You know a Democratic president is having a bad week — month, year, only term, whatever — when Politico runs the headline, “The Incredible Shrinking Obama.” There’s some solid reporting here from Glenn Thrush and Carrie Budoff Brown, but also some very lefty conventional wisdom posing as “analysis” from Andy Stern that will leave you scratching your head. Here’s what I mean:
“He has sort of lost the sense of power and mystique of the presidency,” says longtime Obama ally Andy Stern, former president of the powerful Service Employees International Union. “There’s also a sense that people aren’t scared of him. That’s very dangerous.”
If you define political power as the ability to reward your friends and punish your enemies, then Obama is still wielding a powerful mailed fist. The problem is, Obama’s enemies are all job creators — small business, entrepreneurs, the health care industry, the energy sector. And Obama’s friends are all job destroyers — the EPA, big labor, big government, crony capitalists.
Obama has had great success meting out the punishment and handing out the goodies. The result has been to kill off job creation — it’s no coincidence that moderate-strong job creation (200,000-plus jobs per month early in 2010) simply disappeared the month after ObamaCare passed. But those are just the eggs Obama had to break to make a Progressive omelet out of our once-great country.
His supporters aren’t happy for exactly one reason: Having gotten what they want, they’ve become so unpopular, so quickly, that they’re losing power in Progressive mainstays like Wisconsin and Minnesota.
But if you think the Left is angry, what about the moderates of American politics? They were shown a center-right candidate in 2008, who promised a “net spending cut” and who claimed opposition to the individual mandate. Once in office, however, it was “fundamentally transform” this and “omnibus unread legislation” that.
So the American people rose up two years later and installed a new Congress for the sole purpose of frustrating Obama’s overarching, overeager agenda — and this stymied president berates the Congress constantly and bitterly for doing exactly what it was sent to Washington to do.
Congress is expressing the will of the people. So when Obama chides them, he’s really chiding us. And we’re sick and tired of being told what to do by a president who keeps doing things we never wanted him to do.
The best thing Obama could do would be to shut up for a while, try and get things done behind the scenes, and give us all a break from the constant hectoring. He could even gain back some of the mystique he’s lost through his omnipresence.
Instead, he’s summoning Congress tonight for yet another Grand New Plan of the Same Old Stuff. His program of payroll-tax stimulus and Democratic gimmes didn’t work in 2009, and his “new” program of payroll-tax stimulus and slightly fewer Democratic gimmes won’t work in 2011. If there’s anything worse than failure, it’s warmed-over failure. Yet that’s precisely what we’ll get tonight.
This is a president and an administration that is desperate, flailing, and out of ideas. But as my good friend Bill Whittle said the other day, Jimmy Carter showed us we could survive without a president for four years — surely we can make it through the next 17 months.