Dowd shoots Obama

Here are excerpts from Maureen Dowd’s column today. The title, “One and Done?”, is the sort of line about Obama that you would normally see at

The leader who was once a luminescent, inspirational force is now just a guy in a really bad spot….

Polls show that most Americans still like and trust the president; but they may no longer have faith that he’s a smarty-pants who can fix the economy.

… so the president once more set a trap for himself and gave Boehner the opportunity to dis him on the timing of his jobs speech this week.

Obama’s re-election chances depend on painting the Republicans as disrespectful. So why would the White House act disrespectful by scheduling a speech to a joint session of Congress at the exact time when the Republicans already had a debate planned? [LA replies: Amazing. Like her colleague Frank Bruni in today’s Times, but in even stronger terms, Dowd is saying that the speech imbroglio was not some “sand box” feud in which both sides were equally guilty of acting like children, but Obama’s fault. She thus is contradicting the Times’ own editorial on the matter, which called it a “food fight” while also putting the main blame on the Republicans.]

And why is the White House so cocky about Obama as a TV draw against quick-draw Rick Perry? As James Carville acerbically noted, given a choice between watching an Obama speech and a G.O.P. debate, “I’d watch the debate, and I’m not even a Republican.”

The White House caved, of course, and moved to Thursday, because there’s nothing the Republicans say that he won’t eagerly meet halfway….

And it wasn’t exactly Morning in America when Obama sent out a mass e-mail to supporters Wednesday under the heading “Frustrated.” …

If the languid Obama had not done his usual irritating fourth-quarter play, if he had presented a jobs plan a year ago and fought for it, he wouldn’t have needed to elevate the setting. How will he up the ante next time? A speech from the space station?

Republicans who are worried about being political props have a point. The president is using the power of the incumbency and a sacred occasion for a political speech. [LA replies: Have my eyes deceived me? Did Maureen Dowd just say that Republicans have a point? I don’t think she’s ever said that Republicans have a point on anything. Perhaps Obama is “done” after all.]

Obama is still suffering from the Speech Illusion, the idea that he can come down from the mountain, read from a Teleprompter, cast a magic spell with his words and climb back up the mountain, while we scurry around and do what he proclaimed. [LA replies: It’s the Empty Black Suit presidency. Just as your typical empty black suit (see Joseph Kay’s September 2008 article at VFR) thinks that if he shows up at at work wearing the right clothes and speaking the right verbiage, he is “working,” Obama thinks that if he shows up and gives a speech, no matter how empty and full of lies, and no matter how repetitive of past (failed) speeches, he is exercising presidential leadership.]

The days of spinning illusions in a Greek temple in a football stadium are done. The One is dancing on the edge of one term.

The White House team is flailing—reacting, regrouping, retrenching. It’s repugnant.

After pushing and shoving and caving to get on TV, the president’s advisers immediately began warning that the long-yearned-for jobs speech wasn’t going to be that awe-inspiring.

“The issue isn’t the size or the newness of the ideas,” one said. “It’s less the substance than how he says it, whether he seizes the moment.”

The arc of justice is stuck at the top of a mountain. Maybe Obama was not even the person he was waiting for.

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LA writes:

Dowd said: “Polls show that most Americans still like and trust the president; but they may no longer have faith that he’s a smarty-pants who can fix the economy.”I’ve never understood how anyone could go on liking this unpleasant, supercilious man, this machine-like liar who blames all his problems on others. One could say that in his pre-candidacy and candidacy days, he had a likeable personality; can anyone say of that of him since he became president?

Alexis Zarkov writes:

I must have slipped into an alternate reality—Maureen Dowd now sounds like Sean Hannity. She even copies his “The One.” Am I still on planet earth? I think we’re seeing an example of the “wounded rabbit syndrome.” For those who might not be familiar with this arcane phrase, I got it from taking a Perry Course on Public Speaking, circa 1976 provided for free by my employer. Perry warns speakers not to appear weak and hurt, otherwise you risk having your audience pounce on you. People don’t like losers. They like people who seem in control of themselves and a situation. Obama has become a wounded rabbit and his loyal fans in the press are now pouncing. I predicted this nearly a year ago when I posted the following at another website.

Today Fox commentators are the most public of Obama’s critics. The other networks are much more muted, but as Obama and the Democrats weaken, ABC, NBC, CNN and CBS will start to pound him. The so-called “wounded rabbit syndrome.”

I have to admit that I didn’t expect the Times’ columnists to turn on him so viciously. But people hate losers and that’s what Obama looks like. His speech on jobs next Thursday had better have some real substance to it. It had better be more than borrow or print money and spend it to increase aggregate demand. That won’t fly. He runs the risk of having his previously loyal fans will attack him like mad dogs. What can he propose that would be different? How about protective tariffs? Now that would create a real storm.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 04, 2011 02:14 PM | Send

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