Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Howard Fineman -- DC insiders think Barry's in over his head

Captain Ed picks up the story that Howard Fineman alluded to in his interview with Hugh Hewitt back on Monday. Captain Ed says he sounds like an apologist at times in the piece, and I'll agree with that. He does sound like an apologist, just like David Brooks, Chris Buckley, and others have sounded like apologists when they saw that -- WOW! Color them surprised -- Barry was a hard-Left kind of guy. (Only an idiot would think he wasn't a hard-Left liberal.) From Mr. Fineman:

Surfer that he is, President Obama should know a riptide when he's in one. The center usually is the safest, most productive place in politics, but perhaps not now, not in a once-in-a-century economic crisis.Swimming in the middle, he's denounced as a socialist by conservatives, criticized as a polite accommodationist by government-is-the-answer liberals, and increasingly, dismissed as being in over his head by technocrats.

Luckily for Obama, the public still likes and trusts him, at least judging by the latest polls, including NEWSWEEK's.But, in ways both large and small, what's left of the American establishment is taking his measure and, with surprising swiftness, they are finding him lacking.

They have some reasons to be concerned. I trace them to a central trait of the president's character: he's not really an in-your-face guy. By recent standards—and that includes Bill Clinton as well as George Bush—Obama for the most part is seeking to govern from the left, looking to solidify and rely on his own party more than woo Republicans. And yet he is by temperament judicious, even judicial. He'd have made a fine judge. But we don't need a judge. We need a blunt-spoken coach.

Obama may be mistaking motion for progress, calling signals for a game plan. A busy, industrious overachiever, he likes to check off boxes on a long to-do list. A genial, amenable guy, he likes to appeal to every constituency, or at least not write off any. A beau ideal of Harvard Law, he can't wait to tackle extra-credit answers on the exam.

But there is only one question on this great test of American fate: can he lead us away from plunging into another Depression?

I despise his use of the word "depression" even though it appears that's the slope we're sitting on right now. Fineman ticks off a laundry list of complaints from some of Barry's detractors, including the stimulus bill, the pork-laden omnibus spending bill (passed last night out of the Senate), criticism of his treasury secretary, and his seemingly far-too-trusting attitude in letting the Congress take care of crucial details that he should be addressing. He also points out that while the bigwig media types and the people remain by his side, if the media were to start sounding off like Fineman has, public support could be affected.

Why it hasn't been affected yet boggles the mind. Barry really hasn't done much aside from: signing the stimulus, signing the S-CHIP bill, revoking the ban on embryonic stem cell funding, and signing an executive order calling for the closing of Gitmo. Other than that he really hasn't done much, but he has done a fine job of assuring people that he will address these other problems, such as health care reform. As long as he says he's dealing with it, his numbers stay at a decent level, and his supporters still stand by his side.

But his detractors have him under a microscope. We're watching what he's doing, and we're throwing cold water on all the supporters who still claim he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. He's not. He's stumbling badly, especially when you consider his Cabinet appointments, his foreign policy gaffes, and picking fights with private citizens. The man is clearly overwhelmed by a job he thought would be a cinch.

Turns out that being president involves a bit more than a speech or two, and telling people he's on the job. It actually requires work, which is something that appears to be alien to him.

Publius II


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