Cohen: Say, who is this fellow in the White House, anyway?

posted at 12:15 pm on July 20, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Richard Cohen delivers one of the better analyses of why Obama finds himself falling in the polls and flailing as he approaches the midpoint of his term in office.  The truth is that no one really knows Obama, and his initial failures have eroded confidence in his abilities to lead the nation, a point Obama’s apologists obfuscate in a blizzard of Reagan references and polling comparisons.  However, as Bruce McQuain points out, Cohen comes to his conclusions by a process that should have taken place in 2007, when Democrats began rallying behind a candidate with no track record, no executive experience, and nothing but a narrative to recommend him for the highest executive office in the land:

The comparison to Reagan may give Obama cheer, but it is not really apt. For even in Reagan’s darkest days when, according to Gallup, six out of 10 Americans reported that they did not like the job he was doing, an astounding six in 10 nevertheless said they liked the man himself. He was, of course, phenomenally charming, authentic and schooled at countless soundstages in appearing that way. Just as important, the public had faith in the consistency of his principles, agree or not. This was the Reagan Paradox and it helped lift his presidency.

No one is accusing Obama of being likable. He is not unlikable, but he lacks Reagan’s (or Bill Clinton’s) warmth. What’s more, his career has been brief. He led no movement, was spokesman for no ideology and campaigned like a Nike sneaker — change instead of swoosh. He seems distant. No Irish jokes from him. For the average voter, he casts no shadow.

Reagan, by contrast, had been around forever. He was not defined solely by gauzy campaign ads but by countless speeches, two contentious and highly controversial terms as California governor, and a previous race for the presidency. There was never a question about who Reagan was and what he stood for. Not so Obama. About all he shares with Reagan at this point are low ratings.

What has come to be called the Obama Paradox is not a paradox at all. Voters lack faith inhim making the right economic decisions because, as far as they’re concerned, he hasn’t. He went for health-care reform, not jobs. He supported the public option, then he didn’t. He’s been cold to Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu and then all over him like a cheap suit. Americans know Obama is smart. But we still don’t know him. Before Americans can give him credit for what he’s done, they have to know who he is. We’re waiting.

That’s precisely the problem — the media is waiting.  While they parachuted dozens of reporters to Wasilla in order to investigate a Vice-Presidential candidate in the general election, the media didn’t bother at all to trek to the much more accessible Chicago to get any sense of Barack Obama’s politics or connections to the corrupt Daley Machine.  It’s not as if the issue of corruption in Chicago was an arcane political topic, either, but the only mainstream media interested that topic were the newspapers in Chicago.

Nor did the media exactly fall all over themselves to look at Obama’s track record of leadership, or more accurately, the lack thereof.  Obama rarely if ever led on any legislative activity that had notable controversy.  Instead, he preferred to vote “present” on those issues, an option afforded by the Illinois legislature, and did so over 130 times during his seven years in the state Senate.  In one famous encounter, an Obama campaign surrogate couldn’t name a single legislative accomplishment of note for Obama during his time in either the state legislature or the US Senate that would provide a basis for voters to trust him with an executive position at the top of the American political system.  Yet the media acted as if Obama had credibility and refused to report anything that contradicted the notion.

However, there were some who continuously pointed out these shortcomings in a vain attempt to get the media to pay attention.  That’s why Cohen’s “we” gets Bruce, well, we-we’d up:

Who is “we” Mr. Cohen?  And where were you and your kind when the vetting process was supposed to take place.  Why are you still waiting for an introduction?  Why didn’t you do your job?

It’s not just Cohen who failed to do the job, but the entire American media that sold us the Obama bill of goods.

Addendum: Just to remind everyone, my friend John Ziegler produced an excellent documentary exposing all of this, How Obama Got Elected.


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He led no movement, was spokesman for no ideology?

Obowma certainly led a movement: Acorn street organizer, racial division to gain power, class warfare and “redistribution of wealth” to “those who were the rightful owners of that wealth”. Using financial means and corruption to gain political power and “fundementally transform America”.

Obowma is living the Alinsky Rules for Radicals. He was raised in it by Frank Marshall Davis in Hawaii, schooled in it by communist parents and Islamist schools in Indonesia, Obowma openly sought out radicals while in college, his Chicago pastor believed in black liberation theology and racism toward Jews and “whitey” and taught this to Obowma for 20 years.

dthorny on July 20, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Second installment:

Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way you can understand them. This quote came from the Czech Republic. Someone over there has it figured out. We have a lot of work to do.

“The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.”

“The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.

The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.”

LarryG on July 20, 2010 at 2:30 PM

I only listen to Mark Steyn or Walter Williams as guest hosts. The rest of them bore me to tears. I have no idea if Ed would work out. In print, he can be condescending and preachy but not all the time. I might give him fifteen minutes to find out.

Extrafishy on July 20, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Yeah. I only listen when Steyn fills in. We’ll see about Ed. I have my issues with him especially as a Southerner (AP as well). Ed’s climbing a ladder, and my guess is that he doesn’t want to break too many rungs in the process. I do, however, look forward to the day when/if he decides to rock the boat. He pisses me off a lot, but lately he’s making some itsy, bitsy waves.

There’s always hope. Ya never know. There might be a raging tiger hiding behind a chubby bald guy who giggles a lot.

Cody1991 on July 20, 2010 at 2:30 PM

There’s always hope. Ya never know. There might be a raging tiger hiding behind a chubby bald guy who giggles a lot.

Cody1991 on July 20, 2010

Raging tiger? I don’t know. I’ve said before that if Ed were around in 1776, he would be opposed to taking up arms against mother England and instead offer more petitions to the Crown.

Extrafishy on July 20, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Raging tiger? I don’t know. I’ve said before that if Ed were around in 1776, he would be opposed to taking up arms against mother England and instead offer more petitions to the Crown.

Extrafishy on July 20, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Lol! Yeah, I get what you’re saying. I was kidding, but I’m willing to give Ed a chance to step it up. There have been many times when I’ve gone off HA completely. Ed and AP often display a certain arrogance that hits my hot button.

We can afford to throw some plates and exert bluntness that they may not be free to do. They work hard and help to keep people informed and thinking. I can work with that.

Cheers, fishy.

Cody1991 on July 20, 2010 at 2:51 PM

He is not unlikable

Yes, he is. There’s nothing likable about a preening, sneering, hypocritical narcissist with a sense of entitlement.

Americans know Obama is smart.

No, we know that Obama thinks he’s smart, and that the MSM has accepted and promoted that meme without ever questioning it or demanding actual proof of it. As Michelle Obama proves, graduating from Harvard Law is hardly evidence of superior intelligence (especially when one was admitted because of skin color, rather than on merit).

AZCoyote on July 20, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Yeah, hooray, he’s smart.

So’s the guy changing my tires right now.

And frankly, the guy changing my tires has a lot more relevant, useful experience and skills than Barry has.

Barry’s “smarts” haven’t got us out of first gear.

Anyone who voted for Barack Obama was silly and ignorant, that’s the bottom line.

NoDonkey on July 20, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Anyone who voted for Barack Obama was silly and ignorant, that’s the bottom line.

NoDonkey on July 20, 2010 at 3:21 PM

The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.”

LarryG on July 20, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Bottom line.

College Prof on July 20, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Americans know Obama is smart.

It’s odd how these lefties always feel they have to slip this in. “He’s brilliant” “He’s so smart” “He went to Harvard”

I see nothing that shows me Obama is “smart”. All I see is someone doing whatever Soros and the Center for American Progress tell him to do.

darwin on July 20, 2010 at 12:31 PM

This garbage makes me want to vomit.

Bush went to Yale. As far as we know, Bush got better grades than Obama. (Prove otherwise)

We also know Obama can’t speak without a teleprompter very well.

Americans know Obama is smart.

It’s odd how these lefties always feel they have to slip this in. “He’s brilliant” “He’s so smart” “He went to Harvard”

I see nothing that shows me Obama is “smart”. All I see is someone doing whatever Soros and the Center for American Progress tell him to do.

darwin on July 20, 2010 at 12:31 PM

This garbage makes me want to vomit.

Bush went to Yale. As far as we know, Bush got better grades than Obama. (Prove otherwise)

We also know Obama can’t speak without a teleprompter very well.

scotash on July 20, 2010 at 7:59 PM

I think the “one famous encounter” HA archive linked above (the video is still available on YouTube) demonstrates what a nitwit Chrissy Matthews really is. Matthews smugly hammered on this poor, dumb Obot because he couldn’t name a single Obama accomplishment (as if anyone could).

Matthews then promptly jumped on the Obama bandwagon.

pain train on July 20, 2010 at 5:08 PM

A 30 mph experience-level trying to understand a Mach 12 challenge. What could go wrong?

sclemens on July 20, 2010 at 7:02 PM

Well don’t we know all we need know about the media now?

I doubt the media spent one tenth the people and money investigating Obama, his commie mother, his commie mentor, his Marxist pappy and racist preacher combined than they did on Sarah Palin.

tarpon on July 20, 2010 at 7:34 PM

Matthews then promptly jumped on the Obama bandwagon.

pain train on July 20, 2010 at 5:08 PM

-
For some being cool is more important than doing what is right and good for the future. This is a test many teens fail… The MSM on average, as well as loads of others drank the ‘coolade’ without looking. You are right here about Chrissy though… He knew what he was doing, and he kept doing it anyway.
-

RalphyBoy on July 20, 2010 at 7:38 PM

It’s not just Cohen who failed to do the job, but the entire American media that sold us the Obama bill of goods.

Hot Air is just as much to blame as any media outlet you are pointing a finger at now. HA is a willing accomplish in keeping Zero’s past a mystery. Where were the calls for his college transcripts on HA? HA knew it’s readers had questions and wanted answers. HA did it’s best to ignore, delay, mock any attempt to discuss Obama’s past.

With the media in the tank for him and his Address Verification System turned off on his donations website so bin Laden could contribute to him if he wanted to the election was there for the stealing. Dude could have gotten away with murder if he wanted, and some think he has done that and more.

Mr Purple on July 20, 2010 at 10:38 PM

In the case of Obama, the clothes have no emperor.

Dhuka on July 20, 2010 at 10:56 PM

Larry G. Nail on the head. Now how do we get this on at least page 2 of the NY slimes?

Mr. Purple You also, nail on the head.

Both of your comments bear repeating over and over for its said that you have to repeat something 26 times before it takes root. With the American public, better plan on 50.

Cheers and let’s hear more.

AReadyRepub on July 21, 2010 at 1:13 AM

Americans know Obama is smart. But we still don’t know him.

Know Obama is smart? Well, do we? The Dems keep telling us so, but that doesn’t make it so. And even if he is (yeah, I think he does have some book smarts), does that matter so much? It might be better to have someone in office who had a few less IQ points, but a lot more wisdom.

Obama has disappointed mightily on the wisdom score, having had opportunity after opportunity pass him by while his meager responses were to resort to partisan hackery. Post-partisan? I just don’t see it, man.

dissent555 on July 21, 2010 at 1:36 AM

Americans know that Obama is smart.

In almost every article I read, the author inserts somewhere an off hand comment about how smart he is. I have yet to see any one actually explain why I should believe this. Is he a great author? What research did he contribute to the study of law as a law professor? Is there a lecture he is famous for? Does he write his own speeches? Is so, which ones? Have they been evaluated for quality? I just do not get it.

tullius on July 21, 2010 at 6:31 AM

Obama is why given the choice of hiring a Harvard grade, or someone who graduated from University of Tijuana, I am checking the Mexican’s immigration status.

A 30 mph experience-level trying to understand a Mach 12 challenge. What could go wrong?

sclemens on July 20, 2010 at 7:02 PM

You are assuming facts not in evidence.

Slowburn on July 21, 2010 at 1:34 PM

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