It’s not exactly fair to blame Obama for the rout: Almost certainly, the markets ignored him. And that’s the problem: The most powerful man in the world seems strangely powerless, and irresolute, as larger forces bring down the country and his presidency.
The economy crawls, the credit rating falls, the markets plunge, and a helicopter packed with U.S. special forces goes down in Afghanistan. Two thirds of Americans say the country is on the wrong track (and that was before the market swooned), Obama’s approval rating is 43 percent, and activists on his own side are calling him weak.
Yet Obama plods along, raising gobs of cash for his reelection bid — he was scheduled to speak at two DNC fundraisers Monday night — and varying little the words he reads from the teleprompter. He seemed detached even from those words Monday as he pivoted his head from side to side, proclaiming that “our problems is not confidence in our credit” and turning his bipartisan fiscal commission into a “biparticle.”When the Washington Post says the Emperor has no clothes, then, truly, the Emperor has no clothes. But two other things in this article struck me.
First, it quotes the President as saying that the need for deficit reduction “was true the day I took office." Really? If that was so, why exactly is it that you've run historic deficits for the past three years? Why exactly it it that you spent a trillion dollars we didn't have on the stimulus? If you just now noticed the deficit problem, you're stupid. But if you knew about it the day you took office, you were criminally negligent.
And then there was this exchange between the normally malleable White House press corps and the President's press spokesman, Jay Carney:
Various reporters tried to elicit more information about Obama’s economic plans and deficit-reduction proposals, but Carney declined again to take the lead.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of the process,” he explained to the Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler, adding that Obama “will be contributing to that process, not driving it or directing it.”
“Why?” inquired Politico’s Glenn Thrush. “He’s the leader of the free world. Why isn’t he leading this process?”Good question.
January 20, 2013 cannot come soon enough.