Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Hard Core

E. Thomas McClanahan at The Kansas City Star argues President Obama has a dangerous streak of inflexibility that is at odds with his cool public persona. We saw it in his approach to the surge. We saw it with his unblinking conviction in his dream for talks with Iran’s mullahs--even as events and the people of Iran seemed to leave Obama and his dream in the dust. But, as McClanahan sees it, Obama’s rigid streak is most apparent and, possibly, more dangerous in domestic affairs.

Stubbornly, Obama has stuck to a strategy of trotting out a long list of domestic agenda items--a wish list to which one might almost suggest he is "clinging"--and demanding that the Congress take quick or immediate action upon each and every one of them. He does not seem to prioritize according to the nature and immediacy of the "crisis" (if "crisis" it be). Rather, Obama strikes while the iron is hot and, in his case, the iron is his stunning popularity in conjunction with a general sense in the electorate that things need to "change."

But Obama’s rigid streak differs from that of, say, a Jimmy Carter in that it is a rigidity having to do with Obama’s broad agenda rather than the mind-numbing details that fascinated the likes of Carter. Obama is perfectly happy to farm those out--and who can blame him? With so many fish to fry, he can’t be expected to clean them all (or plan their tennis dates). In an ironic turn of the tables, one might almost compare Obama to his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush in this. It would probably be beneath Obama’s speaking and elocution pay-grade to say something like, "I am the decider" . . . but one needn’t stretch the old imagination too far to imagine that he understands and, in his own way, he appreciates the sentiment behind it. In truth, we all do--at least we do when we think that we agree with the principles the guy is standing by. There is something charming about a man who knows his mind. There is something even more beguiling about a man who stands by his ideas when he knows them. And there’s something almost perfectly irresistible about a guy who knows his mind, stands by his thoughts, and can make others seem to understand and agree with them. Often, we label such a man "principled" or "statesmanlike."

But charming, beguiling, and irresistible are qualities that the principled and the statesmanlike share with the charlatans and the self-deceived of this world. And even when a stubborn man means well--even when he’s really, really talented and persuasive--his rigidity can very often cause him to overlook the circumstances and changing realities (to say nothing of better methods or important details) that can undermine his principles. This was certainly the popular (and not entirely undeserved) criticism of George W. Bush. And while Bush may turn out to be vindicated in many of his bigger ideas and his policies, his undoing was certainly tied to this failing and to the criticism (even if much of it was unmeasured) that it engendered. Will something similar happen to Obama because of this fatal flaw?

McClanahan looks to the bellwether state of Ohio for the proof of his assertion that it is already happening. Obama’s nationwide approval numbers have fallen significantly in recent weeks but, in Ohio, Obama’s approval numbers have fallen more dramatically than anywhere else. Obama has lost a striking 32 percentage points in Ohio since May! I’d watch Ohio--and I’d also watch the upcoming gubernatorial race even more than the Senate race that Quinnipiac discusses in the poll I link to above. I’d also watch California--not because California is on the verge of a Republican resurgence--but because if there is any state that might be looked to for a glimpse of the end result of Obama’s principles in action, it’s California. The ideological fog that hangs over the Golden State may be impenetrable in the near-term . . . but the sun may yet shine again as voters figure out that a hard left legislature combined with a half-hearted and nominally Republican governor is not a recipe for prosperity or economic freedom. Do note, too, Dan’s comment in #5 under Steve’s post below. Boxer’s unwillingness to take on Pelosi’s pet in Cap and Trade is interesting for all kinds of reasons--and only some of them have anything to do with a girl-fight.

Discussions - 9 Comments

Note from RNC: To deflect from the most ignorant presidency in american history, fallout from which will remain toxic for decades, continue to call Obama just as ignorant. Bush was steadfast, so call Obama 'stubbornly inflexible'. But be careful. Some of you are prone to have almost an erotic attraction to leaders, since you are quintessential followers. Be careful to call Obama's steadfastness that of a charlatan and self-deceived. Add a line or two about how such criticism of Bush was not 'entirely undeserved' - the understatement of the century, laughable in it 'fair and balanced' semblance. Look to the slightest drop in any poll numbers anywhere as the sign of the end of Obama's reign, just like we did in the campaign.

ren - Still as Stupid as ever.

Now clutching at the mists of 'history'


That matter of Obama being pushed around by Congress is significant. In a sense, it was inevitable, because they are pros and he is the tyro. Even if he came in on a wave of change, that hit the same-old, same-old of those Democratic professional politicians and their vision of change, which is just more of the same that bought them their poll ratings over the last several years. Although, really, his "change", if you read his campaign material rather than listening to him, was what that party had always wanted, with a few frills and furbelows.

As to Congressional politics, isn't Nancy Pelosi considerably tarnished these days? Who wouldn't back away?

Has anyone got poll data that says exactly who is disappointed in Obama? Doesn't that matter? I know people very far left who are upset with him for not going far enough, fast enough or hammering home the "change" they thought he was bringing. (God knows, some of us are reeling.) Or is it the the moderate converts who now disapprove, which might be good for Republicans? Or is it just that people who wished him well as he was starting out have run out of good will?

Despite those murmurings, I hope Julie and Dan are right in their optimism about Republican prospects.I am scared that ren may have a point.

I'd watch Ohio too but I would not get too excited even if the GOP sweeps the Ohio statewide races in 2010. Ohio and the country will probably (hopefully!) have a lower unemployment rate in November 2012 that in November 2010, and the employment trend will more likely be upwards rhater than downwards.

California is especially worth watching, especially as an example of how conservatives can fail to profit politically from liberal misgovernment.

How harcore Obama really is. Rigid is the word.

Interesting post, Julie, and good comments, Kate (and Dan's from the other thread). Two things: first, President Obama is having trouble with Congress because he opened the flood gates and now has the wolf by the ears, so to speak. Congress was (mildly) restrained by the Republican President Bush for 8 years, but with President Obama in the White House, the Left believes the country can now continue the march out of barbarism towards universal happiness. President Obama has to contend with those in his party who want this change to come faster than he knows Americans are willing to accept and those in his party are who are dragging their feet because they'd like to be reelected.

Second, if President Obama doesn't learn quick, then, like Dan said, 2012 will be a good year for Republicans. The reason President Obama was elected was because too many people have never experienced the results of a hard-left presidency like that of President Carter; if President Obama continues down this road he'll educate yet another generation of Americans to the folly of the Left's economic and foreign policies. Converting such large numbers of Americans to the "dark side" may well affect the true realignment we've been waiting for since Nixon.

For Kate: largest shifts are among Republicans and self-labeled "moderates." As for Ohio and California . . . I think there are many similarities between the two in terms of what's going on in their governance. The difference is that the reaction of Ohioans is going to be much more akin to the reaction of the vast majority of Americans than anything that happens in California.

Thank you!

Ohio is really pretty conservative in the values of its average voters. I have an old story about that. I spent my first day as a poll worker during the 1988 presidential election. One of the Democrats at the table spent part of the afternoon explaining how difficult political life had been for Democrats in our county when she moved there in the 1950s. The Republicans tried to prevent Democrats from voting, or threw their ballots away after they voted, since only Republicans were ever poll workers. State and federal intervention had given Democrats an equal political footing in the county. (Incidentally, she did admit that the Democrats who were in charge in Cuyahoga County had done the same thing to Republicans.)

However, at the end of the evening, when we took the massive voting machines apart and checked end of the huge paper roll for the final tabulations, GHW Bush was the winner over Dukakis by a huge margin. That lady and the other Democrat at our polling place said, "Thank God!" After my local history lesson, I looked at them in some shock, which they noticed. "Well, what the hell. We voted for him, and for Reagan, too. You don't want crazy liberals running the country!"

That was a long time ago, but that is very good news about self-labeled "moderates", which is what those ladies really were. Maybe some more Democrats will be worrying about "crazy liberals running the country!" and 2012 will have a majority of Ohians voting differently.

An actor walks upon the floodlit stage of life
wearing a mask of an angel beneath a demon's gown.
Pretence smiles upon the crowded hall of life
holding out hope as bright as it is false.
Son of a woman in whose veins flows the blood
of ancient Ireland and dark Africa's plains.
You are Obama, nick-named the standing king
You are Barack, oh, son born to deceive
The suffering hoards of Africa look up to you,
See a black saviour where nought but a Judas strides.
An entrapper of nations, bringer of dismal war
Behind the robes and the nylon wings of hope
Oh, may those who look upon you, see you as you are.
May those who hope in you behold you as you be
A prince deceitful to bring down Africa's shrines
A siren who leads Africa's ships onto rocks of obliteration.
Your rule my lord will not be one of peace
Your reign my king will not be one of smiles
Even as we speak in caves both dark and dank
Enraged fanatics plot your dark demise
They will put around your head a bloodwet martyr's crown.
Oh black Kennedy following the one before
May God forgive thee and thy fiery spouse
As you walk in silence from the stage of life
Barack Obama, blessed son, Oh standing king.

Written by Zulu Shaman Credo Mutwa, I am guessing the poetic quality will be lost by the lack of spacing when copying and pasting....oh well.

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