Skip to comments.Obama's First Year and Buyer's Remorse
Posted on 11/26/2009 9:48:22 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
Obama's First Year and Buyer's Remorse
By Amir Taheri
Remember the designer accessory you bought with so much passion? And, what about the gadget that set you dreaming about boundless possibilities? Well, if you do remember such things you would also recall the sense of regret that set in soon after you acquired the coveted objects.
In marketing parlance, that sense of regret is known as "buyer's remorse", the feeling that what we have acquired with enthusiasm is not so hot after all.
In a recent tour of the United States to promote my new book, I gained the impression that this was the feeling of a growing number of Americans with regard to their new president. Even some of those who, only a year ago, would have lynched me with their regards in retaliation for an unkind remark about "Obama, the Saviour" are now either not quite so sure or outright hostile. In Florida, I found myself in a role unimaginable a few months ago as someone who at least tries to understand, though not to justify, why President Barack Obama cannot do everything he had promised to do.
"No use defending him," a repentant Obamaist lashed back when I told him that the now not so new president could not force Israel and the Palestinians to create two states before he leaves office. "If he can't do it, where is the difference that he promised?" the disgruntled Obamaist snapped back.-
There is ample anecdotal evidence that America's honeymoon with Obama has been the shortest in recent US presidential history.
In a haircut salon, all the talk is about the president's alleged failure to develop a credible health-care plan.
In the bookshop, the complaint is about Obama's alleged weakness in curbing the appetite of Wall Street "fat cats", who seem to be back with their old tricks.
A chance acquaintance on a jetliner is angry with Obama because the president has not yet closed the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.
And journalist friends are aghast at Obama's decision to have Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the self-confessed Al Qaeda terror mastermind and four of his most obnoxious associates, treated as ordinary criminals and put on trial in an ordinary civil court in New York, a state which has abolished the death penalty.
A series of opinion polls confirm the anecdotal evidence about buyer's remorse as applied to Obama.
He now suffers from the lowest job approval rating of any US president at this period in his term. If the current trends continue, by next January when he marks the end of his first year in the White House, Obama could become the most unpopular president in US history.
Buyer's remorse with regard to Obama is interesting for a number of reasons.
To start with, it is not related to what he has really done but to what people expected of him and he failed to do.
In fact, a checklist could quickly establish that, compared to most of his recent predecessors, Obama has done very little. In most cases, he has continued the policies of the previous administration. In some areas of policy, the US is on autopilot.
A lawyer by training and lacking executive experience, Obama has turned out to be cautious to the point of inaction. Anxious to find the ever elusive ideal solution to all problems, and trying not to ruffle any feathers, Obama has appeared confused and indecisive.
On many issue he has tried to postpone decision-making by appointing special envoys and/or forming special commissions. The tactic resembles that of a driver who, not knowing where exactly he is heading, prefers to park the car and study the GPS, in the hope that in the end, he would not be required to go anywhere.
Obama's critics accuse him of intellectual laziness while his supporters complain that he is too much of a triangulator, a Clintonian term that means trying to please both the bride and the mother-in-law.
As you might know, I have never been an Obama enthusiast. However, I think it unfair to blame him for the current mood of buyer's remorse. Part of the blame must be assigned to the buyers themselves for their failure to examine the goods offered and, in some cases, reaching for the shelf blindfolded.
Then there is the fact that many people picked Obama because they wanted to feel good about themselves and the US in general. They wished to prove that they were not racist and that the US had moved beyond racial prejudices. Outside the US, many people warmed up to Obama simply because he was not George W Bush.
The problem, however, is that neither those who voted for him in the US nor those who admired him on other shores, have been prepared to lift a finger on the few occasions that he has tried to do anything. The Europeans love Obama well enough to honour him with the Nobel Peace Prize only11 days after he had entered the White House. But they are not prepared to give him the slightest concession on such issues as reforming the global financial system, re-launching the Doha round on trade liberalisation, and, in a smaller register, accepting his hometown of Chicago as the host of the 2014 Olympics.. Over 200,000 Germans gathered to adulate Obama when he visited Berlin before he had been elected. And, yet, like other Europeans, over 80 per cent of Germans are opposed to admitting a single Guantanamo Bay prisoner in order to help Obama.
The Russians praise Obama for having abandoned the anti-missile shield project in Poland and the Czech Republic but refuse to lift a finger to help advance his foreign policy objectives.
The Chinese unroll the red carpet for him but, when it comes to readjusting the value of the Yuan, forget that romanticism was ever invented.
The mullahs of Tehran grudgingly admit that Obama is no Bush and feel reassured about the olive branch he is waving. But when it comes to practical diplomacy, they are less flexible than ever.
The same is true of Israel and its Arab adversaries. My guess is that Israel will just try to sit Obama out, hoping he would be a one-term president. Most Arab powers, and the two wings of the Palestinian opinion, are equally ambivalent about Obama. Both listen to his polished speeches, delivered faultlessly thanks to teleprompters. But there is no evidence that either takes the new US president seriously.
Those familiar with American politics would know that one function of a US president is that of a punching bag. He is there to take the blame for the failures of society and the inability of the institutions, designed to seek an elusive consensus, to deliver the policies needed at any given time. Cynics might suggest that a US president is made only to be un-made. The only difference is in the pace at which a president is made and un-made. Obama was made in record time. He also risks being unmade in record time.
This is interesting, funny and sad. The line about checking the goods before buying is on point. Many moderates were all over themselves trying to suck up to 0, and are now “seeing the light”.
It does strike me as interesting the circles that the author travels in, namely liberal. What with the talk about the failure in Guantanamo and Health Care. Still, I like seeing stories about 0-bots angry at their boy.
While the article has some good point it fails to acknowledge one simple fact.
A super majority who voted for him, don’t understand politics, don’t know or care about anything else other than he is black and therefore will vote for him again and again for the same simple fact.
In a haircut salon, all the talk is about the president's alleged failure to develop a credible health-care plan.
It's called a barber shop where I come from. It's like walking into a locker room. Don't bring your daughter there doing your errands and haircut because the of the language.
I say, give me a number 2 buzz and then have great conversation with the barbers and peanut gallery waiting to get their cuts.
So much Hope so little Potential.
It’s too bad they’re all unhappy for the wrong reasons.
This to me says it all. Very revealing...I've been supportive of the tea parties; have attended a few; I contribute when I can but, I was in the trenches long before this muslim/marxist was elected. Informing by writing, sending documentation, and PROOF of what this guy was...to no avail. I've always been engaged and I resent the hell out of the 'newer', suddenly active people acting like they're saving the country along with the a**holes that have changed their minds about this monster. And all that needed to be done was reading, analyzing combined with critical thinking to avert this disaster. Very frustrating and infuriating as well. IF we get out of this...the population will go back into their lull and the next a**hole that comes along screaming "I'm a savior" will be elected again.
I predict that it will drop another 3 points after people finish the 4 day Thanksgiving holiday comparing notes with their families.
I think you are right on that.
I guessing that after the Christmas/New Years season they may have to lengthen the graph below 35%.
Among all non-blacks (asians, latinos, whites, and others) the approval rating is already below 35%.
Among the exceedingly racist US black population, Obama gets 95% of the votes, permanently. Ironically, the blacks are being economically slaughtered by the democrats.
His supporters do not want to understand who he really is.
They are afraid; but soon they will and they will see that he is capable of taking away everything dear to them. Especially their freedom.
It amazes me that Black voters overwhelmingly vote for the party that shackles them economically and also commits genocide against the unborn Black population.
The Republican Party fought a Civil War to liberate blacks from the slave holding democrat party.
150 years later, the democrat still enslave the blacks, a race traitor Uncle Tom like Obama to the contrary.
Well,all I can think of to say is that the slaughter is self inflicted.So life will continue to be tough for them.
Its a shame but OH WELL.
When we as a society eternally ricochet from candidate to candidate always hoping and too often believing that this time this man will produce the magic which will excuse us from our own willful dereliction of duty as citizens, the results are not only predictable but inevitable.
This quadrennial lusting after a political savior is fully in keeping with our human natures. But it does reflect well on us. It is an ignoble trait because it reveals us to be intellectually lazy and emotionally dependent. We were flimflamed by Obama not just because the media worked the crowd while he was on stage, we were taken in because we wanted to be taken in. We were vulnerable because we had not done our homework long before Barak Obama became a household tongue twister. Most of us have an inchoate understanding of our political process and a thoroughly distorted notion of constitutional governance. We have no well considered political philosophy so we seek not to evaluate policy but to judge the man. In the television age that rapidly deteriorates into a beauty contest.
In that televised beauty contest it is Katie Couric who controls the lighting, the camera angles, the editing, and the background music. Is it any wonder that conservative candidates get treated no better than Miss California? Is it any wonder that Barack Obama is literally treated as a Messiah? Is it any wonder that the best of Sarah Palin and the worst of Barack Obama are left on the cutting room floor?
Why do we yield the likes of Katie Couric power over ourselves? Why do we permit ourselves to be so deceived? Why do we want to be taken in by such a transparent siren as, "yes we can," or, "we are the one," when such bumper stickers are not intrinsically compelling, rather, by any objective test are simply mindless?
We are beaten on the one hand by the cynics who say, there is no difference among politicians, it matters not whom you vote for, they are all the same, and apathy, therefore, is the only rational reaction. It is the only way to save yourself from the liars. The only choice is not to choose otherwise you are participating in the sham and, God forbid, you will look foolish.
We are beaten on the other side by the mythmakers, both those who lionize and those who demonize. So Camelot was constructed around a psychotic and compulsive sex addict and a man who was addicted to psychotropic drugs. This myth was so firmly attached to the American psyche that literally no debauchery committed by his youngest brother would disillusion Massachusetts voters. It is folly to underestimate the power of the myth which idolizes an individual. That was why I posted so many times before the last election that Barack Obama had to be morally destroyed or the election was lost.
Equally, demonization myths are not to be underestimated. The mythmakers have denigrated Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, George W. Bush, Dan Quayle, and Sarah Palin, to mention some obvious examples, as stupid. Consider the myth that Richard Nixon is evil. This was well planted and nurtured long before he became president as a result of this politicking against communists in California and his association in the Alger Hiss affair. When Nixon was revealed to be as corrupt, but perhaps no more corrupt than Roosevelt, Kennedy, or Johnson who had recently preceded him in office, he could not escape the consequences for essentially the same acts which they had committed but for which they received no contemporaneous scrutiny and no adverse sanction.
We are beaten into the belief that our solution is in the person and not in the philosophy. We are beaten into the belief that we find truth by identifying the most trustworthy messenger. So if we believed Walter Cronkite we believed that the Vietnam war was lost. If we believed the successor to Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, we believed that George Bush cheated his way out of combat in Vietnam. If we believe those scientists that the media tells us we should believe, we are alarmed at global warming. If we are conditioned into accepting the truth of the message because we accept the trustworthiness of the messenger, we will accept the emotionally easy path of voting for the man and not the philosophy. We will be eternally seeking a Messiah and we will be eternally disillusioned.
By the way, we are not immune from this distemper here on Free Republic where one often reads that some opinion or another ought to be dismissed because the author of it is a liberal. This is the path of know nothingness , isolation, and minority status. This is the conservative world, our beliefs are the correct beliefs and they can stand scrutiny and challenge. To withdraw from the Fray is to commit our belief system to corruption, to a gradual death because we cannot correct ourselves. Is insupportable unless you believe that all conservatives are infallible all the time. It is not the man who brings us the truth but the truth which illuminates the man. No better example of this exists than the biography of Sarah Palin.
As long as we as a commonweal whore after the emotional release of surrender to a false Messiah, statists will have the advantage over us. Our commitment is to the principles of conservatism and not to an individual, not even Sarah Palin, not Glenn Beck, and not Rush Limbaugh. Our belief system is righteous and fully capable of meeting every test the left can throw at it. The one thing it cannot overcome is that folly which infects the rest of our culture.
Wait, last I heard, Bummer had fallen to only 70% with the black vote.
No ‘hockey stick’ on that graph!
If voting was required to be an informed decision that was made solely by the people who are net taxpayers, 0bama not only would not be in the White House, but there would be much better candidates from which to choose for president as well.
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