His popularity is declining, the economic data is bad, and the opposition is having a field day, with an abundance of ammunition to attack him (in truth a part of it should be directed to the Republican party itself).
For now, President Obama has to deal with an extra problem: growing criticism within the Democratic party and from political commentators from the left and center. Karl Rove and such are just doing as expected. (SEE HERE)
Last week, it was Maureen Dowd of the New York Times who blasted the president with a column titled, “Withholder-in-Chief.” Dowd, ruthless with the predecessor in charge, George W. Bush, wrote the following about the president and this is one of the gentler parts: (SEE HERE)
“Obama’s assumption that you can rise above ascribing villainous motives has caused him to waste huge chunks of his first term seeking bipartisanship from Republicans who were playing him for a dupe. And it has led to Americans regarding the nation’s capital as a place of all villains and no heroes.”
Before that, her colleague, Paul Krugman, an economic Nobel prize winner who writes in the same paper, had already made a similar criticism (SEE HERE): Obama gave too much, abdicated what he defended, was not able to reconcile with the opposition, and worse, did not arrive at any solution for the American debt problem. Moreover, even worse, he put aside the question of unemployment, which is the real problem in America today, for too long.
America’s confidence is on the floor; the lowering of demand has locked up a good part of the production process. Do you want a long-lasting recession? Start with a persistent base of unemployment and, as a free bonus, toss the morale and expectations of the populace down the stairs.
Last Friday, it was up to David Gergen, probably the most sensible analyst on American TV, to send his message like a gift card: Stop being a victim. Surround yourself with competent advisers, focus on the problem of unemployment and, for the love of God, STOP campaigning for re-election!
Yes, the president is dropping everything, in the middle of the crisis, to campaign for re-election. He is traveling to the most economically sensitive regions with the most sensitive electorate. (This week he will be back on the road and after that leave for vacation.)
Ok, perhaps it is an unjust world where the opposition has 3,678 candidates to attack him 24 hours a day. But at the end of the day, he is still in the line of fire. It comes with the job. But what is not among the duties of a president is campaigning.
Truthfully, this crisis was not created by Obama. It was started by Bush, who spent a fortune (SEE HERE) with two wars (at least one of which was useless) and instead of increasing revenues, as in other times of war, he still cut taxes, creating a budgetary debt in the style of “The Blob,” the American horror film. The public debt was fattened to proportions that became unsustainable, resulting in the economic crisis of 2008 and injections of money to revive the economy. This was given to Obama and left him without much alternative.
And then, the Republican party still refused to negotiate a tax package until the last second, holding the country hostage to the point that the rating agency, Standard & Poor’s, lowered its grade of the U.S. for the first time in history because it judged its politicians inept at resolving the problem. It was not because of the debt. It was because of politics. (SEE HERE)
But the one who sits in the chair is Obama. Even though today the public says it is more disgusted with the Republican fiasco than the president, “The buck stops here.” The final responsibility lies with the person in the Oval Office.
Things are not as bad now that the president has, roughly speaking, resolved matters this week, but work remains. You don’t have to be a political analyst, or have more than three neurons to agree with what Mitt Romney’s officials, the principal opposition pre-candidate said today, “There is nothing that Obama can do that will turn the campaign away from functioning as a referendum on his stewardship of the economy.”