Jennifer Rubin makes some good points at Commentary. RTWT, but let me summarize:
- ...this president showed no inclination or talent to engage in the nitty-gritty business of lawmaking.
- ...the Obami ran Left, even beyond the tolerance of their own party.
- Obama himself did not inspire or persuade the public in the way his followers imagined he would.
Nothing in Alinsky's wisdom seems to capture what to do once the target becomes aware they are such. If an Alinsky stage magician is up there doing his thing, but the audience loses faith, things may go pear-shaped:The loss of faith has been technology-driven. It's too easy to get on YouTube and see clips of Barack Obama contradicting himself over time. On the one hand, an argument can be made that people should modulate ideas as more facts are available. On the other hand, the inability to differentiate between invariant core values that are non-negotiable, like integrity, and the variable details where compromise makes sense, succeeds in demolishing public confidence. That leadership capital is precious, dear, and hard to recoup. Aside: Mr. President, don't leave the Iranian dissidents hanging out to dry. Again.
The loss of faith has been contextually driven. After a century of Progressivism, the country realizes that this Progressive dog don't hunt. Who cares how high-minded the social justice program is? We're financially exhausted. Whatever system you want to implement must first and foremost be a stable one. If our fiscal profile is 'bankrupt', then fixing that has to take priority. Additionally, making the Constitution explicitly include these social justice items will lend them legitimacy. The Progressive dog don't hunt. The dog looks for a government hunting program, with policy and procedure to ensure a fair hunting experience for the whole world. Yet that never arrives.
Is it possible for Barack to restore the faith? Is this Administration doomed to another three years of Greek tragedy? Unfortunately, yes. Even if BHO drifted so far Left as to achieve an Austrian breakthrough, he can't do it convincingly enough to
(a) survive the retribution of his backers,
(b) convince sufficient numbers on the right that he's serious.
No, the prediction from The Porch, sad though it will be, is that there will be further political delaying tactics in early 2010, followed by a raucous campaign, culminating in an electoral Cannae for the Democratic Party in November 2010. At that point, Barack will become a bitter, clinging little bobble-head, and continue to blame Bush and raaaaacism for his agenda's impotence.
The strategic question is whether the country learns anything from this. Occasionally people assert the United States is a Christian nation. Christians purportedly adhere to the Bible, i.e. both testaments. Yet where is our grasp of this:
Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day.If the budget deficit, and the national debt it feeds, are not The Issue of the century, then Barack's inability to "inspire or persuade the public" really don't matter. The Progressives can just throw another series of bodies into the Oval Office, continue to jack up the debt, and let's see where that leads us. Metaphorically, we will all be bricklayers working on a large pyramid of debt.
For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.
Update: Related Dan Riehl: "Does America Have A President Right Now?"
For better or worse, our best and most notable presidents tend to be leaders. They tend to be out front, not simply for the cameras, but on the difficult questions and issues of the day. One can fault former President Bush all they want, some criticism is fair, but one could never question where, ultimately, the buck stopped. We all knew it stopped with him. With Obama, it sometimes seems as if we're chasing him down for a bad loan.Sorry, Dan. We've another three year slog ahead, and that bad loan is called our national debt.