I and others have noted for a long time now that Obama seems to be attempting to fulfill Jimmy Carter’s second term, complete with his own “malaise speech” debacle later this week. Is it not an incredible blunder to have put off this speech while the news get worse, thereby raising expectations he cannot fulfill? Does not his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard look a little bit like Carter’s retreat to Camp David to ponder what to do back in 1979?
It must really suck to be a “Progressive” right now. Obama has collapsed on the Bush tax cuts, the debt ceiling, expanded the war in Afghanistan, said “never mind” to his promise to close Gitmo, went to war against Libya without congressional authorization or UN resolution, and retracted several key environmental regulations while signaling that he will approve the Keystone pipeline. Progressives are starting to notice. The headline of Maureen Dowd’s column yesterday in the Times is probably just the tip of the iceberg: “One and Done?”
The leader who was once a luminescent, inspirational force is now just a guy in a really bad spot. . . 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. 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.
When you’ve lost. . . . well, you know the rest.
More interesting to me is Nation magazine columnist John Nichols, whom I sometimes find worth reading, who builds the pressure thus: “Obama Better Give One Hell of a Speech.” But this column is fairly jejune; what is interesting is the rage and contempt for Obama expressed in the comments section:
You are assuming that Obama has even a shred of credibility with working Americans. He does not. I will vote for any vaguely acceptable progressive (or Socialist) candidate. Otherwise, I will write-in “none of these clowns” . . .
John Nichols… you are FAR too intelligent to play this game!! obama is incapable of leading this nation. Does he have to destroy the party to wake you and tens of millions of his supporters? He capitulates every time to the extreme right and will continue to do so until he is out of office. When he allowed the FISA to go through, were you sleeping? When he had rick warren swear him in office, were you paying attention? obama constantly insults and ignores Democratic voters. We need to remove this piece of garbage in a PRIMARY!!! . . .
If Obama announced his resignation, now that would be “One Hell of a Speech”! Then, watch the stock markets rise by 25% in a week & the economy turns up…..of course, Biden must swear off the Obama-aid! . . .
I’ll have some more specific thoughts about the speech before and after it goes off, but in the meantime, a prediction. I suspect if the speech bombs as badly as I think it might, we may well see a reprise of what Ken Bode wrote of Jimmy Carter in The New Republic right after the “malaise” speech in 1979:
The past two weeks will be remembered as the period when President Carter packed it in, put the finishing touches on a failed presidency. . . It’s over for Jimmy Carter. He needed a new image, so he took the advice of his pollster, his ad man, and his wife and wound up immobilizing his own government, imperiling the American dollar on the international market, and looking more than ever like a crude, erratic, unstable amateur. . . The Carter administration has simply imploded, collapsed inwardly under the weight of its own incompetence.
The only thing missing now is the rabbit. Hmm, why is Hillary’s phone off the hook?