Remember “Obama-cons”? Or was it “Obamicans”? You know who I mean — the libertarians and center-rightists who found Obama’s “first-class temperament” so first class in 2008 that they convinced themselves he’d be a problem-solving pragmatist when it came to things like entitlement reform and avoiding crippling deficits. Three and a half years later, here we are.
Lots of buyer’s remorse op-eds coming from that group this year. The big question: Will David Brooks write one too or will those famously well-creased pants of O’s retain just enough edge to keep him in the fold? Can’t wait for his last column in October. It’ll be epic.
What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who’s not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it’s his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it’s a big fault…
Now this week the Supreme Court arguments on ObamaCare, which have made that law look so hollow, so careless, that it amounts to a characterological indictment of the administration. The constitutional law professor from the University of Chicago didn’t notice the centerpiece of his agenda was not constitutional? How did that happen?
Maybe a stinging decision is coming, maybe not, but in a purely political sense this is how it looks: We were in crisis in 2009—we still are—and instead of doing something strong and pertinent about our economic woes, the president wasted history’s time. He wasted time that was precious—the debt clock is still ticking!—by following an imaginary bunny that disappeared down a rabbit hole…
If you jumped into a time machine to the day after the election, in November, 2012, and saw a headline saying “Obama Loses,” do you imagine that would be followed by widespread sadness, pain and a rending of garments? You do not. Even his own supporters will not be that sad. It’s hard to imagine people running around in 2014 saying, “If only Obama were president!” Including Mr. Obama, who is said by all who know him to be deeply competitive, but who doesn’t seem to like his job that much. As a former president he’d be quiet, detached, aloof. He’d make speeches and write a memoir laced with a certain high-toned bitterness. It was the Republicans’ fault. They didn’t want to work with him.
Follow the link up top for thoughts on him being “devious.” She’s right about his supporters not being sad if he loses too. If you doubt her, watch the withering satirical vid below that HuffPo put out this morning on the glory of “hope.” Here’s the proof, I guess, that he’s a middle-ground centrist after all: There’s no concern in the clip that we’re headed for a fiscal cliff but plenty of angst that he hasn’t gotten Congress to tackle issues that are politically toxic to them (closing Gitmo) or to avoid being influenced by the special interests on which their campaign treasuries depend (financial reform). His fans bought the fantasy that he’d change everything by the sheer force of his charisma and now they’re mad at him for proving that they’re chumps. Everyone wanted to see the economy improve, but beyond that our side wanted one big thing from him — a serious effort at balancing the budget — and the left wanted pretty much everything else. What we got was a dead Bin Laden, which is great but isn’t going to win him an election.
Go read BuzzFeed’s report tonight on how Democrats, without much of anything else to run on until they’ve got real momentum on shrinking unemployment, are already rolling out their “fear” messaging on Romney. If the economy stalls again, that’s all they’ll have left.