Is it the Beginning of the End for Obama?

June 4, 2010

On the campaign trail, Obama was portrayed as a moderate, willing to extend the olive branch of bipartisanship. Then he became known for his views on the redistribution of wealth, revealing himself to be a liberal. Next, he was branded a socialist. But was he ever thought to be scandal-ridden and incompetent? Not until now.

In a time where Obama would do well to seem calm, collected, and in charge after a knock-down, drag-out fight over healthcare, the chinks in his armor are beginning to show.

BP and Barack: A Love Story

Despite what Ken Salazar, Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, has said about keeping a “boot on the neck” of BP, Obama’s actual dealings with BP seem to indicate otherwise. In fact, out of all of BP’s contributions to federal candidates, the President ranks #1 among its recipients. I suppose this conflict of interest might make it more difficult for him to apply pressure with that size 13 1/2 heel. Oh, why do we always hurt the ones we love?

His hesitance to do anything at all in the midst of this crisis (besides hang out with the Duke basketball team and Bill Clinton) bears a strong resemblance to the left’s caricature of a supposedly uncaring President Bush in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. However, while Bush only took a mere four days to physically arrive at the scene, Obama’s arrival to Louisiana took nearly two weeks.

Is it a lack of compassion? Is it incompetence? What is it that keeps Obama at the point of being so stupefied? At any rate, something needs to happen before James Carville blows a gasket over this.

I’ll Have Mine Chicago-style, Please

At press time, there are two scandals on the horizon where the White House has dangled the carrot of federal jobs to Democrats in primary races for political reasons. Apparently, Obama didn’t learn much from the Blago scandal, but I suppose the Chicago culture is so ingrained in the mindset of the White House that it’s difficult to resist.

The first case involves Joe Sestak, a Democrat who challenged and prevailed over the Obama-backed Arlen Specter in the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania. Supposedly, the White House via Bill Clinton offered Sestak the position of Secretary of the Navy if he would drop out of the race. He probably should’ve taken it, considering that he could still lose to Pat Toomey in November.

The second instance involves Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff being offered an unknown position if he would drop his challenge to Senator Michael Bennet. Apparently, it’s pretty lucrative to challenge sitting Democratic congressmen in the primaries. Are there any other positions open that you’d like to tell us about, Mr. President?

From FDR and JFK to Carter and Nixon?

Obama was supposed to be a legendary president in the mold of FDR and JFK. After all, BHO does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Instead, he has taken up the policies of Carter with the transparency of Nixon. Will “I’m not an ideologue” become the next “I am not a crook”?

In record time, Obama’s presidency has taken a turn for the worse. Between a massive oil spill (resulting from a rig that won a Safety Award from his administration) and two back room deals, will the Obama administration survive politically until 2012? Some don’t think so.

This November could simply be the last nail in the coffin for his hopes of a two-term presidency unless he significantly alters course.

Article first published as Is it the Beginning of the End for Obama? on Blogcritics.

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Obama the Delusional

January 26, 2010

In 2008, Barack Obama ran as many politicians do, with the “I’m on your side, let’s stick it to the man” campaign rhetoric. After 8 years of a generally unpopular president, Americans were sympathetic, believing that Obama’s Alinsky-inspired “hope” and “change” themes were genuine. And to Obama, perhaps they were. But like so many celebrities and superstars, he bought into his own hype. Now, “hope” and “change” are themes that can be associated with the deliverance from Obama’s policies.

The first evidence of Obama’s ignorance to the opposition to him was when he made little, if any acknowledgement of the tea party demonstrations that took place across the country. The organic uprising of ordinary Americans across the country requesting fiscal sanity was simply written off as “astroturf” instead of “grass roots.”

When November rolled around, Democrats suffered major losses in two major governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey. Obama’s press secretary Robert Gibbs claimed that the president was not “watching returns.”

After Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, Obama responded by saying: “Here’s my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts but the mood around the country: The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into offices. People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years but what’s happened over the last eight years.” Let’s break down Obama’s assessment. He claims that American voters chose him, a liberal candidate bent on changing the Republican/Bush establishment, then decided they wanted to elect a Republican in one of the more liberal states in the nation because they were sick of the last eight years. How does that begin to make sense?

Surely, Americans are dissatisfied with the status quo, but the status quo is not George W. Bush and the Republicans anymore. It is Barack Obama with a Democrat-controlled congress, a congress that may not be Democratic for much longer.

Recently, Congressman Marion Berry from Arkansas declared that he would not seek re-election. He said he had tried to warn Obama about the upcoming 2010 election, saying that it could be a repeat of 1994, when the Democrats lost both Houses of Congress. Obama replied saying “Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.” Is it arrogance that leads Obama to this conclusion, or is it that he has become delusional?

Maybe Obama was right. Perhaps he truly convinced Americans to “stick it to the man.” The only problem is that he is now “the man.”


The Democratic Party: Do They Not Understand What’s Happening?

January 22, 2010

In November of last year, many Democrats downplayed the gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey. Ever the optimist, Nancy Pelosi even pointed to the Democratic victory in NY-23 as proof that the night of November 3rd was really a triumph for the Democrats instead of a rejection of Obama’s policies. Conventional wisdom among the DNC, reinforced by most polls at the time, supported the idea that Ted Kennedy’s seat would be safely held in the liberal hands  of Martha Coakley. But they were wrong then…and they’re wrong now.

As hesitant as they may be to listen to their sworn enemies at Fox News like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, the Democratic party would do well to pay attention to the advice they have to offer: watch out because the Obama agenda is not popular right now. But yet, the liberal Democrats say he’s not liberal enough. Some moderate and conservative Democrats seem to understand what’s going on, but some still think they can pass a reduced health care bill, essentially a “Diet ObamaCare,” (less fat, but it still leaves a bad taste in your mouth) in order to appease the public.

Remember how Chris Matthews gushed over Obama, talking about a thrill running up his leg whenever he heard him talk? But now, observe this discussion between Chris Matthews & Howard Dean.

In case you’re wondering, I’m loving every minute of this.

And on top of it all, the Democrats want to raise the ceiling on the national debt by $1.8 trillion. When Clinton lost both Houses of Congress in 1994, he moved towards the center and passed wellfare reform and balanced the budget. It appears that the times have changed.

So what’s going on with the Democratic party these days? Have they lost their minds? I understand that the Scott Brown victory has left many of them hysterical, but I can’t say I expected them to react with such lunacy.

My theory is that the euphoria surrounding the Obama victory in 2008 left them starry-eyed and full of unfounded optimism. Finally, they had put forth a formidable candidate that had prevailed after eight long years of George W. Bush. Never mind the fact that John McCain was the absolute worst candidate for the Republican party since Bob Dole. The honeymoon could only last so long.

With a supermajority in Congress and a Democratic president, there should have been no problem passing through some of the legislation that they had always dreamed of, including universal healthcare, the holy grail of the Democratic party. But between the stimulus, the omnibus, the bailouts, cap and trade, and a bloated, expensive healthcare bill, Americans had had enough.

Of course, in spite of recent victories, the GOP still faces an uphill battle considering that they are 9 seats away from breaking even with the Democrats in the Senate, not to mention an even larger deficit in the House. Fortunately, most polls support what those recent victories have already indicated: a wave of conservativism sweeping the country. Harry Reid has been consistently behind his potential GOP challengers. Pat Toomey is currently leading Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania by as much as 9 points. Barbara Boxer is facing a possibly significant challenge in California. Blunt is ahead of Carnahan in Missouri. The GOP candidate for Senate also leads in Ohio and North Dakota. But if Brown’s victory in Massachusetts has taught us anything, polls can change.

However, the fact remains: there’s trouble brewing for the DNC. The possibility of losing the House and Senate looms in their future. All this talk of a Democratic party in decline brings to mind a few buzzwords of the 2008 election: Hope and Change.


Analysis of the Scott Brown Victory in MA

January 20, 2010

Could anyone have ever dreamed of a more unusual scenario? The seat held by Ted Kennedy for over 40 years has now been replaced by a Republican in Massachusetts.

The Stage was Set

Let’s rewind to 1994. In the midst of a surge sweeping across the nation against the Democratic majority after a Clinton victory in 1992, in Massachusetts, a man named Mitt Romney dared to challenge the lion of the Senate himself: Ted Kennedy. But while Romney managed to lose by the second smallest margin in Kennedy’s nine elections, the score was a 17-point difference: 58 to 41.

By 2004, Romney was governor of Massachusetts. In an effort to avoid a Romney-chosen senator should Senator John Kerry win the White House, the Democratic majority of the Massachusetts state senate passed legislation that would keep the governor from being able to appoint a U.S. Senator until a special election was held.

But in 2009, with a Democratic governor in place, the Democrats reversed the legislation to allow a Democrat to be appointed to replace Ted Kennedy after he died. Before his death, Kennedy had even requested the reversal himself. After Kennedy’s death, Paul Kirk was appointed to replace him. The seat remained in the hands of the Democratic party.

On November 3rd of that year, GOP candidates Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie won the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, respectively. Both states had Democratic governors.

That same month in Massachusetts, Democratic candidate Martha Coakley led Republican Scott Brown by as much as 31 points. The Kennedy family endorsed Coakley to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat. At that point, it appeared obvious that the seat will continue to be in Democratic control.  After all, in Massachusetts, Democrats outnumber Republicans by as much as 3 to 1. But independents outnumber Democrats in the Bay State. And the hypocrisy of the Democratic party had worn down the respect of their constituents.

The Meteoric Rise of Scott Brown

Through a series of gaffes by Coakley herself, Scott Brown began to rise. Coakley’s numbers started to drop. Whether it was the pointless sparring with Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling or the arrogant and elitist opposition to schmoozing with hockey fans at Fenway Park, Coakley couldn’t seem to keep her mouth shut. If that wasn’t bad enough, her claim that terrorists no longer reside in Afghanistan certainly didn’t buy her any foreign policy points.

But in spite of Coakley’s best efforts to sink her own campaign, it still seemed unlikely that a Republican would be the one to replace Ted Kennedy. However, in early January, a Rasmussen poll revealed that Coakley’s lead narrowed to a single digit margin, albeit a 9 point margin.

In a debate with Coakley, Brown was asked how he could sit in Ted Kennedy’s seat and vote against the healthcare legislation that Kennedy had fought so hard for in his career. Brown responded, “With all due respect, it is not Ted Kennedy’s seat. It is not the Democrats’ seat. It is the people’s seat.”

For some reason, the wind was suddenly at Brown’s back. Perhaps even to the surprise of some Republicans, Brown was gaining momentum. Rasmussen’s next poll had him losing by only 2 points. A Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll had him up by 1. Coakley’s lead was vanishing before her very eyes. In the latter polls of the campaign, it was fully erased, replaced by as much as a 15 point margin of victory for Brown according to PJM/CrossTarget.

On the night of January 19th, Coakley delivered her concession speech. Brown had won 52 to 47.

Is Brown the New Face of the GOP?

Perhaps it’s a bit early to say that Brown is the face for the GOP brand. Typically, Republicans require dues to be paid before its leaders are rewarded with a  higher status. It took Ronald Reagan several years to become a major voice in the party, having lost to Ford in 1976 before winning the nomination in 1980. But if there’s one politician whose own meteoric rise could provide Brown a pathway for an early entry into the presidential fray, it would be none other than Barack Obama.

Obama was  still a state senator in Illinois back in 2004 when he delivered the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention. He was elected as a U.S. Senator later that year. By February 2007, he had declared himself a candidate for the White House.

Brown was also a state senator when he won his U.S. Senate seat. While it may seem the least bit unlikely, Brown could very well be among the names floated for the 2012 GOP nomination.

But even if Brown did find himself amidst the field of candidates in the GOP primary, he would probably not win the support of many social conservatives. While Brown remains to the right of most Democrats on abortion, he is still essentially pro-choice. This would prove to be a rather difficult hurdle to overcome should Brown have loftier aspirations.

An Unusual Victory, A Glimmer of Hope

To say that Brown’s victory is historic would be an understatement. The Bay State has not had a Republican U.S. senator since 1978. Kennedy’s seat hasn’t been held by a Republican since 1952.

If he is seated soon, Scott Brown will bring a screeching halt to the Democratic supermajority in the U.S. Senate, thus being the one man who can dissolve the liberal dream of Obamacare.

It seems evident that there is a trend in America towards the right. A trend towards smaller government. A trend towards fiscal responsibility. A trend against runaway spending. A trend towards transparency in government.

Last night, the people of Massachusetts spoke to the nation about the kind of government they want. If this type of sentiment is displayed there, in the bluest of blue states, it will not end with them.

Finally, it seems that America may be correcting its course.