Second Term Malaise

Bored Obama

Often times the worst thing that can happen to any President is winning a second term, since most presidential second terms in American history have tended to be dismal.  Ann Althouse enumerates the ways in which Obama’s second term is off to a miserable start:

1. It’s been so bad that the media dropped their erstwhile foible of talking about everything that happens in terms of what it means for Obama. And here it is, the first lap of his new term, when there’s more reason than usual to talk about how things are working out for the President.

2. Obama made gun control his big issue leading into the new term. He tried so hard to deploy his speaking skills to channel the nation’s emotion after the Sandy Hook massacre, and in the end he couldn’t even wrangle all of the Democrats in the Senate, and he was reduced yesterday to surrounding himself with human vessels of tragedy and “a scowling Vice President Biden” and pronounce it “all in all…  a pretty shameful day for Washington.” The media offered weak support by describing him as passionately angry, but I watched the video and found it surprising dull. I couldn’t motivate myself to go over to my computer to blog about it last night. Obama knew he was going to lose. The theater of sympathy and outrage had gone on far too long, the show was a flop, and the leading man was obliged to take his curtain call.

3. North Korea apparently has a nuclear weapon and the nerve to use it (or to pose as if it does), and the new Secretary of State, the exceedingly dreary John Kerry, is sojourning in the general area nattering about global warming —  “the Foreign Minister and I agreed to raise the initiative above the level that it is today” — and meanwhile, back in the United States, it’s really cold.

4. Obama’s efforts to get some lightweight good press over basketball failed. His bracket was busted, and a cutesy photo-op produced an embarrassing video in which he went 2 for 22. That he could play basketball was an element of his legend, and now it’s that video that comes to mind when we think of Obama and basketball. Does he even have another sport? Golf? Golf, unlike basketball, never worked as an element of the Obama legend.

5. He shut off White House tours, presumably on the theory that it would spark outrage at the sequester (and those terrible Republicans), but that gesture clashed with his own fun in the White House. Ordinary kids had their field trips canceled, while Obama’s daughters got Justin Timberlake to come to the White
House and perform right in front of them. It was another of the many parties. Wasn’t Beyonce just there? And then she and Jay-Z went to Cuba, and, when criticized, Jay-Z put out a pissy rap tune that (I
think) insulted Obama.

Go here to read the rest.  It is quite possible that Obama will be recalled as an eight year President who was only able to accomplish any of his agenda during his first two years.  Obama has never been able to deal with Republicans at all, and his relationship even with Democrats in Congress has been rocky.  The country faces rather dire economic circumstances and the American people decided to reelect a King Log who will do nothing for the next four years.  The interesting thing about Obama is how bored he has always seemed to be by the actual business of being President.  This is a peculiar time in American history and having a President who I suspect really doesn’t care for the job, fits right in with the odd times in which we find ourselves.

11 Responses to Second Term Malaise

  • The country faces rather dire economic circumstances and the American people decided to reelect a King Log who will do nothing for the next four years.

    ???

    Do you mean…

  • Given what Obama has been able to “accomplish” in his first term, namely Obamacare, just his winning a second is a major success in that he is able to cement it. Let’s face it, Obamacare is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

    Although the gun control legislation failed to gain a filibuster-proof vote in the Senate, people like like Pat Toomey, Kelly Ayote, and Jeff Flake, who are not only key republicans, but hitherto reliable conservatives, did much of Obama’s bidding on the bill.

    Furthermore, you have conservative heart throb Marco Rubio spending practically all the political capital he has to crawl into bed with Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham, the worst elements of both parties, to advance this trainwreck of an immigration bill. Rubio is making the talk radio rounds making such an ass of himself trying to defend it that not even Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin, who normally waste no time shilling for Rubio, are willilng to circle the wagons for him on this.

    I would say that if you look at this through the lrnse of Obama’s Alinskyite mindset, his second term is off to a smashingly successful start.

  • “Let’s face it, Obamacare is here to stay for the foreseeable future.”

    And increasingly unpopular with the American people Greg, even before the onerous provisions kick in. Democrats in Congress are beginning to panic that Obamacare will be the nail in their coffin for the 2014 elections:

    http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/294501-baucus-warns-of-huge-train-wreck-in-obamacare-implementation

    “people like like Pat Toomey, Kelly Ayote, and Jeff Flake, who are not only key republicans, but hitherto reliable conservatives, did much of Obama’s bidding on the bill.”

    Ayotte and Flake both voted against the legislation, merely allowing it to come to the floor to be defeated. Toomey has sworn off any further efforts by him to get Toomey-Manchin passed in future.

    “to advance this trainwreck of an immigration bill.”

    Which, unless heavily amended, will never get through the House.

  • Do you think Obama really cares whether or not Obamacare is unpopular? It was unpopular when it was first signed and he still got reelected.

    Why even allow an undermining of the 2nd Amendment to get to the floor to begin with? The fact that Toomey is willing to allow his name to be attached that legislation is very telling in and of itself. Like I have said before, to see even the conservative wing of the GOP get its ass handed to it by a third rate thug like Obama is painful to watch.

  • “Do you think Obama really cares whether or not Obamacare is unpopular?”

    If it gives him a Congress totally controlled by Republicans the last two years in his term, yes I think he will care quite a bit.

    “Why even allow an undermining of the 2nd Amendment to get to the floor to begin with?”
    To hand Obama a major defeat and to get Democrats on record in an up or down vote that will come back to haunt some of them in 2014.

    “The fact that Toomey is willing to allow his name to be attached that legislation is very telling in and of itself.”
    It’s called a mistake Greg, something I suspect Toomey is telling himself now. Santorum’s suspicions that this guy might be politically inept and undependable are looking prescient.

    “Obama is painful to watch.”

    That is the most accurate part of your comment.

  • Obama lost the House, damned near lost the Senate, caused massive GOP victories many states in 2010 due in large part to Obamacare and was still unfazed. I don’t see his losing Congress next year, which is far from certain, to make him care about the unpopularity of Obamacare.

    What is it with you guys who refuse to understand who this guy is? You seem to want to think he is trying to be Bill Clinton, but is just doing a bad job. Nor do I think you want to realize just how much of an advance of left wing ideology as policy Obamacare really is.

  • “Obama lost the House, damned near lost the Senate, caused massive GOP victories many states in 2010 due in large part to Obamacare and was still unfazed.”

    Because he is a loser for the Democrats, and most Democrats have yet to figure out that Obama could care less about his party. The Republicans haven’t been stronger at the state level since the twenties and retained the House in 2012 in the teeth of Obama being reelected. Obama will leave the Republicans much stronger and the Democrats much weaker than when he was sworn in in 2009.

    ” I don’t see his losing Congress next year,”

    I certainly do. The House is already a lost cause for the Democrats and there are enough Democrats running to hold seats in red states that the Senate is very much in play. Without Obama on the ticket, the 2014 electorate is going to look far more like 2010 than 2012.

    “What is it with you guys who refuse to understand who this guy is?”

    A fairly run of the mill liberal Democrat who is the last gasp of traditional Democrat identity politics before the great shattering of the Democrat coalition. They who live by identity politics die by identity politics.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/04/19/fault_lines_loom_for_dominant_dem_majority_118029.html

    “realize just how much of an advance of left wing ideology as policy Obamacare really is.”

    It is only an advance if it proves popular, like Social Security. If anything Obamacare is more unpopular today than when it passed, and we have not yet seen the truly onerous features yet kick in.

  • What is it with you guys who refuse to understand who this guy is? You seem to want to think he is trying to be Bill Clinton, but is just doing a bad job. Nor do I think you want to realize just how much of an advance of left wing ideology as policy Obamacare really is.

    I suspect you are attributing to Obama a seriousness of purpose he lacks. An alternative hypothesis one might delineate is as follows:

    1. He has an understanding of American history derived from trade books written by the likes of Alan Brinkley, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Arthur Schlesinger &c.

    2. He has an understanding of American institutions derived from imbibing the work of academic grifters like Laurence Tribe.

    3. He has an understanding of economics and business derived from reading articles ca 1980 by liberal journalists about the auto industry and the oil industry.

    4. He has an understanding of the larger society derived from the tastes and prejudices and habits of the social circles in which he has moved all his life. The public tangles over contraception mandates and guns are the work of a man who just does not get his opposition and has not minimal respect for them due to social isolation. (Robert Bork had a similar assessment of John Paul Stevens, bar that Stevens is a pleasant and agreeable human being on a day-to-day basis).

    5. He reads memoranda and checks off canned options provided by his subordinates, adding some vague marginalia in the process (“we ought to be doing more of this”).

    6. He understands himself as a figure in a long narrative which includes other characters such as Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Earl Warren, &c.

    7. He makes a lot of gassy and self-referential speeches.

    He’s playing a role. He hardly knows policy from bingo and has done little or no serious thinking about normative questions. The leadership of the Democratic congressional caucus regard his utterances as so much white noise (recall Pelosi hitting the mute button on the phone and negotiating with Reid over details while Obama yammered). By all appearances, this man, a licensed attorney, has no manifest skills in the art of negotiation.

    Look at his previous employments. He was on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School for 12 years. He published not one scholarly article in that time. He was a specialist in constitutional law. The problem with that was identified by William Dyer: you can fake it teaching constitutional law, which you cannot in teaching commercial or tax law. Much of the time, he appears to have been assigned to teach boutique courses (“___ & the Law”). Per Richard Epstein, he did not attend faculty meetings or serve on committees. By some accounts, his student evaluations declined monotonically, as did his course attendance.

    You can call him “left wing” or whatever, but I submit to you a more precise description would be “shallow and conventional product of a particular subculture”. There’s hardly any there there, and never was.

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