The Telegraph (UK): The End of the Road for Barack Obama?
A tip of the hat to our own John Cardillo for pointing this out to me this morning. An absolutely phenomenal piece of writing, and a brilliant assessment of what has gone wrong and why, from the folks across the pond at the Telegraph. A sampling:
A thrashing of the Democrats in the mid-terms would not necessarily be the beginning of the end for Mr Obama: Bill Clinton was re-elected two years after the Republicans swept the House and the Senate in November 1994. But Mr Clinton was an operator in a way Mr Obama patently is not. His lack of experience, his dependence on rhetoric rather than action, his disconnection from the lives of many millions of Americans all handicap him heavily. It is not about whose advice he is taking: it is about him grasping what is wrong with America, and finding the will to put it right. That wasted first year, however, is another boulder hanging from his neck: what is wrong needs time to put right. The country’s multi-trillion dollar debt is barely being addressed; and a country engaged in costly foreign wars has a President who seems obsessed with anything but foreign policy – as a disregarded Britain is beginning to realise.
There are lessons from the stumbling of Mr Obama for our own country as we approach a general election. Vacuous promises of change are hostages to fortune if they cannot be delivered upon to improve the living conditions of a people. The slickness of campaigning that comes from a combination of heavy funding and public relations expertise does not inevitably translate into an ability to govern. There is no point a nation’s having the audacity of hope unless it also has the sophistication and the will to turn it into action. As things stand, Barack Obama and America under his leadership do not.
I always enjoy reading the Brits’ perspective on American politics. To the British press, it seems that Barack Obama never had the lustre that he did here, and that they have been able to make more of a disinterested assessment of the goings on in Washington, D.C.
Now, in this piece, there are some parts with which I disagree. The Telegraph’s assessment of Fox News Channel being one of them:
“Obama’s big problem,” a senior Democrat told me, “is that four times as many people watch Fox News as watch CNN.” The Fox network is a remarkable cultural phenomenon which almost shocks those of us from a country where a technical rule of impartiality is applied in the broadcast media. With little rest, it pours out rage 24 hours a day: its message is of the construction of the socialist state, the hijacking of America by “progressives” who now dominate institutions, the indoctrination of children, the undermining of religion and the expropriation of public money for these nefarious projects. The public loves it, and it is manifestly stirring up political activism against Mr Obama, and also against those in the Republican Party who are not deemed conservatives.
I don’t see the “pouring out” of rage by Fox. Is Fox News Channel partisan? Of course. It doesn’t take a genius to see the perspective of folks like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. But Fox also goes a long way to provide a great perspective from the left. Juan Williams, for example, does an excellent job — and I absolutely love Bob Beckel. (Not in an Eric Massa congressional shower kind of way, but you get my point.)
The rage I see is coming from the left, and is fueled by the abject bias and hatred peddled by those at Fox News Channel’s various counterparts. Some of the rhetoric we’ve seen looks as though the left, through their mainstream media friends, are gathering tinder for a new Reichstag Fire. In fact, I touched upon that very point back in September, in a piece entitled “Gathering Tinder for a New Reichstag Fire.”
Another area where Simon Heffer gets it wrong is with his diagnosis of the “root of the problem” for the Obama administration:
The root of the problem seems to be the management of expectations. The magnificent campaign created the notion that Mr Obama could walk on water. Oddly enough, he can’t.
Sure, the ineffective management of expectations has something to do with the administration’s fall from populist grace, but the root of the problem lies in the ideas being advanced by Barack Obama and his flunkies. Liberalism is what is failing here, folks. Sure, Barack Obama is failing as well, but above and beyond anything else we are seeing that people just don’t want what they are selling. If the management of expectations was the reason behind the problems in this White House, explain the same problems they’re having at 10 Downing Street in London. It’s the ideas, folks, not the personalities.
I’ve been saying for a while now that the upcoming elections–in May, I think–in Britain will be a glimpse of what is to come on our own shores in November. Now, though, I’m not sure we really need a forecast from across the pond — the writing is on the wall.