Noonan: “I don’t see how Obama politically survives this”

Compare the New York Post’s relatively restrained criticism of Obama’s handling of the oil spill with Peggy Noonan’s apocalyptic take on the situation. Here are highlights:

I don’t see how the president’s position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president’s political judgment and instincts.

There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don’t see how you politically survive this.

The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They’re in one reality, he’s in another….

The original sin in my view is that as soon as the oil rig accident happened the president tried to maintain distance between the gusher and his presidency. He wanted people to associate the disaster with BP and not him. When your most creative thoughts in the middle of a disaster revolve around protecting your position, you are summoning trouble. When you try to dodge ownership of a problem, when you try to hide from responsibility, life will give you ownership and responsibility the hard way. In any case, the strategy was always a little mad. Americans would never think an international petroleum company based in London would worry as much about American shores and wildlife as, say, Americans would. They were never going to blame only BP, or trust it.

I wonder if the president knows what a disaster this is not only for him but for his political assumptions. His philosophy is that it is appropriate for the federal government to occupy a more burly, significant and powerful place in America—confronting its problems of need, injustice, inequality. But in a way, and inevitably, this is always boiled down to a promise: “Trust us here in Washington, we will prove worthy of your trust.” Then the oil spill came and government could not do the job, could not meet need, in fact seemed faraway and incapable: “We pay so much for the government and it can’t cap an undersea oil well!”

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N. writes:

Noonan is indeed more apocolyptic than the New York Post, or Karl Rove’s editorial in the Wall Street Journal the other day. I think it is worth pointing out that she was one of Obama’s cheerleaders; citing her gushing inauguration article from 2009 makes that clear. I think it also is worth pointing out that this incompetent response from the Federal government is not a surprise to those who actually observed the very little that Obama has ever done, vs. his big talk.

To be succinct: this failure to get the machinery of government moving should not be a surprise. Obama had never managed more than a handful of people, he’s never delegated authority, he has never actually managed any enterprise. He wasn’t qualified for the job, but thanks to cheerleaders like Noonan who confused words with abilities, he got the job.

Noonan owes America an apology. But she can’t see that.

LA replies:

Ok, so her present extravagant denunciation of Obama and prediction of his political ruin can be seen as a reaction against her earlier irrational support for him. From one extreme to the other. So it is with a thought process based on emotion.

I don’t off-hand have links to Noonan’s pro-Obama statements in 2008 and early 2009 [here’s a doozer], but readers may find of interest my analysis of her joy over the multiracial unity at the time of his inauguration.. In that artice, I show how conservatives’ belief in going beyond race and race-consciousness leads inevitably to those same conservatives supporting the take-over of America by race-conscious nonwhites.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 28, 2010 10:54 AM | Send

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