Via News Busters, a sad, sad story. What can we as voters do to help our president out of this predicament? Any ideas?
Says Ace, summing up the spin, “Liberalism never fails. Liberals just fail liberalism sometime.”
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Tina, what has happened to this president, the president from hope and change? What has happened?
TINA BROWN: Well it’s so interesting. I think that Obama doesn’t like his job, actually. I think that he is genuinely of a professioral disposition in the sense that I think that he’s interested in chewing over the pros and cons, and he doesn’t like, he doesn’t like power and he doesn’t know how to exercise power. And I think knowing how to exercise power is absolutely crucial. He doesn’t understand how to underpin his ideas with the political gritty, granular business of getting it done. And that kind of gap has just widened and widened and widened. And so that every time there is a moment, a window where he can jump in, like something like a Simpson-Bowles as well, he just doesn’t do it. He hangs back at crucial moments when you have to dive through that window.
Matthews made this point recently too, claiming he’s heard from congressmen that The One never reaches out and speculating that he simply doesn’t like their company. Oddly enough, O’s alleged misanthropy didn’t stop him from passing the stimulus or universal health care — which none of the left’s political icons ever succeeded in doing — or prevent him from making deals with the GOP on the annual budget or the debt ceiling. Only when the already weak economic recovery stalled and his job approval began to sink to dangerous levels did the “Obama’s not a people person” excuse really start to bloom. It achieved full flower in early October when this WaPo piece was published; see this contemporaneous “Quotes of the Day” post for a round-up of related stories and reaction. Apparently it’s now mainstream Democratic conventional wisdom, which is convenient since it lets them draw an implicit contrast between the Great Society success of master wheeler-dealer LBJ and the Great Liberal Realignment failure of Obama. If only O had been a little friendlier, maybe all their policy dreams would have come true. Liberals just fail liberalism sometimes.
Here’s a radical theory: Maybe Obama’s not reaching out to gladhand congressmen about Bowles-Simpson because he’s not that interested in getting Bowles-Simpson passed. The singular lesson of his presidency this year is that he won’t take risks on policy if it will complicate his reelection bid, and a package like Bowles-Simpson carries considerable political risk on entitlements. It’s also far more aggressive on spending than President Downgrade has ever shown himself to be. He seems to have settled on running against Congress as his best bet in 2012, so go figure that he’s not leaping to get involved in the deficit-reduction clusterfark of the Super Committee. That being so, what’s left for him and John and Harry and Mitch and Nancy to talk about?