It is proving increasingly difficult for this observer to determine for whom Barack Obama thinks he is serving as President. He has just completed an ‘economy’ speech that, after a nod to the shooting rampage at the D.C. Navy Yard, consisted mostly of complaints about Republicans. One report listed 5 separate attacks on the GOP during the speech. It seems evident that the Prez doesn’t see himself as U.S. President so much as President of U.S. Democrats only.
His handling of the ongoing debacle with Syria shows him in even more limited appeal mode: As no few on the Left are unwilling to stampede into killing Syrians (who seem to be doing that well enough without help) our Prez is here, leading an even smaller group. Honestly elected governors painting themselves into increasingly small, unpopular corners run substantial risks thereby; one risk demonstrated by the marching band’s major glancing behind and seeing that his band turned off at the last cross street, leaving him alone.
President Obama appears to believe that, if he but gets up and speaks his wishes, all will fall into line behind. There were signs of that during his campaigning and up through the passage of Obamacare. But since, it has become hard to flip on the TV without seeing the Presidential face, usually speaking. Familiarity in this case, has not bred respect. The President, instead of becoming Presidential upon inauguration, has only accelerated what seems full time or even overtime, campaign mode, interrupted only for rounds of golf or an international vacation. The accumulating impact of this is not leadership, it is not presenting a picture of the nation in good hands. And once presidential authority has been lost, its return requires a miracle, or close.
The Republicans, locked in battle against their own base, appear to want the same things that the President wants, in large case. They clamor against his spending but quietly continue to fund his programs, authorizing the continuation of the spending that they so deplore, on a quarterly basis. They too want to kill Syrians. A few Republicans are annoying their leaders by opposing these things; most seek safety in silence. They prattle against Obamacare but continue its funding. And they do not really press the NSA, IRS, Benghazi and other scandals du jour.
The President has divided his opposition into contending groups; he seems now to be doing the same to his own party. And simultaneously, quietly issuing regulations and executive orders that expand his control and diminish that of Congress. However, while the divisions weaken the rest of government, they also weaken the Executive by dividing his support. Perhaps that has something to do with the increasingly direct Federal enforcement we are seeing via EPA SWAT team raids to test water quality, the Attorney General’s lawsuits against Texas, Arizona and Louisiana to compel obedience on immigration and education policies and the proliferating governance by decree–er, executive order.
The most serious side of all this is, the country’s economic and financial condition demand the best possible leadership during these rocky times. Presidential jockeying and divisive politics via perpetual campaigning seem unlikely to deliver that. No more do the political jockeying and hypocrisy of the opposition. This is not a time for government by empty suits; it’s time for leaders whose idea of welfare is taken from the “...and provide for the general welfare” of Article 1 of the Constitution.