Sunday, April 1, 2012

Obama: The Not-So-Smooth Operator

Obama increasingly comes across as devious and dishonest.

by Peggy Noonan  Wall St Journal

Something's happening to President Obama's relationship with those who are inclined not to like his policies. They are now inclined not to like him. His supporters would say, "Nothing new there," but actually I think there is. I'm referring to the broad, stable, nonradical, non-birther right. Among them the level of dislike for the president has ratcheted up sharply the past few months.

It's not due to the election, and it's not because the Republican candidates are so compelling and making such brilliant cases against him. That, actually, isn't happening.

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.

The shift started on Jan. 20, with the mandate that agencies of the Catholic Church would have to provide birth-control services the church finds morally repugnant. The public reaction? "You're kidding me. That's not just bad judgment and a lack of civic tact, it's not even constitutional!" Faced with the blowback, the president offered a so-called accommodation that even its supporters recognized as devious. Not ill-advised, devious. Then his operatives flooded the airwaves with dishonest—not wrongheaded, dishonest—charges that those who defend the church's religious liberties are trying to take away your contraceptives.

What a sour taste this all left. How shocking it was, including for those in the church who'd been in touch with the administration and were murmuring about having been misled.

Events of just the past 10 days have contributed to the shift. There was the open-mic conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in which Mr. Obama pleaded for "space" and said he will have "more flexibility" in his negotiations once the election is over and those pesky voters have done their thing. On tape it looked so bush-league, so faux-sophisticated. When he knew he'd been caught, the president tried to laugh it off by comically covering a mic in a following meeting. It was all so . . . creepy.

Next, a boy of 17 is shot and killed under disputed and unclear circumstances. The whole issue is racially charged, emotions are high, and the only memorable words from the president's response were, "If I had a son he'd look like Trayvon." At first it seemed OK—not great, but all right—but as the story continued and suddenly there were death threats and tweeted addresses and congressmen in hoodies, it seemed insufficient to the moment. At the end of the day, the public reaction seemed to be: "Hey buddy, we don't need you to personalize what is already too dramatic, it's not about you."

Source and more: Online.WallStJournal


Devorah said...

See: Obama's Space for Russia

Kalu said...

what a great article by Noonan. She skillfully shows who our President is - disingenuous, a political animal who has changed our country for the worse.

Dov Bar-Leib said...

So when Joe Biden came to Jerusalem and bitterly complained and chastised Netanyahu for building in Ramat Shlomo in March of 2010, no one cared? He was just as disingenuous. In accordance with American presidential tradition that Jewish building throughout Jerusalem was sacrosanct even if the US State Dept did not recognize the annexation of "East Jerusalem", there should have been no issue. Yet, Obuzzard and friends decided to make a big stink about that too. His behavior back then was no less indicative of his hubris than his behavior now. First he came for the Jews, and as usual no one took notice or gave a damn. Only when he came after the Catholics, are we told that we should be concerned that Obuzzard is a disingenuous tyrant. Ah, and still at least at the bare minimum 60% of American Jews will likely vote for him again. guaranteed.