I caught this one on my news feed yesterday, and I seem to have remembered reading it before. In fact twice before. The first time was in the Spring of 1980, and the second time during the Clinton Presidency. I remember vividly the 1980 story, because Mr. Ruthers, my history teacher at the time graded a report I did based upon that Time Magazine piece. (I was a flaming liberal in those days of life without consequence.) The main crux of the argument went something like this, “the current President we’ve helped to foist upon the American People is obviously still the smartest guy in the room, and while we acknowledge that his Presidency is an abject failure, on every conceivable level, we still maintain that if he can’t do it, nobody can.” In the world of the leftist, it’s never the fault of their failed policies, only that the right people didn’t implement them, or that the citizenry at large failed to appreciate what was being bestowed upon them, and acted too greedily. In the words of the late Senator Hal Heflin, “there’s too much consumin goin on out there.”
Just in case you thought today’s main stream media was above recycling old news stories in order to perpetuate their mythology, ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza.
From the Washington Post article with emphasis being mine:
Being president is the most powerful job in the world. At which you will almost certainly fail.
Why? For lots of reasons up to and including:
* The decline of the bully pulpit as a persuasion mechanism
* The deep partisanship present not only in Congress but also in the electorate more broadly
* The splintering of the mainstream media/the rise of social media.
Take the last 96 hours (or so) of the Obama presidency as illustrative of the broader impossibility of being president.
On Thursday, in the immediate aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines plane being shot down over Ukraine, President Obama delivered a cautious statement mourning the tragedy and promising he would get to the bottom of the situation. Conservatives immediately criticized that statement as insufficiently strong, comparing it unfavorably to how President Reagan handled a similar situation in 1983. (As The Fix’s Philip Bump explains, the Obama critique is not entirely fair.) Seeking to counter that narrative, Obama delivered another statement on Friday — and took questions from the press. He was far more aggressive in his tone about the possibility of Russian involvement. Over the weekend, the story of Secretary of State John Kerry’s on mic but off camera comments before a Fox News Channel interview drove much of the chatter. On Monday, Obama was back on TV with an even more aggressive stance on Russia — “What exactly are they trying to hide?” he asked about Russian separatists reportedly limiting access to the crash site — while also juggling an executive order banning discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation among federal contractors, hosting a town hall aimed at pushing his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative and trying to cajole Congress into helping him deal with the ongoing crisis of undocumented children at the country’s southern border. Oh, and he also was trying to walk a fine line between defending Israel’s right to defend itself with somewhat critical comments about the number of Palestinian civilian deaths occasioned by the military operation in Gaza. And, double oh, he and his staff will have to continue to fend off Republican criticism of a three day fundraising tour he leaves on tomorrow — a cash-collection trip that GOPers believe looks unseemly amid the various domestic and international crises happening at the moment.
Did you get that? It’s not that Obama’s policies led to these failures, but that these failures just randomly happened. It’s really unfair of you ungrateful brats who make up the American Electorate to expect that a man who campaigned for the job, be held to any type of standard in performing the duties that go along with the gig. Barack Obama promised hopety change as Senator Obama, that he would heal our national divide by being the only transcendent figure in our nation’s history who could get people who agreed on nothing to find ample common ground to solve every perceived and make believe problem that he could think to tell us we had. So, after two years, when our nation via a mid term election, served Barack Obama a restraining order in terms of his infliction of his agenda, he naturally blamed Republican obstructionism for his failure to get a single other piece of legislation passed, including a fiscal budget. In his first point, Cillizza laments the decline of power held by our nation’s chief executive. (Yes, that statement caused a stream of coffee to shoot towards my computer screen upon reading it.) Perhaps Mr. Cillizza should read the Federalist Papers, which would tell him that our nation’s founders never saw the Presidency as the power position that it is today. The entire reason for making the Legislative Branch a bicameral body, and one that had two separate origins for election to it, including differing lengths of tenure, was precisely because it was designed to be the more powerful Branch of government, and those measures would limit that potential. Everything in our Constitution is designed to limit power of the federal government, and more specifically, to prevent power from consolidating itself with one specific person or group. The President is not supposed to have a bully pulpit, and allowing Presidents to have bully pulpits has only ever led to trouble. Putting all of that aside for the moment, in what Universe has the power of Barack Obama’s personal use of the bully pulpit diminished? This is the same man who announced at his last State of the Union Address that if Congress failed to do what he wanted them to do, he would act unilaterally. He has done more damage with his executive action than all previous Presidents combined. The EPA has run amok, Obamacare has granted HHS power to regulate our diets, who gets treated for illnesses, who can own guns, (we haven’t seen this manifest itself yet, but it’s in there,) how we heat our homes, how much light we can use at night, virtually every aspect of our daily living. The CFPB has authority to regulate home prices, determine who gets to live where, fix prices in the Financial Industry, determine who will be allowed to invest, what investment options will be available to what class of citizenry, who will be allowed to loan money, and who will be allowed to borrow. Whether you agree with these laws or not, it’s hardly indicative of diminished executive power.
The social media argument is so vacuous, even typing this sentence is an embarrassment. I’ll just leave you with this, people talking amongst themselves about anything in general, and about politics in particular should never be considered a bad thing in any nation that views itself as free. Barack Obama used social media to his great advantage while campaigning for office, and if that same media is also able to point out his flaws to a greater number of people, that’s just hard cheese for the Bamster.
Someone should tell Mr. Cillizza that the conservative reaction to our President’s tepid statements on the matter of a passenger jet being shot out of the sky, which included by the way more time giving shout outs to supporters and talk show style jokes than actual acknowledgement of a tragic even transpiring, was more about the fact that his feckless foreign policy probably contributed greatly to what is happening in the Ukraine than any other factor. This didn’t just happen. Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative and a man with imperialistic aspirations, as in wanting to reassemble the old Soviet Empire, saw plainly and clearly that the United States was not even remotely interested in checking his aggression. When Barack Obama sent that message back to Putin via Dmitry Medvedev, the one that said, just tell Vladimir that I’ll have more flexibility after the election, Putin read a whole lot more into that, and by the way he was correct in his assertions. He saw a weak American President who was more concerned with his electoral prospects than with his role as the protector of the free world, that shield against unchecked aggression, and the last hope of nations not capable of defending themselves against an aggressive and reawakened Soviet neighbor. He saw a vacuous man so devoid of substance, who’s ineptitude was matched only by his arrogance and vanity. There’s a reason why these examples of thuggish tin pot aggression only happen during Democrat Administrations, and that reason is a complete lack of respect for those Democrats we’ve mistakenly chosen to be Presidents. Barack Obama is an unserious man, and the only people who fail to see this are Americans. Unfortunately, Vladimir Putin was able to see through it immediately, and he endeavored to make the times far more serious in nature from the moment our man child President joined him on the world stage.
There’s something else I’ve found troubling about this President, and Cillizza manages to mention it as a perk, one of those unfair demands we mere mortals place on this impossible task he’s undertaken for our ungrateful benefit. Every time some piece of bad news hits this Administration, the next day we’ll see a heavily covered news story on almost every network about the President addressing the least important piece of minutia available in our collective subconscious. When the separatists shot down a passenger jet with the support of Vladimir, Barack Obama made a big showing the next day of signing an Executive Order dealing with homosexuals working for federal contractors. As the world burns, our President isn’t playing the violin, he’s arranging, for the umpteenth time, how the chairs in the auditorium are aligned. When the IRS commissioner testified in Congress that Seven Hard drives randomly crashed causing an obstruction to a very pertinent investigation, our President spent the next day in front of a bank of microphones discussing the importance of children’s school lunches, and how important it was for his wife to monitor how well I was feeding my kid. Mr. Cillizza, that’s not juggling the important duties of the Presidency, that’s dodging the responsibilities of the job.
With that out of the way, the crisis on our Southern Border as well, is the direct result of this President’s purposeful incompetence. He wanted to create this crisis in order to cajole Congress into passing his immigration plan. In that regard, he has succeeded. We have the crisis he wanted. He deployed our border patrol agents 40 miles inside our borders so that anyone trying to come here would be able to, and once caught, would face hearings and court proceedings with an appointed defense attorney, rather than being turned away. He gave Central American nations our tax dollars to help them ship their kids here, and advertised for them to do so, telling them what to say once here, so that they would have a greater chance of avoiding deportation. Our President has governed with the philosophy that it is far easier to establish his will when we fear a crisis. So, of course these past six years have been a continual crisis, with America skating from one emergency to the next, each one culminating with the consolidation of increasing amounts of power, all flowing to that diminished bully pulpit Cillizza seems so worried about. This current immigration crisis is no exception to that rule, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until the beneficent Bamster picks up his magic pen and once again flouts the Constitutional constraints placed upon his office.
As for, “walking the fine line,” with respect to his treatment of our only true ally in the Middle East, someone please clue Mr. Cillizza into the fact that this is precisely the problem with Barack Obama’s foreign policy, encapsulated to its purest form. Our ally, Israel, has been under attack since they pulled out of Gaza in 2005. Since that time, over 8,000 rockets have been fired into Israeli civilian neighborhoods, and if it were any other nation on Earth, no one would have urged restraint in the response, that any answer be proportional, (which I still maintain is the dumbest concept ever to have been developed by man kind,) Our ally is under attack, and the only possible end to this attack would be to the unconditional surrender of an evil enemy. The only way that that will happen is if they deliver an overwhelming military show of force, breaking their enemy’s infrastructure, killing their soldiers, and destroying their will to commit further acts of violence. It is an enemy by the way that is not interested in peace, coexistence, or allowing any Jews to live ever, on the entire planet. Walking a fine line to borrow the idiotic phrase penned by the author of this article, is exactly the problem, and its one that’s been shared by American Presidents for the entirety of Israel’s existence, (with the exception of course of Richard Nixon. I find it strikingly odd that the one President who showed unwavering support for Israel also had the reputation as being an Anti-Semite.) Doing the right thing may sometimes cause the world to react negatively, especially since moral equivalency has found its way into much of the public discourse, but that does not mean that we should shrink away from that course of action. Part of a President’s job is to make the right decisions, even if it means a loss of international popularity for him personally.
You may recall that after Carter, we had Reagan. Carter was hailed as a genius, the most intelligent man, in terms of sheer IQ to have ever served as our President. Reagan was hailed as an affable oaf, a man so dumb it was a miracle that he could put his pants on all by himself. Yet somehow, after the Time piece about how it was impossible in the modern world to succeed as President, somehow the dim witted Reagan, (sarcasm intended,) did just that, and he made it look easy. No Mr. Cillizza, it’s not impossible to succeed as a President, one only needs to implement policies that divest power from Washington and return the freedom that built this great nation to those very people who make it all work. That’s the difference between Reagan and Carter, or for that matter hopefully, Obama and who ever follows.
Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.