with a flood of tax receipts and everybody working for a living. Since that didn’t quite pan out, Obama is at Martha’s, partying like the song 1999 — the orgy at the End of the World.
I hope he enjoys his time with these next two weeks, hanging out with the rest of the Beautiful People. Because when he gets back, the mood inside the White House is going to get ugly as hell.