Quotes of the day

“All the signs suggest that Obama is in immediate danger of a rabbit attack. It would ruin what’s left of his presidency. And it would horrify Democrats by ushering in, say, a President Bachmann.

“It might happen while he’s on that ridiculous vacation of his. Obama is chilling at some exclusive multimillion-dollar estate on Martha’s Vineyard, even as thousands more Americans hit the unemployment lines, and as Republicans like Michele Bachmann make wild-eyed, crazed claims about bringing back $2 per gallon gas.

“‘I think it’s a little too early yet for the president to be attacked by a rabbit,’ cautioned a veteran Chicago Democrat wise in the ways of Obama. ‘But it’s close. Real close.'”

***
“[O]ne person I never thought would fall into this valley was Barack Obama, the charismatic candidate who electrified the electorate in 2008 and whom many saw as the fulfillment of the dream of the even-more-electrifying Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Yet here Obama is, down in the valley, struggling to connect with the American people and failing, increasingly coming across as dispassionate to some and outright revolting to others

“The country needs the president to rise to this crisis in word, spirit and deed. We need him to reach out of his nature and into the nation’s need. We are on the precipice. There’s growing concern that we may slip into a second, more painful recession. There is little optimism that the housing crisis will loosen its grip on the economy anytime soon. The unspeakable truth is that we may well be on the leading edge of a prolonged period of national stagnation, if not decline.

“A robotic Sustainer-in-Chief with an eerie inhumanity will not satisfy.”

***
“He’ll argue that he inherited a crisis. Fine, most voters won’t blame him for the fact that the unemployment rate rose to 10 percent after the 2008 meltdown. But if it returns to that level after dropping to 8.9 percent, he’ll have no convincing defense.

“To sum up: History says that five of seven presidents whose poll numbers hit the 30s either lost or dropped out. The two who won were able to run on economic numbers that left the public optimistic about the future…

“[G]iven the ineffectuality of his efforts thus far, his supporters shouldn’t hold out too much hope that he’s going to change the course of the world’s largest economy, which is heading toward the shoals again — and is far likelier than not to run Obama aground for good.”

***
“Poor Mr. Obama. Most of his problems aren’t his fault. The messes he inherited took decades to create. Waves of new technology and globalization have shaken the economy to its roots. The employment problems are scarily profound. ‘Our labour force is too expensive and poorly educated for today’s marketplace,’ says Bill Gross, founder of the world’s largest bond fund, Pimco. In his view, ‘neither party has an awareness of the why or the wherefores of how to put America back to work again.’…

“Barack Obama can’t walk on water. To a large extent, he’s a prisoner of fate. These times need a great man, and he is merely a good one. And now he’s acquired the most devastating label of all: President Wimp – someone who not only has no answers but lacks the killer instinct to strike back at his opponents. So don’t be surprised to see another Texas cowboy in the White House before long. He’s selling hope. And that’s what people desperately want.”

***
“Yet the harshness of his Democratic critics – a third of the party base is calling for an alternative candidate – must be seen against the same people’s self-delusions when they backed him for President. There is something of the lover’s disappointment here. What the biggest crisis of American self-confidence since the Vietnam War is revealing is that Obama is the victim of absurdly unrealistic expectations. How could a President who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize months after taking office (ironic, given his subsequent enthusiasm for Taliban-zapping drones in Pakistani skies) live up to the hopes? Not even the youthful JFK was burdened with so much adulation. But then, the Nobel was more than a tribute to Obama’s manifest virtues, and his promise: it was a blessing of the colour of the presidential skin.

“His economic inheritance was the worst of any new incumbent in memory, but to a country still hag-ridden by race, this was no mere politician. Here was a political messiah, a man with miraculous healing powers, whose appearance among us in times of trouble promised an America reborn, a nation spiritually as well as financially cleansed. The reverential mood – not confined to America – was captured by Matt’s cartoon for this newspaper on the day Obama entered the White House: a sign by the fountain outside read ‘Please Don’t Walk on the Water’…

“Recent days are a reminder of how closely the FTSE and the Dow Jones are linked, so ask yourself: what are the chances of a Republican president from a poor field, with the Tea Party snapping at his trousers, radically improving matters? Then there is America’s international prestige, in which we have a stake. Obama has been a disappointment, no question, even if you were never a fan in the first place. Which makes him a little like the euro: if he goes down, part of us goes down with him.”

***
“These are commonsense ideas – ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The only thing holding them back is politics. The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That’s the problem right now. That’s what’s holding this country back. That’s what we have to change.”