Mediaite’s Noah Rothman writes today that a panel of hand-wringers over at MSNBC commiserated this morning over the president’s rough couple of weeks. His most recent flub was his partisan attack on Republicans yesterday while most Americans, including the political class, were focused on the tragic killing of 12 innocent civilians at the Washington Navy Yard.
Host Andrea Mitchell started the conversation by observing glumly:
The White House has been significantly off point, it seems to me. The president coming out after this event with brief remarks about it, but then going into his criticisms of the Republicans over the economy on the fifth anniversary of the Lehman failure.
It doesn’t seem as though they have got their footing here, first on Syria, now on this.
NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd answered back with the observation “I think they wish they had yesterday back. They are not saying it but you can feel it.”
It’s hard to know if Todd is right because Obama has had so many unforced errors for which the average person would gladly take a mulligan (to use a term near and dear to the president) that they are too numerous to count. Each time he has waltzed away, moving on to the next distraction. Then again, Obama is no average joe. As he demonstrated yesterday — not only with his inauspicious remarks on the looming debt ceiling crisis but the lateness of the hour when his handlers officially announced that a scheduled evening of Latin pop music at the White House was off — he is utterly lacking in social awareness and common decency.
If his second term to date has shown anything, it has demonstrated what a petty, vindictive, and self-deluded man he is, as clueless about the art of friendly persuasion as he is about foreign affairs. If Obama were a tenth as good at presiding over a nation as he is at crafting straw man arguments, the country would be enjoying an era of unparalleled prosperity and good will.
A prime case in point was his accusation that GOP House members were holding the budget hostage against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In support of his claim, he delivered this gem (to applause):
[Obamacare] was an issue in last year’s election and the candidate who called for repeal lost.
The underlying myth — that the health care law is popular — is exposed most immediately by the results of a poll released today, which reveal that 51% of likely voters favor government shutdown until Congress cuts health care funding. If the president would rather use elections as a barometer of how much Americans love his health care reform law, he should remove his blinders and look back to the 2010 midterms. His party took a “shellacking” (his word), yielding control of the House, almost entirely because of the manner in which Obamacare was passed and its likely impact on the economy and the quality of health care.
The mention of that shellacking is noteworthy in that it signals the lone occasion when he seemed to notice the public’s reaction to his actions. But it loses all significance since, in its aftermath, he did absolutely nothing. There was no course correction, no effort to move more toward the center as his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton had done.
For Obama, all yesterdays are the same. So, sadly, are all his tomorrows.
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