‘No drama’ Obama los­ing his cool

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Some­thing un­ex­pected hap­pened along the pres­i­dent’s breezy cruise to re-elec­tion. “No drama” Obama is sud­denly look­ing about as calm as Jerry Lewis in a French film, about as brave as Ted Kennedy af­ter an evening drive through Chap­paquid­dick. Wit­ness Team Obama’s re­cent pan­icky be­hav­ior.

Oba­ma­nomics anx­i­ety. The White House is reel­ing as its re­verse Mi­das touch to the econ­omy is be­ing ex­posed. Its own econ­o­mists ac­knowl­edge now that each job cre­ated or “saved” by the so-called “stim­u­lus” cost tax­pay­ers a whop­ping $278,000. This is still fan­ta­sy­land be­cause there are 1.9 mil­lion fewer jobs on record now than on the day the stim­u­lus was signed into law, but nonethe­less, the quiet pre-hol­i­day Fri­day night news dump of an an­nounce­ment re­veals the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s worry. Fed­eral Re­serve Chair­man Ben S. Bernanke ad­mit­ted last month that he’s clue­less why Amer­ica’s eco­nomic malaise con­tin­ues. Tax cheat and Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Ti­mothy F. Gei­th­ner, who called Pres­i­dent Obama’s bud­get “un­sus­tain­able,” wants to aban­don ship along with the rest of the “eco­nomic dream team” es­capees: Lawrence H. Sum­mers, Christina Romer and Aus­tan Gools­bee. Mean­while, the pres­i­dent, ap­par­ently be­liev­ing no news is good news, has put his fin­gers in his ears — “La la la, I can­not hear you” — and, at one point, can­celed his daily eco­nomic brief­ings.

Oba­macare waivers wild ride. That the White House would ex­empt its best friends from Oba­macare un­der­scores ev­ery­thing you need to know not only about the deeply flawed health care takeover it­self but also about the White House’s em­brace of crony­ism. Team Obama vig­or­ously de­fended those waivers right up un­til the mo­ment when po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency forced the pres­i­dent to wave them good­bye. About 1,400 “Get out of jail free” cards later, he thinks you will for­get that his union friends were ex­empted from the rules you must fol­low. Par­en­thet­i­cally, look for those waivers to re­turn qui­etly at some point un­der a new Obama Min­istry of Truth name. Per­haps in ac­cor­dance with the cre­ative eu­phemism the ad­min­is­tra­tion chose for its Libyan war, it will call them “ki­netic med­i­cal ac­tions.”

Afghanistan re­treat. The “war of ne­ces­sity” of 2008 has be­come the re­treat of po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency of 2012, timed oh so con­ve­niently for the eve of the elec­tion.

Re­ject­ing his own gen­er­als’ ad­vice is cer­tainly within a com­man­der in chief’s pre­rog­a­tive, but when the White House falsely claims that the with­drawal plan was of­fered by Gen. David H. Pe­traeus when it was not — ac­cord­ing to the tes­ti­mony of Marine Lt. Gen. John R. Allen — the White House re­veals its panic. What’s more, the trans­par­ent at­tempt to pla­cate Mr. Obama’s base among the anti-war left rather than reach out to mod­er­ates is ev­i­dence it­self of worry in the White House.

Panic at the pump. Gaso­line prices have more than dou­bled since Mr. Obama took of­fice. While claim­ing that in­creas­ing the oil sup­ply with new drilling won’t af­fect prices, Eco­nom­ics 101 be dammed the White House of­fers the win­dow-dress­ing mea­sure of tap­ping the Strate­gic Pe­tro­leum Re­serve, our emer­gency backup stock­pile. His re­lease of 30 mil­lion bar­rels is a frac­tion of the 200mil­lion-bar­rel an­nual short­fall his Gulf of Mex­ico drilling ban has caused.

The fu­til­ity of this ges­ture un­der­scores the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s po­lit­i­cal des­per­a­tion at least to be seen as do­ing some­thing.

Clumsy class war­fare. It’s never sur­pris­ing when lib­er­als seg­re­gate Amer­i­cans into classes for their own po­lit­i­cal gain.

That’s more or less their en­tire po­lit­i­cal strat­egy. Nudge a Demo­crat in his sleep, and he’s likely to say: “Tax the rich.” (Or maybe, “Bush’s fault.”) What is sur­pris­ing, how­ever, is how trans­par­ently des­per­ate Mr. Obama sounds try­ing to pull it off. “[I]f we choose to keep a tax break for cor­po­rate-jet own­ers then that means we’ve got to cut some kids off from get­ting a col­lege schol­ar­ship.” It’s a des­per­ate pres­i­dent in­deed who would have you be­lieve that suc­cess among some Amer­i­cans causes fail­ure for oth­ers. The pres­i­dent’s class-war­fare re­marks are, as Sen. Marco Ru­bio, Florida Repub­li­can, de­scribes, “more ap­pro­pri­ate for some left-wing strong­man than for the pres­i­dent of the United States.”

Biden boot buzz. The ru­mors that Team Obama will drop Vice Pres­i­dent Joseph R. Biden from the 2012 ticket in fa­vor of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are just that — ru­mors — and will go nowhere, but the in­ter­est­ing point is that they ex­ist at all.

Their ori­gin al­most cer­tainly lies within in­sider Demo­cratic cir­cles and re­veals two points: (1) no con­fi­dence in the gaffe­tas­tic vice pres­i­dent (and who can blame them?) and (2) worry that his pres­ence could doom the ticket. Ru­mors of vice pres­i­dents’ im­mi­nent de­par­tures are noth­ing new, but they never seem to swell around re-elec­tion shoo-ins.

The 2012 elec­tion may be the most con­se­quen­tial of our life­times, and it’s ob­vi­ously far too early to pre­dict its re­sults. But that’s the point. The White House has con­ceded the in­evitabil­ity fac­tor. The bloom is off the Obama rose, and Team Obama knows it.

Dr. Mil­ton R. Wolf is a board­cer­ti­fied di­ag­nos­tic ra­di­ol­o­gist and cousin of Pres­i­dent Obama. He blogs daily at Mil­tonWolf.com.

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