Skip to comments.Former Allies Turn on Obama Over His Failure to Deliver on Campaign Promises (The Australian)
Posted on 11/22/2009 11:15:22 PM PST by AmericanInTokyo
GAZING from the Great Wall of China last week, US President Barack Obama appeared to be making the most of one of the perks of White House occupancy -- a private guided tour of Asia's most spectacular tourist spot. White House aides exulted that choreographed pictures of this moment would make front pages around the world. Yet an experience Mr Obama declared to be magical turned sour as he returned home to a domestic revolt that is fanning Democratic unease.
It was not just that the US media have suddenly turned a lot more sceptical about a president with grand ambitions to reshape politics at home and abroad -- even one previously friendly newspaper noted dismissively: "Obama goes to China, brings home a T-shirt." Nor was the steady decline in the President's approval ratings -- which fell below 50 per cent for the first time in a Gallup poll last week -- the main cause of White House angst. Mr Obama remains more popular than Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton a year after their elections, and both presidents eventually cruised to second terms.
The real problem may be Mr Obama's friends -- or rather, those among his formerly most enthusiastic supporters who are now having second thoughts.
The doubters are suddenly stretching across a broad section of the Democratic Party's natural constituency. They include black congressional leaders upset by the sluggish economy; women and Hispanics appalled by concessions made to Republicans on healthcare; anti-war liberals depressed by the debate over troops for Afghanistan; and growing numbers of blue-collar workers continuing to lose jobs and homes.
Mr Obama's Asian adventure perceptibly increased the murmurings of dissent when he returned to Washington, having failed to exact public concessions from China on any major issue.
For most Americans, the most talked-about moment of the trip was not the Great Wall visit but his low bow to Emperor Akihito of Japan, which Mr Obama's right-wing critics assailed as "a spineless blunder" and very deferential.
While some commentators acknowledged that behind-the-scenes progress may have been made on North Korea, financial stability and human rights, even the pro-Obama New York Times noted in an editorial over the weekend that "the trip wasn't all that we had hoped it would be".
Nor have Mr Obama's domestic policies proved everything congressman John Conyers wanted. The prominent liberal black Democrat startled colleagues last week by launching a direct assault on Mr Obama's handling of healthcare reforms.
Asked last week whether Mr Obama had provided enough leadership on so divisive an issue, Mr Conyers responded tartly: "Of course not. Bowing down to every nutty right-wing proposal about healthcare is doing a disservice to the Barack Obama that I first met."
Tension over healthcare and what many Democratic legislators view as neglect of economic issues reached an unexpected breaking point when members of the congressional "black caucus" -- regarded as solid Obama loyalists -- rebelled over what they regarded as lack of economic support for the African-American community.
A vote on proposed financial reforms had to be shelved at the last minute as black caucus members threatened to oppose it as a protest against broader economic policy. The revolt came as new reports showed that one in seven Americans struggled to pay for food; that mortgage delinquencies continued to rise, with 2 million homeowners more than three months behind on payments; and that unemployment rose to 10.2 per cent last month.
While many Democrats remain loyal to Mr Obama -- and would rather blame former president George W. Bush for most of the US's ills -- there has been no escaping a growing sense of disappointment in liberal circles that a historic presidency is failing to deliver on its promises. Others are disturbed that the President's pledge to clean up Washington's "politics as usual" have dissolved in a familiar murk of cronyism and political patronage.
Susan Johnson, president of the American Foreign Service Association, noted the tradition of handing out ambassadorships as rewards for campaign donors had continued undiminished under Mr Obama, who has rewarded more than 40 key fundraisers with plum diplomatic jobs. "There is a bit of disappointment . . . because expectations were raised by the change theme of Obama's campaign," she said.
Perhaps most depressing for a small number of influential Washingtonians was the little-noticed resignation of Gregory Craig, Mr Obama's former White House counsel, who is widely believed in legal circles to have been made a scapegoat for the administration's difficulties in resolving the future of Guantanamo Bay.
Mr Craig was a key campaign aide to Mr Obama and played the role of senator John McCain in rehearsals for TV debates. Charged with implementing the President's instruction to close Guantanamo Bay, he fell foul of Mr Obama's aides, who had failed to anticipate the wave of public hostility to the prospect of al-Qa'ida inmates being shipped to US soil.
Elizabeth Drew, a presidential biographer and member of the Council on Foreign Relations, last week described the effective dumping of Mr Craig as "the shabbiest episode of Obama's presidency". Ms Drew blamed the "small Chicago crowd" that surrounds the President for undermining Mr Craig's position with a series of anonymous leaks suggesting that the lawyer was too close to human rights groups.
That kind of White House infighting is par for the course in most presidencies -- but Mr Obama was not supposed to be the kind of man who jettisons old friends at the first hint of trouble.
All this provides the Republicans with an unexpected propaganda bonanza. "We don't need to slam Obama -- his own folks are doing it for us," one gleeful conservative declared.
The Republicans' own divisions -- magnified now that Sarah Palin, the defeated vice-presidential candidate, is crossing the US with a new conservative manifesto -- are nonetheless going largely unexamined as the Democrats implode. Last week, Republican governors meeting in Texas talked of winning states due for mid-term elections next year.
The news is not all bad for Mr Obama: the US remains enchanted with his family, and many Democrat insiders are convinced the party's internal squabbling will melt away at the first hint of real economic recovery.
"Do Democrats have to worry about turnout and voter intensity? You bet," said leading pollster Peter Hart. "But it's nothing that lowering unemployment by two points can't solve."
More Asian Trip fallout.
Source: Australian press
I don’t see it yet. It will happen when a major 0 policy goes down in flames. If healthcare dies, as it should, then the floodgates will open. Until then, he will hang on.
it is the beginning of the beginning of the end
And I hope the dems in the House, Senate, State and local level go down as well.
Not to worry Liz, Obama has three years left and boy does this boy have talent, hell top that no problem.
Another one under the bus!
What did I miss?!
As far as I know the Republicans have been frozen out of anything dealing with health care.
All of the push back has been coming from the centrist Democraps.
Alrighty then, let’s work very hard to make Obamacare fail before it becomes law, for our own sakes as well as for the furtherment of a political downfall for 0BOWma.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been paying taxes, since I was a teenager, including SS and Medicare taxes when that came along and I am now 60........Baby boomers are the big losers in this deal.
In my humble opinion, of course.
I hear that. And yes, if 0-care goes down, it will open the floodgates. It will be an interesting spectacle.
They don’t expect it to go down. This is it for O. He already has his State of the Union address written in 09 as if this has passed...meaning - it will pass. They are cut throat and he will announce his healthcare win during his SOTU address.
The only time I got enchanted with his family was seeing Michelle in that black and red black-widow dress. Put me in a trance and scared the crap out of me. Can't wait for 2012 to dump this idiot "leader".
I suggest hundreds of thousands of us show up the day of the SOTU address. Clog the streets. Protest massively. Man major intersections surrounding the Capitol. We should make sure that the protest is the main event, not the annual party that the President and Congress have.
the US remains enchanted with his family,
and many Democrat insiders are convinced the party's internal squabbling will melt away at the first hint of real economic recovery.
Yeah...like all the girls are rushing out to buy "boob belts"
and all the guys are unemployed.
One point: Obamacare’s price tag is artifically decreased because it shifts a lot of the costs to the states, which will have no choice but to raise taxes to try to pay for these unfunded federal mandates.
Many of the states in the worst shape financially, with the least room to raise taxes, have Democratic governors. If those guys don’t step up and oppose Obamacare, opting instead to raise state taxes sky high, Obama will cause many more Corzine moments.
The problem I’m beginning to see is that these people do NOT care if they lose their seats. It’s far worse for them to fall out of favor with their party bosses than to get fired by their constituents.
Face it, there are better things in life than being a Congresscritter. Such as serving in lucrative positions on commissions, think tanks, lobbying groups, and on and on.
Pelosi is particularly known for controlling who gets those post-congressional opportunities.
If you vote against her, you can forget about working in Washington ever again. But if you vote with her, even if you lose your seat, who cares? She will see to it that you land in a cushy lifetime job in the political establishment somewhere.
So the power our founders gave us to hold our congresscritters accountable -— the power to “fire” them -— is practically empty now. They simply do not care about re-election.
If they bow down to the bosses, whether they win or lose re-election makes no difference. They will either become more powerful (more owed favors) if they win or they will be taken care of handsomely if they lose because they betrayed their constituents.
What concessions are those?
I don't see no concessions to nobody from this hard core communist gang.
“Of course not. Bowing down to every nutty right-wing proposal about healthcare is doing a disservice to the Barack Obama that I first met.”
The super corrupt John Conyers opens his mouth and spews out even more loony left bile. Hey Coyners, how is that sleazy wife of yours doing?
The point is, he is pissing people off all over the place. I have talked with some lib Dems (if you can imagine it) who are in fact fed up with him.
The health care bill should die because it is a big fat nothing of a bill. A trillion dollar boondoggle that helps neither rich nor poor nor anyone in between. If it gets passed it would be the best thing for conservatives AND socialists.
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