Friday, July 22, 2011


Apparently, according to Peggy Noonan, Barack Obama is an awful president because, instead of allowing his betters to get the Gang of Six plan passed on their own, he keeps butting in where he doesn't belong and doing annoying things like using first-person pronouns. The nerve!

He's trying to come across as the boss, the indispensable man, the leader. And, of course, the reasonable one.

That's all very nice and part of Political Positioning 101, but at this point it's not helping....

And if you've watched him lately, you know why. When he speaks on the debt negotiations, he is not only extremely boring, with airy and bromidic language -- really they are soul-killing, his talking points -- but he never seems to be playing it straight. He always seems to be finagling, playing the angles in some higher game that only he gets. In 2½ years, he has reached the point that took George W. Bush five years to reach: People aren't listening anymore.

The other day he announced the Gang of Six agreement with words that enveloped the plan in his poisonous embrace: "I wanted to give folks a quick update on the progress that we're making."
We're. He has "continued to urge both Democrats and Republicans to come together." What would those little devils do without Papa? "The good news is that today a group of senators ... put forward a proposal that is broadly consistent with the approach that I've urged." I've urged. Me, me, me.

That approach includes "shared sacrifice, and everybody is giving up something." He was like a mother coming in and cheerily announcing: "Dinner's served! Less for everybody!"

We're trying to begin a comeback, not a famine. We're trying to take actions that will allow us to grow.

He's like a walking headache. He's probably triggering Michele Bachmann's migraines.

The Gang of Six members themselves should have been given the stage to make their own announcement, and their own best case.

The president, if he is seriously trying to avert a debt crisis, should stay in his office, meet with members, and work the phones, all with a new humility, which would be well received. It is odd how he patronizes those with more experience and depth in national affairs....

Now, a lot of you will read this as "Noonan calls Obama an uppity Negro," and I agree that there's an element of that here. But I think it's bigger -- it's "He came in here and he trashed the place, and it's not his place," as David Broder said of Bill Clinton. I don't think it's primarily about race. (In additiom to the Bush comparison, Noonan goes on to grumble, "Really, recent presidents forget to shut up. They lose sight of how grating they are" -- obviously Obama, Clinton, and recently-acceptable-GOP-target Bush equally lack the grace and gravitas of St. Reagan.)

Noonan's saying that the permanent government -- members of Congress, pundits, big donors, and lobbyists -- have all decided that a grand bargain has to happen, and yet it hasn't happened, so it must be somebody's fault! Who's the easiest person to blame? The Democrat who got nearly 67 million votes but doesn't seem to know his place. He must be a bad guy even when he's fighting for policies Noonan favors.

No comments: