A word from Peter Wehner

The excellent Peter Wehner has responded to my post disputing his statement that “Barack Obama is Jimmy Carter without Camp David.” Pete writes:

I’ll take this opportunity to clarify what I was saying. My point about President Obama being Jimmy Carter without Camp David has to do with Mr. Obama being incompetent; I wasn’t arguing that he’s inconsequential.

To take these two categories in order. I’m not sure I could name a single area President Obama has been successful in–economic growth and job creation, dealing with long-term unemployment and the number of people leaving the labor market, health-care reform, the stimulus, our fiscal balance, reducing poverty and income inequality, outreach to the Arab and Islamic world, impeding Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Russian “reset,” America’s pivot to Asia and our relations with China, relations with our allies, transparency, reducing the influence of lobbyists and special-interest groups, decreasing political polarization and partisan divisions, and more. President Obama has been, by my lights, an across-the-board failure.

That said, there’s no question that Mr. Obama has been a consequential president. The damage he’s inflicted on our nation has been significant, comprehensive, and durable–including but not limited to the Affordable Care Act.

The degree to which we can unwind the disaster of the Obama era is unclear. I don’t for a moment underestimate the harm America’s 44th president has done to our nation. But on matters of sheer competence, I’ll stick with my assessment: Barack Obama is Jimmy Carter without Camp David.

One could, of course, say that Barack Obama is Jimmy Carter with the taking out of bin Laden and without the failed hostage rescue in Iran. But that would be too facile.

Pete makes a good case, and his distinction between competence and consequence is certainly valid. I thank him for engaging my post.