Press allies are slowly realizing the President is asleep at the wheel.
Not so long ago, Barack Obama was revered as a veritable messiah come in the nick of time to save a country from itself and retrieve America’s image in the hearts and minds of a skeptical world. Europe loved Obama and America adored him. He was cool, hip, suave and up-tempo, his nomination campaign the political equivalent, say, of a McLaren-Mercedes racing car with the beauty of forced induction and adjustable dampers. He was post-Bush, which for car aficionados is like being post-Bangle. He was The Man, a Formula One race driver who would leave the obsolete and lumbering political crowd in his wake. And his most ardent fan base, the legacy media, had placed all their hopes and loyalty on this glamorous and super-confident newcomer.
After the initial euphoria had begun to cool, it started to dawn on people, and belatedly on the Press, that Obama was no racing wizard and no miracle worker. He was clearly out of his depth, unable to steer straight, ceding to his competitors on the international track, and heading inexorably to a last place finish. It wasn’t even clear whether or not he had a driver’s licence. Worse, the president’s motor with its full-throated resonance soon began to sound like a tin can full of angry wasps. Probably never in the history of presidential races was so much promise dashed so quickly. Rarely has hope changed almost overnight to despair or resignation.
For Obama is his own worst enemy. He multiplies mistake upon mistake for the simple reason that he just can’t help himself. He is plainly unqualified for office, has a “Chicago way” shrewdness and ruthlessness about him but is neither very intelligent nor particularly knowledgeable, is prone to an unsavory and conspicuous degree of self-adulation, leans toward feckless and inappropriate remarks and is given to expressing a certain petulance when he is crossed.
Additionally, he has surrounded himself with a team of manifest incompetents who couldn’t change a tire if their lives depended on it, does not understand the reality of Islamic terror and actually abets it through complacency, “outreach” and enabling Muslim charities to funnel what we might call “martyr money” to terrorist organizations (aka fulfilling zakat). No less distressing, he seems totally incapable of gauging the dynamics of the geopolitical arena and, perhaps most damaging of all to his reputation, projects the impression of golfing while the nation burns.
The race may not be to the swift, or at least not always, but it is definitely not to the slow. And Obama, for all his verbal torque and the haste he evinces in implementing his partisan domestic policies, is actually extremely slow: slow in recognizing international threats to America’s security, slow in making military decisions regarding troop allocations, slow in repairing America’s permeable borders, slow to shut the revolving door for lobbyists, slow to reduce pork, earmarks, no-bid contracts and the like, slow in offering even faint support to Iran’s anti-Khamenei protesters and slower in meaningfully confronting the Iranian regime’s nuclear aspirations, devastatingly slow in reacting to the greatest ecological disaster in American history. He will be remembered as the pit-stop president or the president who, puttering along by starts and stops, crashed into the restraining wall. He will never see the chequered flag.
I suspect the time is approaching when many of Obama’s most enthusiastic supporters in the media will begin to re-evaluate their unseemly, over-the-top infatuation with the wonder-president they helped elect. Obama’s many failures, his constant back-tracking, his manipulation of justice, his innumerable gaffes—his being almost always in the wrong gear—all reflected in the precipitous and unprecedented drop in his poll numbers in little over a year, may culminate in the media’s resonating mea culpa and the command to “release the kraken.”
The reason for this dramatic peripety, the startling reversal of opinion, is obvious. Pro-Obama columnists and broadcasters will be forced to allow that they were taken in by a smooth and persuasive imposter, a Felix Krull or Melville’s Confidence Man. They must eventually realize that their credibility and sagacity, and in some cases even their careers, will soon be on the line. When a fairy-tale vehicle careens into the wall of reality, it is the wall that emerges intact. If these media types also wish to survive in one piece, they will have to do an about-face, explaining to the public that they were understandably inspired by the president’s apparent eloquence and sweet purr of power, and acted in a manner they judged best for America’s future interests. They really thought he was in the driver’s seat. They considered him a winner—as who would not have. They believed that he merited the “coverage” they lavished upon him. Because they were so deeply concerned for the nation’s future, they tumbled for his Canute-like assurance that his election would check the “rise of the oceans.” They did not see, to quote John Bolton, that he was really the first post-American president.
In other words, they were true patriots miserably deceived, as were so many others, by Obama’s youthful sparkle, redlining campaign energy and ostensible good faith, convinced that he would set the country on the right path, that he would heal the racial divide, that he would solve the financial crisis, that he would seek bi-partisan cooperation, that he would hunt down Osama bin Laden as per his campaign rhetoric, that he would close Gitmo, that he would fight only “good wars” or “wars of necessity,” that he would pacify the Middle East and that he would eventually bring peace and harmony to prevail among belligerents, both at home and abroad. But it didn’t happen that way; in fact, every major issue he has addressed has demonstrably worsened, every touted success has been a fiasco. And so the scribblers and talking heads will scramble to cover their derrières. Unlikely as this many seem at the present moment, expect headlines like We Were Had or We Hoped for Change—and Were Disappointed. And remember, you read it here.
One by one, then, the media dominoes will begin to fall. Naturally, they will not admit to evincing both frugal intelligence and political partiality. Rather, the fourth estate, apologetic and shame-faced, will insist on its bona fides and claim that no one is infallible, to err is human—and every other redemptive platitude it can think of. Like Letterman confessing to an affair, the media will attempt to recoup its public standing by being “refreshingly candid.”
Obama groupie David Brooks aired his doubts back in March 2009; while trashing the Republicans pro forma, he conceded that “Barack Obama is not who we thought he was.” Bloviating pundits like Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Howard Fineman have already started to turn. Indeed, even a dinosaur like Frank Rich, roaming the Jurassic Park of the New York Times, is growing uncomfortable, lamenting the White House’s “record of incompletes” and suggesting that Obama should “start running his administration with a 9/11 sense of urgency.” Of course, there is no chance of this happening. Ultimately, the media will put on a great show of confessional humility, honesty and frankness. And then, once more, it will be business as usual. It will be time to attend another race and root for the wrong contestant.
Can one imagine a jalopy like Hillary revving her engine again?