By David J Beilstein
Radio talk show personality Andy Dean said on his show late last week, that Pres. Barack Obama’s contemplation of unilateral action against Syria, then deciding against it, only to seek congressional authorisation first, was another brilliant political move from the raptor-armed Commander in Chief.
But such an assessment could not have been further from the truth.
As the Syrian situation unfolds in its full weight and implications, Obama seems to be digging his political grave more vigorously than ever. Recent statements by Obama, which indicate he might be backing off his bombast, foster the idea he is aware of his errors.
But oppositional fear the other side — meaning leftists and Pres. Obama — are simply brilliant and out-punching the opposition— us on the right — is nothing new in American politics.
It is, as they say, a typical response.
Conservatives, libertarians — Republicans, too — always seem to credit political opponents on the left — especially when those on the American right are electorally down for the count — with Machiavellian political skills, unable to be defeated.
It’s an understandable assessment.
And it springs from the Clinton era when the 42nd President routinely outgunned and outclassed Republican opposition, not only winning reelection in 1996, but leaving office in January of 2000 with the same kind of accolades as Pres. Ronald Reagan did in January, 1989, but boasting of surpluses instead of deficits — a booming economy, peace abroad, etc. — and stability achieved.
But Pres. Barack Obama is no William Jefferson Clinton. Nor could he carry Ronald Reagan’s jockstrap. Not in communicative fervor, nor in political skill, or footwork.
To many another classical liberal, Pres. Clinton was a disaster ideologically — and I agree, but what is important to comprehend immediately is that Clinton was anything but a disaster, politically.
And that difference is important.
While a few missteps early on, threw a negative light on the Clinton administration, by 1994 — following the Republican victory in the House and Senate — the Clinton White House regrouped, honed it’s message; at the same time, the economy began to grow and expand due to new technological advancements and innovations.
And earlier missteps in contrast to the Reagan-Bush stability, (I’m thinking about Waco, Somalia, etc.) soon dissipated — and an aura of competence and presidential air soon enraptured Clinton and his administration.
To be sure, Pres. Clinton’s clownish and sophomoric piggishness went largely uncovered by the American press — but then again, what goes unreported goes unreported.
Conversely, Pres. Obama has been successful on two different election eves, but outside of those two dates in early November, he has walked shakily from one slip and fall collapse into another.
While Governor Clinton did reap the harvest of a steep recession in 1992, it was his communicative vision, articulated beautifully by the way, which won him the Oval Office chair.
Pres. Clinton’s mastery of congressional operations; his ability to flood a room with his pomp and likeability are all absent in Pres. Obama. Numerous reports of Pres. Obama’s fellow Democrat’s unimpressed and disliking him run rampant in Washington, D.C.
Obama is absent any feel for the sociability of the presidency, its need of woo and charm, riding a wave of press core obsequiousness that defies rationality.
Pres. Bill Clinton, in contrast, revelled in the social life of the presidency, which is an uncontested part of the job — as much as speaking from the Oval Office at the commencement of a military operation involving U.S. forces.
Clinton, in a political sense, was the man. There once was a story, often told, that then Pres. Bill Clinton decided to go golfing. A typical, presidential hobby. Across the fairway another group of golfers putted away under a bright sun.
Clinton asked an aid to follow him over to greet the fellow golfers. The aid informed Clinton, with marked discomfort, that two of the men golfing did not much care for the 42nd President. Clinton did not back off — not even close. Instead, Clinton, his W.C. Fields’ nose reddish, walked over to those two men golfing and was laughing with them and enveloped in friendly chatter less than twenty-minutes later.
Pres. Barack Obama could not pull off such a feat; neither could former Pres. George Herbert Walker Bush. Though, it has been reported George W. Bush could; and did. And it has also been said, so could former Pres. Ronald Reagan.
Bill Clinton beat Republicans because of his natural endowments; his talent and moxie. Same is true of Reagan. But Barack Obama beat Republicans because — on average, especially those running for president — were atrocious politicians whose political platform had been thoroughly discredited.
With slack-jawed candidates, and the implosion of the G.O.P’s reputation (at least in terms of voter perception), Barack Obama’s victories become more understandable.
Few presidents have ever ruined their approval rating by a domestic agenda. Obama did by shoving down the throat of the American voter ObamaCare. Fewer president’s who are elected overwhelmingly with the goodwill of the American people trash that good faith, and subsequently, create a rabid new political entity which wins wide support among the people such as the Tea Party and a rebirth of libertarian political action.
And let us not forget, the victory of Barack Obama in 2012 was largely due to the theme of the election communicated with finger-waving certainty by Clinton, and Romney’s fealty to a legalistic determination (in contrast to the Democratic Party’s campaign) to run a campaign completely impoverished of ideological intensity.
For Pres. Clinton, once the realities of the presidency sunk in he became immensely practical and pragmatic — realising what exactly the average American needed to experience policy-wise in order to instill confidence in his leadership.
And so, I must disagree with Andy Dean — much as it pains me.
I do not think Barack Obama’s quick-footed change of mind to lash out and strike Syria, then turn around and seek congressional approval was some sort of magical twist of the wand. No, I think it was a ghastly error — which was not unlike a left and right cross, knocking Obama’s slim ass into the corner against the ropes. As has been said before, fighting off the ropes is a specific skill-set — for boxers as well as politicians.
Few do it well. Fewer still, score knockouts off the ropes.
We could say Lincoln, Reagan, Clinton, T.R., and F.D.R., sure. But the political ring ropes were not always beneficial to those cats either. And Barack Obama, despite whatever horse manure the press writes and opines, is not anywhere near a million miles of those illustrious politicians, disagree or agree with their ideology.
Obama is, I’m afraid, a rank amateur. I am myself nothing more than an opinion-maker — a “high yella” libertarian. I say afraid because it gives my mind no joy, nor is it good for the country to brag about the President of the United States being over his head in the deep-end of the community pool. And it is not good for our nation Obama lingers disrobed and out of shape, under the lights, against an opponent (reality) there is no reason to believe he is prepared to beat.
Obama never did his roadwork; skipped his gym and sparring sessions, and the presidency can be as unforgiving upon an untrained individual as the boxing ring is to the under-trained pugilist.