Why Obama Is The Big Loser Of The Summer

Why Obama Is The Big Loser Of The Summer

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else,” quipped Winston Churchill, who did not live long enough to witness the rise of the Tea Party.

Tea Party Fail

Congress got ’er done eventually. The debt ceiling was raised. The U.S. did not default. But the damage was done. Faith in Washington spent. The S&P downgraded the lone superpower’s sterling credit rating from AAA to AA+ for the first time. Our sense of humor along with it:

– “Yo momma so poor she raised her debt ceiling and the S&P STILL downgraded her.”

– “Caught a just downgraded AA+ 11-inch Maine bass. Gotta cross to Canada across lake for AAA fish.” Economist Nouriel “Dr. Doom” Roubini’s tweet from a Maine fishing trip.

Congresses House Of Cards Debt Ceiling Comic

No one but short-sellers laughed. The Dow cratered. And skittish investors flocked to… U.S. treasuries. Never mind that the S&P rated Lehman A-grade the month of its collapse. Never mind that the S&P admitted faulty accounting to the tune of $2 trillion. It was not about the numbers, the S&P countered. It was about the words of vitriol in Washington. The “brinksmanship” of a paralyzed Congress that pushed the financial system back to the precipice. And possibly the Double Dip.

If so, the first dip was Wall Street’s. The gory shoot-out after years of Wild Wild West derivatives and lawless collateralized debt obligation. But the second dip belongs to the sheriffs. The recovery was Too Small To Succeed.

The culprits this time were rapacious lawmakers elected by the people for the corporate interest. The buck didn’t stop there. They simply printed more. They frittered away weeks wringing out debt ceiling bills that were dead on arrival. Held captive by a rabid Tea Party insurgency that played the nation’s credit rating as a bargaining chip that bet it all to spare tax hikes on the wealthy.

And a president who could not say No. A Professor-In-Chief more comfortable behind a lectern than a pulpit. But President Obama’s “eat your peas” bromides meant nothing to a ravenous Tea Party that tasted blood.

President Obama idolizes Abraham Lincoln. Yet he somehow forgot Honest Abe’s best-known truism: “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Again and again, Obama tried to give everyone something and gave no one anything they wanted. What came out were diluted, half-measures smacking more of erudite academia than brass-knuckled politics.

President Obama didn’t flex when he had it and “led from behind” when he didn’t. It’s why he hosed down with Stimulus with tax cuts. It’s why the debt ceiling became a virtual hostage crisis. It’s why we are hurrying slowly out of Afghanistan. And it’s why Gaddafi still hunkers down in Tripoli.

Barack Obama Drowning In Debt Cartoon

Again Obama tours the windswept cornfields of Iowa. Three years ago he was an unheralded junior Senator from Illinois with a knack for eloquent speeches. He rides a sleeker bus this time. He carries a glossier job title. But he hears the same questions in dingy town halls: Where are the jobs?

Only this time Barack Obama cannot blame his predecessor. He cannot whip up crowds into a frenzy with dreamy talk of Change. This time he can only hem and haw: The economy was worse than originally forecast. Republicans won’t be reasonable.

Valid points, both. But little solace to the down-and-out farmer or the laid-off factory worker. Too long for a bumper sticker. And certainly not the stuff of iconic campaign posters.

Because shovel-ready doesn’t always mean shovel-ready. Because he isn’t The One we were waiting for, President Obama is the Loser of the Summer.

This is the third of a 3 part series on the Summer of 2011. See the other parts here: Is The Summer Of 2011 The Worst Ever? and The Heroes And Zeros Of Summer 2011.


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