Reading The American Spectator today, Norman Podhoertz in the Wall Street Journal and Nile Gardiner of the UK Telegraph, reminded me of Evan Thomas (grandson of that loser but perennial socialist presidential candidate, Norman Thomas) declaring to Chris “tingly leg” Matthews in 2009 that “Obama is sorta god.”
(As an aside, Chris really should have this tingly leg thing checked out. It could be neuropathy caused by undiagnosed diabetes or something and maybe shove himself away from those jelly doughnuts, just in case it is. A weekly workout in the MSNBC gym wouldn’t hurt him, either. His god-dess Michelle will be the first to tell him, and the rest of us, that obesity is the number 1 cause of diabetes.)
But I digress and that’s a whole other blog.
Those were the days, weren’t they? Obama on the cover of every “news” magazine in the grocery store checkout line with the celestial halo around him, head upturned and nose in the air; the frown of determination and decisiveness across his face.
Under the spell of the messiah on Rolling Stone
Yes, Evan, he really was above us – on a ledge of your making. And every journalist in the nation, nay world, was all too quick and willing to acquiesce to their new found god Obama. His was the soaring rhetoric that was going to heal the world:
In the American Spectator, George Neumayr relates that “Obama loomed even larger than Lincoln. He was a “Lightworker,” as San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford put it in 2008, “that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment.” [A bizarre earthly experiment? Does anyone really talk like this? Maybe if you were in a 70’s consciousness raising group, or something…]
Now that the Lightworker has fallen to earth and the glorious new way of being on the planet turns out to be a lowered credit rating, some of his prominent supporters have fallen silent or resentful. Heady Lincoln comparisons have given way to Carter comparisons, sotto voce: “We are watching him turn into Jimmy Carter right before our eyes,” an anonymous Democratic Senator said to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
Yep, well it’s a long, hard fall when you’re up “above the world” looking down. It’s an even harder fall when you start to believe all the mythology about yourself.
The new Emperial president.
There is a disturbing let them eat cake mentality projected by the Obama White House … No US presidency in modern times has been more elitist or out of touch than the present one, which exudes the kind of condescending left-wing snobbery that is normally the preserve of an ivory tower common room. President Obama looks increasingly aloof and out of sync with the American people, three quarters of whom now believe the country is heading down the wrong track – including a staggering 58 percent of Democrats, according to Rasmussen.Nile Gardiner/UK Telegraph
Norman Podhoretz says that his “own answer to the question, “What Happened to Obama?” is that nothing happened to him. He is still the same anti-American leftist he was before becoming our president, and it is this rather than inexperience or incompetence or weakness or stupidity that accounts for the richly deserved failure both at home and abroad of the policies stemming from that reprehensible cast of mind.”
If America is ignorant, as Newsweek is claiming, then maybe this is an indictment of the government run education system that we have had in this nation for too many decades. Instead of blaming stupidity on the American people, maybe they should be pointing their elitist fingers at the liberal teachers union and the massive amount of money that we have thrown their way – and thrown away – for over 50 years. What do we have to show for the outrageous amounts that we have given to the Department of Education? An astronomical drop out rate (about 1.2 million students fail to graduate from high school each year) and falling numbers in comparison to other nations (in math scores internationally, only 4 countries have scores lower than ours and 23 nations score better than we do.)
And you know, doesn’t it just seem a little ignorant to call your own readers ignorant? I guess that’s why Newsweek was just sold for $1.
So to return to the beginning, Bill explains his stupid American comments:
The honeymoon might be over for a few WH reporters. Everyone can’t be first and everyone can’t be the
favored guy, all the time. But it appears that one guy is favored with the WH more often and more obviously than others.
Richard Wolffe, author of Renegade: The Making of a President and a planned sequel, is getting an unfair amount of access than other reporters and it’s not sitting well with many of the pool reporters. A fact that Wolfe does not dispute and in fact, verifies:
Wolffe said over email: “I’ve been in lots of parts of the White House and talked to lots of White House officials. Most often on my own. Sometimes with very few media present. Sometimes with lots of media present. I’ve never been a pool reporter. I negotiate my own access for the book and pursue my own reporting.” [Emphasis mine]
As background, Wolffe was a reporter for NewsWeek and was on the campaign trail with Obama – strictly Obama, during which he was doing foundational work for Renegade. His NewsWeek editors discovered indirectly that he was working on a book while he was also working on their dime. (NewsWeek reimbursed the Obama campaign $170,000 for travel expenses incurred by Wolffe.)
By the way, it was Obama who suggested that Wolfe write a Theodore White-type book [The Making of the President 1960] about the campaign and expected presidential win.
In his book, Wolfe wasn’t very kind to his bosses at NewsWeek. In one passage, Wolfe takes a direct shot at the Newsweek’s chief scribe, Evan Thomas [great grandson of socialist and several time presidential candidate Norman Thomas], describing him as one of the magazine’s “most senior, and white, writers” whose “racial stereotyping” wasn’t that different from Jeremiah Wright’s inability “to accept that America was in the process of change.”
We all remember Evan Thomas:
But I digress.
On the campaign trail, many of the pool reporters were unhappy and jealous of his almost unlimited access to Obama. He played basketball with the candidate while on the campaign trail and “after a campaign event at a restaurant in Reno…, Wolffe and Obama shared a heaping piece of frosted carrot cake as the Secret Service ushered the rest of the press corps to a waiting bus, according to a pool report.”
Fast forward to last month and the rising tension between the press and the WH. Julie Mason, pool reporter for the Washington Examiner said: “I was the print pooler, and I told him, ‘You are not in the pool — you shouldn’t be here [at a House Democratic Caucus meeting with the president],'” Mason recalled. “We did have words, and he invited me to take it up with Robert Gibbs. I asked him if he was now officially working for the administration, which rightly [ticked] him off.”
Wolffe is no longer with NewsWeek. Many at the publication felt that he had become too enamored with Obama during the campaign and that his coverage (or lack of it) effected his reporting for the publicaton. After the election, they wanted to take him off the WH beat for other duties but he was not inclined to accommodate their wishes. He’s now working for a public relations firm, writes for the Daily Beast and is a sometime consultant to – where else – MSNBC.
Before the 2012 election, we are going to be inundated with hot off the presses, “insider” books about Obama and the bang up job his first term has been for America and all by obvious liberal journalists. Check out the names and the credentials:
The list of authors, first published in Politico and much discussed across the blogosphere, includes such bold-face names as David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker magazine; Bob Woodward, the famed Washington Post reporter and chronicler of presidential administrations; Jonathan Alter of Newsweek magazine; Jodi Kantor of the New York Times, and Chuck Todd, NBC News White House correspondent.
The aim of the Obama administration is to get out positive real time books by – in the words of Tucker Carlson – “throne sniffing” reporters that paint a picture of a great president who has a great vision for shaping the American future and all right before the next election. Why else are these Obama goons allowing “unprecedented” access to the halls and offices of the West Wing?
But these “journalists” are perverting their own ethics to get the story and make a lot of money:
At least one of the authors on the current list, speaking on background in order to protect his continuing access to officials inside the Obama White House told Fox News he occasionally withholds information from his deadline reporting, to use it instead in his book.
“Withholding information” from the American public in order to enhance their own books and wallets. How do they reconcile their own ethics with this? How do they call themselves journalists under these circumstances?
These are not journalists. They are willing useful idiots to the Obama strategy for re-election.
Every candidate writes a book prior to running for election. Mitt’s book was just published, Obama had 2 (neither written by him, but presented as though they were. This guy didn’t even write when he was editor of the Harvard Law Review or whatever it was he was editor of.) But as a sitting president running for re-election, Obama can’t write another book. He will, however, have close to a dozen glowing books out there by these dopey reporters and editors that will further his career without putting a dime in their pockets.
But it’s a win-win for them and a loss for us. The reporter/authors will make a nice wad of cash and prestige (among their peers, that is) and the president gets re-elected with lots of free positive, albeit slanted, books. The loss to us is obvious.
If ubiquity were the measure of a presidency, Barack Obama would already be grinning at us from Mount Rushmore. But of course it is not. Despite his many words and television appearances, our elegant and eloquent president remains more an emblem of change than an agent of it. He’s a man with an endless, worthy to-do list—health care, climate change, bank reform, global capital regulation, AfPak, the Middle East, you name it—but, as yet, no boxes checked “done.” This is a problem that style will not fix. Unless Obama learns to rely less on charm, rhetoric, and good intentions and more on picking his spots and winning in political combat, he’s not going to be reelected, let alone enshrined in South Dakota.
The president’s problem isn’t that he is too visible; it’s the lack of content in what he says when he keeps showing up on the tube. Obama can seem a mite too impressed with his own aura, as if his presence on the stage is the Answer. There is, at times, a self-referential (even self-reverential) tone in his big speeches. They are heavily salted with the words “I” and “my.” (He used the former 11 times in the first few paragraphs of his address to the U.N. last week.) Obama is a historic figure, but that is the beginning, not the end, of the story.
I’ve got news for Fineman and Obama, his egocentric speeches are NOT charming nor do they denote charisma, because speaking eloquently FROM A TELEPROMPTER, does not engender faith or confidence in this man. Because he can READ eloquently, does not make him brilliant.
There is only so much political mileage that can still be had by his reminding the world that he is not George W. Bush. It was the winning theme of the 2008 campaign, but that race ended nearly a year ago. The ex-president is now more ex than ever, yet the current president, who vowed to look forward, is still reaching back to Bush as bogeyman.
He did it again in that U.N. speech. The delegates wanted to know what the president was going to do about Israel and the Palestinian territories. He answered by telling them what his predecessor had failed to do. This was effective for his first month or two. Now it is starting to sound more like an excuse than an explanation.
Hasn’t anyone in his inner circle told him that his blame game is wearing thin? Doesn’t he get it? People want to know what HE’S going to do, not what Bush did or didn’t do and that includes foreign powers. The Europeans were all a twitter when Obama was elected and they have great expectations regarding all the good he said he was going to do. The world is waiting.
Members of Obama’s own party know who Obama is not; they still sometimes wonder who he really is. In Washington, the appearance of uncertainty is taken as weakness—especially on Capitol Hill, where a president is only as revered as he is feared. Being the cool, convivial late-night-guest in chief won’t cut it with Congress, an institution impervious to charm (especially the charm of a president with wavering poll numbers). Members of both parties are taking Obama’s measure with their defiant and sometimes hostile response to his desires on health care. Never much of a legislator (and not long a -senator), Obama underestimated the complexity of enacting a major “reform” bill. Letting Congress try to write it on its own was an awful idea. As a balkanized land of microfiefdoms, each loyal to its own lobbyists and consultants, Congress is incapable of being led by its “leadership.” It’s not like Chicago, where you call a guy who calls a guy who calls Daley, who makes the call. The president himself must make his wishes clear—along with the consequences for those who fail to grant them.
Yes, he’s underestimated a lot of things which is a direct reflection on his lack of experience. He’s out of his element and in over his head. He’s so busy trying to appease the world’s dictators and pander to his fringe left lunatic friends that he can’t concentrate on what’s best for the entire country, let alone the world.
The model is a man whose political effectiveness Obama repeatedly says he admires: Ronald Reagan. There was never doubt about what he wanted. The Gipper made his simple, dramatic tax cuts the centerpiece not only of his campaign but also of the entire first year of his presidency.
Obama seems to think he’ll get credit for the breathtaking scope of his ambition. But unless he sees results, it will have the opposite effect—diluting his clout, exhausting his allies, and emboldening his enemies.
I think he really believed he could remake this nation and all in just 10 months. Again, give these guys enough rope and they will hang themselves. He won and that meant, to him, that he could make the United States a third world Marxist utopia by the force of sheer will. It isn’t going to work. His far-reaching, over-reaching ambitions are too much, too fast and Americans aren’t going to be dragged along. He will get credit alright, but not for what he’s gotten accomplished but for how he’s damaged confidence, trust and faith in the government.
That may be starting to happen. Health-care legislation is still weeks, if not months, from passage, and the bill as it stands could well be a windfall for the very insurance and drug companies it was supposed to rein in. Climate-change legislation (a.k.a. cap-and-trade) is almost certainly dead for this year, which means that American negotiators will go empty-handed to the Copenhagen summit in December —pushing the goal of limiting carbon emissions even farther into the distance. In the spring Obama privately told the big banks that he was going to change the way they do business. It was going to be his way or the highway. But the complex legislation he wants to submit to Congress has little chance of passage this year. Doing Letterman again won’t help. It may boost the host’s ratings, Mr. President, but probably not your own.
People need to see that he’s actually WORKING and not just flapping his lips and giggling it up with Letterman. Most of his time is spent traveling someplace (I’d love to see what his carbon footprint is for less than a year in office) to stage pep rallies with his followers, while making no effort to win over those who are dubious of his agenda. In fact, he’s deliberately snubbed and insulted “those other” Americans. Telling us to shut up and get with the program is not going to win him support from independents and conservatives who have doubts about his plans or his ability to even lead.
He needs to start listening to those who trying to help him and ignore his inner circle of coat-tail riders. Just like him, they are in it for themselves.
(Emphasis is mine.)
If you can stand it, here’s his “fired up – ready to go” routine:
(I’d love to know what “bad story” the NYT ran about him. That would be the one and only, if it’s even true.)