August 22nd, 2009

If Obama’s lost Bob Herbert…

…he’s in bigger trouble than I thought.

And it’s not just that Herbert doesn’t think Obama’s been “progressive” and feisty enough, either, although that’s certainly part of it for the ultra-liberal NY Times columnist. But Herbert also said this about Obama yesterday:

The American people are worried sick over the economy…This is the reality that underlies the anxiety over the president’s ragged effort to achieve health care reform. Forget the [probably Union Leftist—see this] certifiables who are scrawling Hitler mustaches on pictures of the president. Many sane and intelligent people who voted for Mr. Obama and sincerely want him to succeed have legitimate concerns about the timing of this health reform initiative and the way it is unfolding.

The president has not made it clear to the general public why health care reform is his top domestic priority when the biggest issue on the minds of most Americans is the economy…People worried about holding on to their standard of living need to be assured, unambiguously, that an expensive new government program is in their—and the country’s—best interest. They need to know exactly how the program will work, and they need to be confident that it’s affordable.

Mr. Obama, who has a command of the English language like few others [sic], has been remarkably opaque about his intentions regarding health care. He left it up to Congress to draft a plan and he has not gotten behind any specific legislation. He has seemed to waffle on the public option and has not been at all clear about how the reform that is coming will rein in runaway costs. At times it has seemed as though any old “reform” would be all right with him.

It’s still early, but people are starting to lose faith in the president. I hear almost daily from men and women who voted enthusiastically for Mr. Obama but are feeling disappointed.

46 Responses to “If Obama’s lost Bob Herbert…”

  1. Steve Says:

    Herbert is right that people are worried about the economy but he does not connect the dots that political uncertainty due to Obama’s agenda is likely putting the recovery on hold.

  2. nyomythus Says:

    What a total and complete clusterf**k — I wish Bush was still the President.

  3. No one you know Says:

    “Mr. Obama, who has a command of the English language like few others”

    Mr. Obama’s command of the English language is wee weed up

    This is just like Brooks telling us how classy Obama is only to have the president caught in a photo, ogling some 17 year old ass………….

  4. huxley Says:

    Mr. Obama, who has a command of the English language like few others [sic]

    Love the [sic]!

    I’m so tired of the Obama-as-savant trope.

    Hitchens once made the point that people who harp on Bush’s dumbness are proving that they are dumb themselves. I’m adding the corollary that those who wax on about Obama’s brilliance are not so brilliant either.

  5. soupcon Says:

    Sowing discord is what the Obama’s of the political world do.Barry is a neo-communist well marinated in the Alinsky brine, so he’s doing what comes naturally.Now that he’s feeling some resistance, he’s begun to peddle one false bromide after another, deliberately deceiving to try to help his case.He’s as bent as a corkscrew.

  6. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    “The president has not made it clear to the general public why health care reform is his top domestic priority when the biggest issue on the minds of most Americans is the economy.”

    That’s because it’s not about America, it’s not about Americans, it’s not about the economy — it’s about Obama. He wants a gilt-edged place in history, and he thinks reforming health care is the way to do it. I have stopped believing that he truly cares about any ideology or any country –he cares only about himself. That’s why he hasn’t been able to communicate a clear message as to what he wants in health care reform, or any passion as to any of it — it’s because it isn’t health care he cares about. “Any old reform” really is all right with him, as long as His Name is attached to it.

    But it’s good news that Bob Herbert is beginning to see it.

  7. Artfldgr Says:

    dont laugh.
    what the heck does [sic] mean?

  8. huxley Says:

    Wiki:

    Sic is a Latin word meaning “thus”, “so”, “as such”, or “in such a manner”. In writing, it is placed within square brackets and usually italicized – [sic] – to indicate that an incorrect or unusual spelling, phrase, punctuation, and/or other preceding quoted material has been reproduced verbatim from the quoted original and is not a transcription error.

  9. Oblio Says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic

    colloquially, “He really said or wrote this, and I’m not making it up to just to make him look like an idiot or ill-educated buffoon.”

  10. Old Dad Says:

    The President’s political problems were easily predictable. He was deeply mobbed up in Chicago. His most loyal consigliere are parochial. His national campaign was built on glamor and success, not the deep rooted long nurtured connections of a resilient political machine–Roosevelt, Kennedy, Bush, and to a lesser extent, Clinton. The Clintons serve as an interesting counterpoint. Bill went national long before he ran for President. His Arkansas Mafia were well connected, but he’d personally built a powerful national network.

    Obama is a flash in the pan–today. His political longevity depends on success. The old money, the old powers that be require success or they will dump him like yesterday’s soiled laundry.

    Herbert is a canary in the Dem coal mine. If Obama doesn’t get the public option, the far left base–and money–will bail. If he get’s some mirage of reform, he may be able to avoid a complete route in 2010, but his Presidency will stink of defeat and the big money will cautiously look for a winner. That doesn’t mean that re-election is out of the question. He’s essentially running unopposed today. But there is an opposition candidate out there somewhere who can win.

    Herbert is chirping. Not good for the One.

  11. ELC Says:

    Mr. Obama, who has a command of the English language like few others…. As others have already noticed, Obama’s vaunted “command” of the language has gotten wee-wee’d up.

    He was always good at speechifying; that is, at mouthing what others had written for him. He has seldom, if ever, demonstrated any facility, let alone “command”, of the language in other circumstances.

  12. Lucius Says:

    Neo,

    Obama has a history of leaving work for others to do, then taking credit. Reference those who were with him during his Harvard Law Review years. This time, however, there is not enough polish for the turd he is trying to sell us.

  13. Dennis Says:

    And as the old military say goes, “You can polish a turd all you want, but it is still a turd.” An apt description of almost every initiative put forth by Obama and the Leftist dems.
    I still do not understand the fascination exhibited by the news media for style over substance. Oh, I get it. That is what the media is good at. Its been so long since they produced a substantive argument for or against something they have lost the ability.

  14. MikeLL Says:

    It’s possible that we’ve been without mature leadership for so long that it’s difficult to recognize it when we see it.

    Interesting statement right at the end of the editorial. Herbert says this after noting Obama’s Wee Wee comment.

    And of course, liberals can never resist taking a pot shot at George Bush. Is he also taking a shot at Clinton?

  15. physicsguy Says:

    Hmm.. this is really becoming for me a repeat of history.

    The small college I work at had a president with very similar qualities as Obama, except gender. Smooth, sophisticated, verbally adept, and totally narcisstic, totalitarian, and at times abusive to dissent. It was eventually her strongest supporters who saw the reality and they were the ones who told her to step down. It took 12 years. But in the pressure cooker of national politics it looks like this may be happening faster.

  16. Occam's Beard Says:

    It’s possible that we’ve been without mature leadership for so long that it’s difficult to recognize it when we see it.

    Maybe he was referring to the NYT. In that case his comment would make perfect sense.

  17. Terrye Says:

    I knew Obama was a neophyte and a demagogue. It seems however, that a lot of other people, Mr. Herbert included, did not.

  18. Buster 99 Says:

    “At times it has seemed as though any old “reform” would be all right with him.”

    Very perceptive, imho. I believe any old reform would be all right with him, he will find a way to get the control he is really seeking in there no matter what they come up with.

    How incredibly sad to say this about our President, but it seems crystal clear to me that he cares not in the least about what is best for the nation, nor in making health care better, he cares only about getting the control inserted, some even watered down, hidden if necessary public option. Sigh.

    Buster

  19. Andrew_M_Garland Says:

    The government demands detailed, researched Environmental Impact Statements before starting a building. We should have Official Policy Impact Statements before our representatives change our society.

    We need proposed results, expected evolution, methods, justifications, comparative studies, past successes of similar policy, funding sources, expected difficulties, the works.

    I hope people of all parties and positions could agree that this is fundamental. It is non-partisan to demand that the President and all politicians show how they have carefully researched their proposals.

    It is not our job to read tea leaves and pick apart 1000 page bills written in Old English to figure out what the bills are really saying. The whole idea of “legislative language” is to obscure what is going on. Whatever I extract or infer, I am drawing my own conclusions, and the government can say that I am misguided.

    Did Obama (or any politician) start with such a policy study, or not?
    If so, then where is it? If not, then he is a fool.

    Is Obama legislating from some scribbles on a cocktail napkin?
    Does he want to pass anything, then rearrange it later to do what he wants?

    Where is the policy paper?
    If they won’t answer: OK, so where is the cocktail napkin?

    A Few Words About Policy

  20. Gringo Says:

    physicsguy: You give me an excuse to plug two musical loves of mine, Gilbert and Sullivan and Tom Lehrer. Your ex-Pres reminds me of King Gama from the Gilbert and Sullivan light opera Princess Ida. Here is an excerpt from the lyrics.

    If you give me your attention, I will tell you what I am:
    I’m a genuine philanthropist — all other kinds are sham.
    Each little fault of temper and each social defect
    In my erring fellow-creatures, I endeavour to correct.
    To all their little weaknesses I open people’s eyes;
    And little plans to snub the self-sufficient I devise;
    I love my fellow creatures — I do all the good I can —
    Yet ev’rybody says I’m such a disagreeable man!
    And I can’t think why!

    Come to think of it, “self-righteous nag” also describes a lof of liberals, not just King Gama (Obama?) and your ex-Pres. Moreover, not only Kings and college presidents have issues with gaps between self-perception and how others view them. Tom Lehrer wrote lyrics to this song one about physics professors, based on King Gama’s song.

    1) King Gama: If You Give me Your Attention.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrdXx7UnP0E

    2) Tom Lehrer : The Professor’s Song
    http://www.haverford.edu/physics/songs/lehrer/professor.htm

    Disclaimer: this song does not describe any of the professors who taught me physics, who did a good job of explaining a challenging subject. The reference to obscure lectures does describe one of my engineering professors- who wrote the textbook we were assigned.

  21. Beverly Says:

    Here’s the mentality we’re up against. From a post on Gateway Pundit:

    “OH NO! OH NO! OH NO! Our secret muslin peznit has issued good tidings to people who don’t love Jeebus as much as we do! That’s it, grab your guns boys and girls, we’re a-goin’ darkie huntin’!

    “The unmitigated gall of that secret commie-fascist-Nazi-commie-Muslin to issue such a proclamation to people who don’t revere the same non-existent god we do is going to kill us all! Get yer guns and get them now, we need to take back this country for the people who it truly belongs to, old, white ignorant assholes who think that because they claim Jeebus as Lord and Savior they are going to spend eternity having sex with 72 Muslin virgins!

    “This can not stand! Any terrorist attacks will be on the preznit’s hands, you know, like the way we made sure the deaths of nearly 3,000 people during the Shrubs term were blood on that idiots hands. I mean, he made sure to kill a coupla thousand of the damn sand niggers, but it obviously wasn’t enough, there’s one in the White House.

    “Get grandma and little baby jeebus trig and run fer the hills!
    JesusPleaseDon’tKillMe ”

    I have to go wash off my brain now.

  22. huxley Says:

    As risible as much of Herbert’s column is, he has this much dead-bang right:

    The American people are worried sick over the economy…The president has not made it clear to the general public why health care reform is his top domestic priority when the biggest issue on the minds of most Americans is the economy…

    We’re not out of the woods yet, nor is the rest of the world. We dodged several bullets in the past 18 months, but there are still various debt bombs that have not been defused, as unemployment and foreclosures continue to soar.

    Team Obama drops the bad news that they underestimated the deficit by two trillion dollars on a Friday as the weekend arrives and Obama dons his ascot and deck shoes for a vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. Obama dismisses his current difficulties to the month of August and people getting wee-weed up.

    I don’t like the feel of all this. I smell real panic from this administration and worry that it’s not just a bad patch of partisan hardball for them, but something larger and that they have lost control.

  23. Gray Says:

    Is this the “Oh, shit.” moment I predicted for Obama supporters?

    Nobody knows what happens next; we’ve never f’ed up this bad….

  24. huxley Says:

    It’s strange that the very people who keep lecturing the rest of us about sustainability elect a guy like Obama who is going to show us up close and personal with our very own money what real unsustainability is.

  25. strcpy Says:

    “I don’t like the feel of all this. I smell real panic from this administration and worry that it’s not just a bad patch of partisan hardball for them, but something larger and that they have lost control.”

    That assumes they ever had control – they never have. Indeed they were never close to it even though they thought they could manipulate it however they wanted.

    Some are starting to realize he is a Chicago Politician and they were hoodwinked but they still hold hope that the the great brilliant Obama they saw during the elction is really there. They just haven’t figured out how badly they were hoodwinked. As the true depth of how badly they were comes out it will get worse (I do not think there is going to be an “Oh Crap” moment but a gradual slide to disillusionment and then to despair).

    I do smell the dawning realization from members of his administration that they elected a race based community organizer to the President of the United States and that the hidden past was probably hidden for a reason. Instead of the imagined George Bush many are realizing that they got the Real Thing.

  26. Thomass Says:

    Buster 99 Says:

    “Very perceptive, imho. I believe any old reform would be all right with him, he will find a way to get the control he is really seeking in there no matter what they come up with. ”

    If only though… then Obama would do what he said in the campaign and do a non partisan bill with the best chances of making things work… but no… far left nonsense trying to take over the healthcare system…

  27. br549 Says:

    This really is a mess. I am thoroughly disgusted. It’s like watching a mystery on TV in which you already have the ending figured out long before the first commercial is played. But this is also a re-run.

    Anyone with half a notion, who paid the slightest bit of attention, and did the slightest bit of research, knew way up front how this would be. Until I am blue in the face, I will repeat it. He told us exactly who he is and what he plans to do, although he put it in a prom dress. Oh, that’s new.

    What he is trying to accomplish has been tried numerous times, even continuously, by various politicians since before the great depression, pointing to “recent history” as far as the U.S. is concerned. It has never worked. Over a few generations, the children have been taught, have been lead in the direction to enable them to accept, even cherish what is again being presented by yet another, and from a slightly different angle. The beneficiaries are looters and moochers. I am not talking about those unfortunate individuals, who, through no fault of their own, cannot fend for themselves. But taking over the health care system is the pry bar in the door. You tube has available, just about every major speech Reagan ever made. Some date back to 1961 at least.
    I find them fascinating. There is nothing new under the sun.

    All we can do now is – again – limit the damage as best as possible by – again – voting these people out.

  28. Stupid Hippie Says:

    Ogabe and his staff think they can wind him up and put him in front of cameras, mike and teleprompters and he can sell us anything. I am sick and tired of him and trying to follow his gibberish, offended by his constant attacks on everyone, and bored to death with the awful “health reform” issue. Watching him self-destruct has become the real spectator sport. He thinks his job as president is to hand out goodies to his friends while he destroys the economy and our foreign policy. In the meantime the Ogabe family and friends live like kings after plundering our empty treasury as we peasants struggle to put gas in our cars.

    I hate the state-controlled media and cannot wait ubtil they join the rest of us in the unemployment lines. The question is – how will this sordid story end? Stay tuned folks. It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

  29. Oblio Says:

    huxley, I have to correct a misperception you and others might have about Martha’s Vineyard. The place is not crawling with people whom you might mistake for Judge Elihu Smails (Ted Knight in Caddyshack). Even among the yachties in Edgartown, there are few brave enough to wear an ascot, especially now that Walter Cronkite is gone.

    The Obamas are staying Up Island in Chilmark, which is almost a different place altogether. I think of the people who summer up there as a combination of communist plutocrats, entertainment and media industry icons, various Professor Birkenstocks, and dancers from New York to decorate the nude beaches in an aesthetically pleasing way.

    I remember a summer I spent in Chilmark with a great deal of fondness. There were a number of high points, but one that sticks in my mind was meeting Jacqueline Onassis, who was beautiful and gracious.

  30. Tatterdemalian Says:

    I don’t think the problem is that people are losing faith in the President. I think the problem is that people had faith in the President in the first place. Being Commander in Chief of the most powerful army in the entire world today isn’t something that should be left up to faith, though of course it will be.

  31. huxley Says:

    Oblio: So I’m out of date with the ascot image, but the rest of what you describe sounds spot-on with my sense that Obama’s vacation scene will indeed be crawling with the most exclusive people, however sadly ascotless. It’s not like he took the wife and kids to Orlando, Florida for Disney World. Nothing like that.

    In any event Obama is skipping town just as the White House finally has to leak the outrageous deficit increase that they first lied about and attacked the CBO for, then suppressed in the failed home stretch cramdown of Obamacare.

    It’s a new day and I feel a bit more chipper than last night, but many times recently I get the willies that the wheels could really come off the world system, not because Obama dreams of installing himself as El Presidente por Vida, but because he and his crack team are flailing about in a very precarious time and they seem unable to look after their own self-interest, much less the country’s or the world’s.

    I haven’t seen an administration change its story so often in so little time since Watergate.

  32. huxley Says:

    Rasmussen today shows El Presidente at a new low of -14 (Strongly Approve – Strongly Disapprove).

    In the next episode of As The Obama Turns:

    When Obama returns from his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, will he break off his long torrid affair with his college sweetheart, Lefty “Lips” Ideology, and restore faith in his moderate marriage? Can he change? Will his wife forgive, forget and trust him again? Or will Obama just find new schemes to keep Lefty on the side, while pretending to be faithful.

    Tune in next week to As The Obama Turns!

  33. Occam's Beard Says:

    I think of the people who summer up there as a combination of communist plutocrats, entertainment and media industry icons, various Professor Birkenstocks, and dancers from New York to decorate the nude beaches in an aesthetically pleasing way.

    Up until the last demographic I was kinda hoping Al-Qaida knew about this place.

  34. Occam's Beard Says:

    My metaphor for the Obama Adminstration is a garden hose with nozzle that was laying on the lawn when the water was turned on full blast: flailing erratically and spraying in every direction, to no purpose.

    Fifty-two percent of us elected a spokesmodel, a pitchman. We’d be better off with Ron Popeil. At least he was successful, and never released anyone’s divorce records to get him to buy a Chop-o-Matic.

  35. Jim Says:

    The left is worried we won’t get socialism now that the health care debacle has come under fire from the conservatives. The independents or moderates – in other words, those who usually don’t pay attention to anything political – are primarily worried about the economy – specifically theirs.

    What Obama is doing now in constantly talking about nationalizing health care and seeming to ignore the economy even though his stimulus plan is not working is similar to what Jimmy Carter did.

    During Carter’s administration the economy was lousy and everyone was worried and suffering. We would anxiously await an address from Carter hoping he was going to do something – anything. Instead, we would get a lecture about how we were suffering from malaise and then a lecture about human rights in some God-awful country that most had never heard of.

    Obama’s obcession with passing this health care crap to the detriment of everything else is his Jimmy Carter moment. Carter was fixated on “human rights” for everyone except the American people. Obama is fixated on socialism to the detriment of Americans.

  36. huxley Says:

    What Obama does when he returns from vacation will be the most crucial moment so far in his presidency. He will either try to refashion himself as something of a centrist as Clinton did in 1994 or stand by his socialism with tricks.

    I really don’t know what he will do.

  37. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    huxley said “I really don’t know what he will do.”

    I’ll bet he doesn’t, either.

  38. Baklava Says:

    This is powerful

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/08/024350.php

  39. Thomass Says:

    huxley Says:

    ” He will either try to refashion himself as something of a centrist as Clinton did in 1994 or stand by his socialism with tricks.

    I really don’t know what he will do.”

    I’m guessing he will double down on tricks… I bet he doesn’t get that they won’t still work as well now that people are catching on / skeptical of him.

  40. rickl Says:

    He is a Marxist (and Muslim sympathizer) at his core, so if he tries to refashion himself as a moderate, it’ll take some good acting and deft teleprompter wielding.

  41. huxley Says:

    That’s a good guess, Thomass. I lean that way myself. I do believe that’s the way Obama’s heart and head go.

    But reality is a powerful force and given a chance to catch a breath, I also believe that Obama and his team can read the tea leaves that they have botched healthcare and they can still dig their hole deeper.

    Then there’s Sod’s Law that just when I think I understand Obama, he’ll throw me a curve.

  42. huxley Says:

    …if he tries to refashion himself as a moderate, it’ll take some good acting and deft teleprompter wielding.

    rickl: Agreed. I’m not saying that a move to the center will work all that well for Obama, just that he might try it for lack of better alternatives.

    What I still don’t understand is how much of lose-lose situation Obama may be in if he disappoints the left base and the Dem leadership. There is something irrational and ravenous about those two fronts. It’s not just Obama.

    This is supposed to be their golden hour, the recreation of FDR’s domination. If that fails, what do these people do? The vitriol we have seen against Bush and now towards the Tea Party and Townhall protests is shocking. If Obama disappoints or fails, where does all that anger and frustration go?

  43. Ymarsakar Says:

    Dick Morris convinced Clinton to triangulate and not veto the welfare reforms.

    Who is going to say No to the Obama Emperor?

  44. huxley Says:

    As the health care debate rages on, President Barack Obama will begin a weeklong vacation Sunday in Martha’s Vineyard, an enclave of liberal royalty far from middle America, where his approval numbers are starting to stall.

    Already, at least one group on the right is taking a jab at Obama over his beach vacation — at a 28-acre farm, said to rent for up to $50,000 a week. Obama has struggled against the perception that he has trouble connecting with average voters, and some are questioning his choice of a getaway spot for the well-to-do.

    “The danger for President Obama is that he seems to be in what is one of the most elite summer resorts in the United States. From an image-making point of view, it would be better to be in the Wisconsin Dells or Put-in-Bay, Ohio,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. “There is the connotation with Martha’s Vineyard of East Coast elitism. … I have a feeling when they decided on Martha’s Vineyard they didn’t know the health care debate would be this brutal.”

    Obama vacations where the elite meet

  45. rickl Says:

    Obama has struggled against the perception that he has trouble connecting with average voters, and some are questioning his choice of a getaway spot for the well-to-do.

    He sounds like a typical Third World despot who could care less what “average voters” think.

    And I believe we’ve seen the last free and fair election in America.

  46. Gabriel Syme Says:

    “All we can do now is – again – limit the damage as best as possible by – again – voting these people out.”

    Wrong. Inoculate your children to this nonsense, NOW. The schools will not do it for you. Do it yourself. Teach them about free minds, free markets, and true liberty and self-determination.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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