For the radicals grew suspicious of me,
And the conservatives were never sure of me—
And here I lie, unwept of all.
So ends the self-written epitaph of George Trimble, a fictional character in Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. I was reminded of this poem, a sobering glimpse into the fate of the consummate politician, after reading two commentaries this morning.
One is by the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan, who addresses a sea change in “President Obama’s relationship with those who are inclined not to like his policies.” She writes:
They are now inclined not to like him….
What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who’s not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it’s his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it’s a big fault.
The key contributing factors in this growing disenchantment, Noonan suggests, are Obama’s “accommodation” to religious institutions forced by government fiat to finance birth control, his clumsy open-mic moment with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, his arguably inadequate and ill-chosen comments on the death of Trayvon Martin, and most recently
the Supreme Court arguments on ObamaCare, which have made that law look so hollow, so careless, that it amounts to a characterological indictment of the administration. The constitutional law professor from the University of Chicago didn’t notice the centerpiece of his agenda was not constitutional? How did that happen?
In the interests of fairness, one might take exception with Noonan’s premature conclusion that the high court will find the health care law unconstitutional, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking on her part. She is after all a conservative.
Which seems like a fitting transition into the second article, which was penned by as non-conservative a commentator as you are apt to find. The author is Huffington Post doyenne Ariana Huffington, who observes, “As the seemingly endless GOP nomination fight grinds on, it’s becoming clearer who President Obama’s most formidable opponent is likely to be: himself.”
Huffington proceeds to offer up a tale of two Obamas:
Campaign Obama, who has a phenomenal ability to inspire and challenge a broken status quo. This is the Obama who said he was going to change the way Washington works and who promised to not ‘just read the polls and figure out how to keep myself in office.’ This Obama wasn’t going to accept the conventional wisdom of what was possible; instead, he was going to reject the ‘worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.’
But then there’s Governing Obama. This is the Obama who, instead of taking his case to the nation, let the parameters of what was considered possible (on infrastructure investment, on jobs, on foreclosures, on austerity vs. growth, on Afghanistan) be decided by… worn-out dogmas. This is the Obama who rightly insisted on the need for health care for all, but who engineered a new system that, overall, relies on and rewards the same players—insurance companies, hospital conglomerates, drug manufacturers—who created and profited from the mess he inherited.
In the space of the commentary, Huffington predictably shares her view that Obama has not gone far enough in fulfilling his radical agenda, but she also seems to believe that the damage to the Obama brand, though extensive, may not be irreversible:
To that effect, today we’re launching a series of videos that will try to call attention to the contradictions…. This first one takes on the idea, often put forth by various members of the Obama camp, that every compromise, capitulation, and seeming surrender to the ‘worn-out dogmas’ of Washington are, in fact, just a brilliant strategy that we don’t yet understand. Maybe it’s better if I just let Obama’s chief strategist explain….
The videos are meant to be satire. An optimistic liberal could claim they are tough love. An optimistic conservative will see this as the first loose thread in an unraveling dream that has become a national nightmare.
- Team Obama on the likely demise of ObamaCare: Be afraid; be very afraid
- Obama was against an individual health care mandate before he was for it (Video)
- The spin doctors handicap the effect of the Supreme Court ruling on the election
- Another black teen, another fatal shooting, a different conversation
- With lawyers like Donald Verrilli, ObamaCare supporters need no enemy
- The dumbest arguments in re SCOTUS’s ObamaCare ruling
- 900-pound gorilla: Obama campaign’s new touchy-feely approach to ObamaCare
- Trayvon Martin and the politics of racial identity
- Trayvon’s ‘grieving’ mom seeks to trademark phrase ‘Justice for Trayvon’
- New Black Panther party places $10K bounty on George Zimmerman’s head
- The problem with vigilante justice is you can never get enough of it
- Poll on role of religion in Americans’ lives bad news for Obama
- WH spokeswoman cites ‘98 percenters’ in defense of contraception rule
- Has Obama at last become the one they’ve been waiting for?
- Paging candidate Everyman
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