Obama's inept performance

Thomas McClanahan:

What happened to the bright dreams, the hope and change? A year ago, fate handed President Obama one of the most tantalizing political opportunities in history.

His party enjoyed a blowout election. The Republicans were leaderless and devoid of ideas. The Democrats had hefty majorities in both houses of Congress. Obama had stratospheric approval ratings and the support of a nation profoundly fearful of the future.

And then he threw it all away. He outsourced chunks of his job to a left-wing congressional leadership that has learned nothing and forgotten nothing for the past 35 years.

What came next was one appalling legislative blob after another: the stimulus package that hasn’t stimulated, the cap-and-trade monster, the health care power-grab.

When Obama assumed office, he was still something of an enigma. Many asked: Who is this guy?

Well, now we know a lot more. The bottom line: He isn’t a good politician. Politics is an art, and Obama’s basic competence is highly suspect. He lacks the personal radar an effective politician must have — the instinct to know when you’re on solid ground and when you’re tilting at windmills. Obama has spent a year tilting at windmills.

The “art of the possible” isn’t static. With steady accomplishments, an effective leader can expand the zone of the possible. A winner draws new adherents, builds coalitions, acquires new strength for the next challenge.

For a weak leader, the opposite applies: His credibility shrinks, and so do the ranks of his followers. His ability to accomplish anything becomes doubtful.

This is the vicious circle that now ensnares Obama. He has succeeded mainly in uniting his opposition and dividing his own camp. House and Senate Democrats are openly sniping at one another. The hard left — Obama’s base — is writing him off as inept.

The sense of disarray was only reinforced by his State of the Union speech.

There is more.

This is an analysis that will be difficult for Obama supporters to argue with. His health care problems accelerated when he blew off the Republicans who were trying to come up with a bipartisan bill. He thought he did not have to compromise to get what he wanted but wound up having to buy the votes of several senators. This tainted the bill irrevocably for many voters. Other voters were already turned off by the cuts in service compounded by the increased costs for most people.

He saw pushing control freak government on health care and energy and expected all of us to pay the bill.

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