As Peggy Noonan pointed out in a painfully honest Wall Street Journal column on May 28, we know now that Barack Obama is an empty suit, a child playing grown-up.
I wonder if the president knows what a disaster this is not only for him but for his political assumptions. His philosophy is that it is appropriate for the federal government to occupy a more burly, significant and powerful place in America—confronting its problems of need, injustice, inequality. But in a way, and inevitably, this is always boiled down to a promise: “Trust us here in Washington, we will prove worthy of your trust.” Then the oil spill came and government could not do the job, could not meet the need, in fact seemed faraway and incapable: “We pay so much for the government and it can’t cap an undersea oil well!”
Also this week, Obama used former president Bill Clinton to provide cover for his criminal attempt to influence the Pennsylvania Senate race. Earlier this year, the White House offered Joe Sestak a senior level position in exchange for Sestak’s dropping his Senatorial bid against Democrat Arlen Specter. After weeks of speculation and White House denials, the White House on Friday claimed that Bill Clinton offered Sestak a position—a position for which Sestak was ineligible.
Clinton refuses to comment on the White House allegation.
This, too, is clearly a sham designed to save Obama from impeachment.
As Ms. Noonan points out, none of this is good for the country or for the world which Obama so dearly loves.
The disaster in the Gulf may well spell the political end of the president and his administration, and that is no cause for joy. It’s not good to have a president in this position—weakened, polarizing and lacking broad public support—less than halfway through his term. That it is his fault is no comfort. It is not good for the stability of the world, or its safety, that the leader of “the indispensable nation” be so weakened. I never until the past 10 years understood the almost moral imperative that an American president maintain a high standing in the eyes of his countrymen.
I do not want to go through another impeachment battle, even if this one would be over a serious matter. (No, I don’t believe Clinton’s impeachment trial involved a serious matter of state.) Instead, the American people should render Obama a lame duck on November 2, 2010. And the Democratic party, if it retains any grown-ups, should find a replacement to carry the party’s banner in 2012.
Barack Obama is a child. And with Louisiana in turmoil, the Sestak controversy raging, the UN telling him to stop our most effective anti-Taliban tactic, and the world economy on the brink of total collapse, Mr. Obama takes a vacation.
Update: Jeff Dunetz has more on the Sestak Smell Test on BigGovernment.com. Clip:
Thirty-six years and one week ago a minor burglary in the Watergate Hotel destroyed the trust we had in our government, and brought down a popular president of the United States. It was not the crime itself that brought down Richard Nixon; it was the subsequent lies and cover-up. Based on the explanation we received today, before this Sestak thing is over, we may learn that history does indeed repeat itself.
Indeed. The Democrats better have a plan B. The Obama Era will end long before he leaves the White House for the last time in January, 2013.
Update 2: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/opinion/30rich.html?hp, too.
Long before Obama took office, the public was plenty skeptical that government could do anything right. Eight years of epic Bush ineptitude and waste only added to Washington’s odor. Now Obama is stuck between a rock and a Tea Party. His credibility as a champion of reformed, competent government is held hostage by video from the gulf. And this in an election year when the very idea of a viable federal government is under angrier assault than at any time since the Gingrich revolution and militia mobilization of 1994-5 and arguably since the birth of the modern conservative movement in the 1960s.
I never thought I’d suggest reading Frank Rich, but this column has a few points worth taking in. (Although Rich blatantly lies about Bush’s response to Katrina.)