The Obama Defense Industry is busy. Excuses must be found. Scapegoats must be scaped. Blame must be assigned. The rush rush deployments of new Obama defenses by the Obama Defense Industry is due to the race Obama is now in – the race to the bottom. Obama is sinking in polls (47% disapprove in the latest poll, only 44% approve) faster than the stock market sinks. Which will reach bottom first?
As in last year’s campaigns, Obama lovers pose as “fair players” who will criticize Obama when criticism is due, but all the fake “criticisms” are another clever way to defend Obama. The defense ploy of the week is a return to “blame the staff“.
“Blame the staff” has made a triumphant return because other defend Obama ploys have not worked.
The “he’s doing the best he can” ploy has not worked because of the inherent truthfulness of that statement. Obama is doing the best he can for his friends and himself, but for the American people Obama is doing nothing. Also, Americans understand that if this is the best Obama can do – boy oh boy are we all in trouble. The “he’s doing the best he can ploy” was abandoned.
The “he needs more time” ploy has collapsed under the weight of time. With every passing minute the ploy limps, weaker and weaker. The “he needs more time” ploy also demonstrates the truthfulness of what Hillary and Hillary supporters have said since early 2007 – Obama is not ready. Obama was not ready on Day 1, Obama was not ready on Day 2; Obama was not ready on Day 3; Obama was not ready on Day 365, ad infinitum. The “he needs more time” ploy was abandoned too.
So the Obama defense industry is back to “blame the staff”. The staff to be blamed this time is the Obama staff at the highest levels, what we prefer to think of as the lowest of the low, of Obamahood. Edward Luce was the first to publish a long article to exculpate Obama and “blame the staff” – Emanuel, Jarrett, Gibbs, and Axelrod. Steve Clemons then chimed in with his “blame the staff” article.
Both articles are gossipy at points (check out Jarrett’s lies about an emergency and having to rush to the White House only to be uncovered at Cafe Milano with the lounge lizards) but both articles are “blame the staff” excuses. The Problem is Obama. We are not saying that these people, Jarrett, Gibbs, Emanuel, Axelrod are anything but the bottom of the barrel, but they are not the ones that are ultimately the problem. Obama is the Problem.
We are not going to dwell or quote from those “blame the staff” articles. We want to look at a short lived, but new excuse that has been trotted out to defend show horse Obama. The new ploy is the “America is not governable” ploy. This new ploy will not work and that is why the Obama defense industry prefers the “blame the staff” ploy.
Why won’t the “America is not governable” ploy work? Because Jay Cost has done such a wonderful job of clobbering this dumb ox argument. Let’s indulge ourselves this Monday with a full examination of Jay Cost’s “America Is Not Ungovernable” article.
Jay Cost begins with the purveyors of the “America is not governable” ploy:
Recently, some analysts have suggested that the lack of major policy breakthroughs in the last year is due to the fact that America has become ungovernable. Ezra Klein argued that it was time to reform the filibuster because the government cannot function with it intact anymore. Tom Friedman suggested that America’s “political instability” was making people abroad nervous. And Michael Cohen of Newsweek blamed “obstructionist Republicans,” “spineless Democrats,” and an “incoherent public” for the problem.
Nonsense. America is not ungovernable. Her President has simply not been up to the job.
What joy Jay brings! He states the problem so clearly, almost as clearly as us. Jay says Obama “has simply not been up to the job”; we say “Obama is the problem”. It’s almost as if the celestial choirs have sung “Obama is not ready”, just like Hillary used to politely make clear.
Jay Cost looks to history for answers as to why America is indeed governable. There are structural safeguards built into the American system to prevent clods like Obama from devastating the republic beyond repair. The founding fathers and founding mothers were a wise group and they suspected that factions would be a problem always and that Hopium guzzling factions could be a true danger to the republic. So our founding mothers and fathers built in those Obama-proof safeguards:
Let’s acknowledge that governing the United States of America is an extremely difficult task. Intentionally so. When designing our system, the Founders were faced with a dilemma. How to empower a vigorous government without endangering liberty or true republicanism? On the one hand, George III’s government was effective at satisfying the will of the sovereign, but that will had become tyrannical. On the other hand, the Articles of Confederation acknowledged the rights of the states, but so much so that the federal government was incapable of solving basic problems.
The solution the country ultimately settled on had five important features: checks and balances so that the branches would police one another; a large republic so that majority sentiment was fleeting and not intensely felt; a Senate where the states would be equal; enumerated congressional powers to limit the scope of governmental authority; and the Bill of Rights to offer extra protection against the government.
The end result was a government that is powerful, but not infinitely so. Additionally, it is schizophrenic. It can do great things when it is of a single mind – but quite often it is not of one mind. So, to govern, our leaders need to build a broad consensus. When there is no such consensus, the most likely outcome is that the government will do nothing.
That is a history lesson the Hopium guzzlers need to learn. The very system is designed to prevent them from complete and total destruction of the republic. Yes, these Hopium guzzling thugs can cause damage, but the damage will be reparable. They will not win. The founders, mothers and fathers, continue to protect.
Jay Cost analyzes why Obama has been such a bust:
The President’s two major initiatives – cap-and-trade and health care – have failed because there was not a broad consensus to enact them. Our system is heavily biased against such proposals. That’s a good thing.
Jay Cost then takes on the other “blame everyone and everything but Obama” ploys:
It’s not accurate to blame this on the Republicans. From Arlen Specter’s defection to Scott Brown’s swearing in, Democrats had total control over the policy-making process. The only recourse the Republicans had was the First Amendment. They used it well, but don’t let it be said that the President lacked access to it. Given Mr. Obama’s bully pulpit and his omnipresence on the national stage, his voice has been louder than anybody’s. If Mr. Obama has lost the public debate to the beleaguered rump that is the congressional GOP, he has nobody to blame but himself.
It’s not accurate to blame this on “spineless Democrats,” i.e. rank-and-file legislators who balked at the various solutions offered by Mr. Obama. Moderate Democrats might have defected because they were worried about their jobs – but the point of popular elections is to link the personal interests of legislators with the interests of their constituents. It often fails to work – but in a situation where “spineless Democrats” clearly voted with their districts, it seems to have been working pretty well. One might argue that they should have shown some leadership – voted for unpopular bills because they were good for the country. But ask those thirty to forty House Democratic defectors on the health care, cap-and-trade, and jobs bills whether they thought the bills were good for the country, and you’ll hear a different answer than the one Newsweek is quick to give.
It’s not accurate to blame this on the people. This country is most certainly divided, but not deeply so. Consider, for instance, the enormous goodwill that greeted Mr. Obama upon his inauguration. It is not tenable to suggest that there was no way to turn that into a broad consensus for policy solutions.
The responsibility for the government’s failure in the last year rests with President Obama. Two significant blunders stand out.
That’s right – Barack Obama Is The Problem.
Cost identifies as blunder 1, Obama’s installation of “Nancy Pelosi as de facto Prime Minister”. Cost is too polite to mention that perhaps that was the motivation if not the price Pelosi extracted from Obama in return for her behind the scenes trashing of Hillary and support of clearly unqualified and inexperienced Barack Obama – the Chicago flim flam man.
Cost identifies as blunder 2, well, let’s let Jay Cost describe blunder 2 with his sharp quill as it stabs at Obama:
The President’s second major failing has been his stubborn insistence on comprehensive reforms. Perhaps this is due to his inexperience in the federal lawmaking process, or his extraordinary vanity, or both. Still, this has been a grave mistake. If the truly great Henry Clay could not pass the Compromise of 1850 through the Congress in a single package, what made Barack Obama think he could sign comprehensive energy and health care reforms?
We opposed the Obama fake “stimulus” and argued the little money left should be spent wisely. A HOLC and a genuine universal health care plan which would help American businesses and workers, we argued, would be a wiser use of funds than the slush fund to help the Dimocrats in the 2010 elections called the “stimulus” and TARP. We have been proved correct.
But Obama chose to do things his boob way.
Obama promised he would not be like “polarizing” Hillary Clinton. Now Obama is stuck with his bipartisan mumbo-jumbo. Obama lovers want Obama to abandon what they now know is “mumbo-jumbo”. But Americans were promised “a uniter not a divider” and we will hold Obama to his boob promises. Jay Cost continues his analysis:
President Obama’s desire for comprehensive legislation seriously damaged the chances for bipartisanship, given his decision to let Nancy Pelosi and her allies write the bills. Republican “extremism” is an easy rhetorical foil – but when we’re talking about Mike Castle and Olympia Snowe voting against the President, it fails to explain the full story. Bipartisanship implies legislators with different world views working together. The larger a bill’s scope, the more likely it favors one worldview over another, and the less likely it will attract bipartisan support. With an extremely liberal Speaker and a supporting cast of left wing committee chairs running the process, comprehensive legislation was bound to favor heavily the liberal worldview. Even the most moderate of Republicans would always have trouble with that. In fact, thirty to forty House Democrats have defected on the President’s key items, meaning that the bipartisan position has been opposition to President Obama. This has made it difficult for a centrist public to support reforms. With very limited information on specifics, the public took unanimous Republican and substantial moderate Democratic opposition as cues about the merits of the bills. Public opposition is what ultimately ended the Democratic supermajority – in Massachusetts, of all places.
We wanted a fighter. Hillary Clinton says that she is not afraid to reach out for common ground, but that she will also fight to hold her ground. We could have had Hillary. But the Hopium guzzlers wanted the celestial choirs and an end to all the old battles – the fights Hillary supporters think are worth fighting for – the Hopium guzzlers sided with the establishment and got their man. Now the Hopium guzzlers must pay the price.
Both of these failures get back to the idea that this country can only be led effectively when there is a broad coalition supporting her leaders. That requires those leaders to have a breadth of vision that this President has so far lacked. He has allowed a very liberal Speaker to lead the House too far to the left, and he has demanded comprehensive reforms that were destined to alienate a significant portion of the country.
He has been narrow, not broad. He has been partial, not post-partisan. He has been ideological, not pragmatic. No number of “eloquent” speeches can alter these facts. This is why his major initiatives have failed, why his net job approval has dropped 50 points in 12 months, and why he is substantially weaker now than he was a year ago.
This strategy might have made sense if the country was really in the midst of a “liberal moment.” But it is not. While the President won a decisive victory in 2008, his congressional majority in both chambers depends entirely upon members whose constituents voted for John McCain. In fact, the President’s election 16 months ago was one of the most polarizing in recent history. This remains a divided country, which creates complications in a system such as ours. The President should have recognized this, and governed with a view to building a broad coalition. But he has not.
America is not ungovernable. Barack Obama has so far failed to govern it.
Barack Obama Is The Problem.