Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Day the Magic Died

President Barack Obama has been losing luster for a while. It didn't help, for example, that he lectures us to "eat our peas" and then sneaks a smoke. The ostentatious "date nights" and vacations in the midst of 9.2 percent unemployment seemed a bit tone deaf. His performance yesterday, however, has called into question his vaunted intellect.  This is a milestone, not seen since Jimmy Carter's donned a cardigan and told us to turn off the Christmas lights because of our "malaise."

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank -- no friend of Republicans -- had these words about Obama's press conference yesterday, in which he managed to take a volatile stock market and drive it further south:

No matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a AAA country,” Obama said, as if comforting a child who had been teased by the class bully. . . .  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.

Bret Stephens was even more pointed in the Wall Street Journal, quoting Forrest Gump that Obama is a case study in:  "Stupid is as stupid does."

Much is made of the president's rhetorical gifts. This is the sort of thing that can be credited only by people who think that a command of English syntax is a mark of great intellectual distinction. Can anyone recall a memorable phrase from one of Mr. Obama's big speeches that didn't amount to cliché? As for the small speeches, such as the one we were kept waiting 50 minutes for yesterday, we get Triple-A bromides about America remaining a "Triple-A country." Which, when it comes to long-term sovereign debt, is precisely what we no longer are under Mr. Obama.

Then there is Mr. Obama as political tactician. He makes predictions that prove false. He makes promises he cannot honor. He raises expectations he cannot meet. He reneges on commitments made in private. He surrenders positions staked in public. He is absent from issues in which he has a duty to be involved. He is overbearing when he ought to be absent. 

It is now clear that Obama will not lead, even leftward, because he lacks the ability;  leadership is just not in his skill said.  Given the effect his rhetorical skills had on yesterday's stock market,  it is in nation's best interest that someone hide his teleprompter until it's time for the concession speech.

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