Yesterday's 634-point plunge sank "O" with it....
For Jimmy Carter it was his July 15, 1979 "malaise" speech (so-named despite Carter not having used the actual word); citing "a crisis of confidence," Carter seemed adrift, unable to govern, and clueless as to how to revive his or the country's fortunes--and this, less than a year after his triumph with the Camp David Accords. For George W. Bush it was "Heckuva job, Brownie" during August 2005's Hurricane Katrina, symbolizing Presidential inattention and incompetence. (The local officials were much worse, but Bush took most of the blame.)
For Barack Obama there is another metaphor to add: the failed re-election campaign of George H. W. Bush in 1992. Bush got off a plane in New Hampshire as unemployment concerns rose (despite a slow recovery already underway, which voters did not notice until after the election). Asked about unemployment all the candidate could muster was "Message, I care." Bush Sr. also appeared clueless when shown a supermarket scanner.
For Barack Obama yesterday seems to have been his turning point. Barring a miracle, his detached, clueless Monday afternoon recital (8:22) of his stock bromides during an epic market meltdown captured all too perfectly how out of touch, and in way over his head, President Obama is. Saith The One Who Will Stop the Rise of the Oceans: "Markets will rise and fall, but this is the United States of America."
One familiar sign is when strong supporters turn on a President. Here is Washington Post pundit Dana Milbank, writing today of "a familiar air of indecision" and then adding this:
It’s not exactly fair to blame Obama for the rout: Almost certainly, the markets ignored him. And that’s the problem: The most powerful man in the world seems strangely powerless, and irresolute, as larger forces bring down the country and his presidency.
The economy crawls, the credit rating falls, the markets plunge, and a helicopter packed with U.S. special forces goes down in Afghanistan. Two thirds of Americans say the country is on the wrong track (and that was before the market swooned), Obama’s approval rating is 43 percent, and activists on his own side are calling him weak.
Yet Obama plods along, raising gobs of cash for his reelection bid — he was scheduled to speak at two DNC fundraisers Monday night — and varying little the words he reads from the teleprompter. He seemed detached even from those words Monday as he pivoted his head from side to side, proclaiming that “our problems is not confidence in our credit” and turning his bipartisan fiscal commission into a “biparticle.”
Add (printed in LFTC yesterday, reprinted for reader convenience today) Maureen Dowd's plaintive lament, that sums up the downward rush of Barack Obama:
Barack Obama blazed like Luke Skywalker in 2008, but he never learned to channel the Force. And now the Tea Party has run off with his light saber.
The dissonance of his promise and his reality is jarring.
When he had power, he didn't use it. He wanted to be a "transformational" president like Ronald Reagan, but failed to understand that Reagan's strategic shows of strength allowed him to keep the whip hand without raising his voice.
And now, just when the high school principal in the Oval has been browbeating Congress to help create jobs, he is once more distracted from that task as he tries to save his own.
He goes to fundraisers to tell people to stick with him, but he seems to be trying to reassure himself.
"I have to admit," the president said in Chicago, "I didn't know how steep the climb was going to be."
Also pertinent is this assessment from WSJ pundit Bret Stephens, not, to be sure, an Obama supporter, on why the President's fabled smarts are overrated. He cites a 2004 "O" remark to a reporter, at the Democratic Convention: "I'm LeBron, baby. I can play at this level. I got game." Well, when "O" began talking at 1:52 PM Monday the market was down 410 points. Just 30 minutes after he spoke it was down 605 points.
Here is the spiciest paragraph of BS's wonderfully acerbic column:
Socrates taught that wisdom begins in the recognition of how little we know. Mr. Obama is perpetually intent on telling us how much he knows. Aristotle wrote that the type of intelligence most needed in politics is prudence, which in turn requires experience. Mr. Obama came to office with no experience. Plutarch warned that flattery "makes itself an obstacle and pestilence to great houses and great affairs." Today's White House, more so than any in memory, is stuffed with flatterers.
At TAS, Ben Stein sees a trader-driven market frenzy, and adds this about The One:
But the most astonishing part of the whole dreary tableau is the utter irrelevance of President Obama. He cannot do anything about anything. He might as well be on the moon. The gunslingers on Wall Street and in London and Hong Kong and Tokyo have made him absolutely outer planetary. It's almost sad. He's flailing his arms around, and no one is listening. He might as well be President of The Off World Colonies. "Yes, we can....we can be utterly irrelevant."
Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times offers us the President's schedule for this week: fundraisers, Green energy events, a Ramadan dinner, more fundraisers and, yes, a White House visit with the Super Bowl champs. Hmmm, how about inviting LeBron to the Oval Office?
This President is, alas, a legend now only in his own mind. And we have 17-1/2 months to go with him at the helm.
Bottom Line. Monday will go down in history as the day voters downgraded Obama's Presidential credit rating to default level. Barring a miracle, The One is political toast come November 6, 2012.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Economy, Conservative Politics