Skip to comments.Answering Jonathan Alterís Challenge ("why Barack Obama has been such a bad president?")
Posted on 08/26/2011 6:35:31 PM PDT by neverdem
“Tell me again why Barack Obama has been such a bad president?” Jonathan Alter writes in his column.
Alter tells us he’s not talking here about Obama as a tactician and communicator, and he’s not interested in hearing ad hominem attacks or about people’s generalized “disappointment.” (Neither am I.) He wants to know on a substantive basis why Obama should be judged to have failed so far.
In Alter’s words, “Your mission, Jim [or anyone else for that matter], should you decide to accept it, is to be specific and rational, not vague and visceral.”
Consider the mission accepted.
In one sense, the answer to the Alter challenge is obvious: Obama has failed by his own standards. It’s the Obama administration, not the RNC, that said if his stimulus package was passed unemployment would not exceed 8 percent. It’s Obama who joked there weren’t as many “shovel-ready” jobs as he thought.
It’s Obama who promised to cut the deficit in half. It’s Obama who said if we passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health care cost curve would go down rather than up. It’s Obama who promised us recovery and prosperity, hope and change. What we’ve gotten instead is the opposite.
What makes Alter’s challenge particularly delicious is during the Bush years he spoke out about the importance of a “reality-based” presidency (as opposed to a “faith-based” one). “They [Republicans] could end up winning in November by distorting the argument,” Alter said in 2006. “But on credibility and the facts, they’ve lost.”
With Alter’s devotion to credibility and facts in mind, let’s take an empirical, reality-based look at economic life in America during the Age of Obama:
* Under Obama’s stewardship, we have lost 2.2 million jobs (and 900,000 full-time jobs in the last four months alone). He is now on track to have the worst jobs record of any president in the modern era.
* The unemployment rate stands at 9.1 percent v. 7.8 percent the month Obama took office.
* July marked the 30th consecutive month in which the unemployment rate was above the 8 percent level, the highest since the Great Depression.
* Since May 2009 — roughly 14 weeks into the Obama administration — the unemployment rate has been above 10 percent during three months, above 9 percent during 22 months, and above 8 percent during two months.
* Chronic unemployment is worse than during the Great Depression.
* The youth employment rate is at the lowest level since records were first kept in 1948.
* The share of the eligible population holding a job has declined to the lowest level since the early 1980s.
* The housing crisis is worse than in the Great Depression. (Home values are worth roughly one-third less than they were five years ago.)
* The rate of economic growth under Obama has been only slightly higher than the 1930s, the decade of the Great Depression. From the first quarter of 2010 through the first quarter of 2011, we experienced five consecutive quarters of slowing growth. America’s GDP for the second quarter of this year was a sickly 1.0 percent; in the first quarter, it was 0.4 percent.
* Fiscal year 2011 will mark the third straight year with deficits in excess of $1 trillion. Prior to the Obama presidency, we had never experienced a deficit in excess of $1 trillion.
* During the Obama presidency, America has increased its debt by $4 trillion.
That is to say, Obama has achieved in two-and-a-half years what it took George W. Bush two full terms in office to achieve — and Obama, when he was running for president, slammed Bush’s record as being “unpatriotic.”
* America saw its credit rating downgraded for the first time in history under the Obama presidency.
* Consumer confidence has plunged to the lowest level since the Carter presidency.
* The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Obama’s watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.
* A record number of Americans now rely on the federal government’s food stamps program. More than 44.5 million Americans received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, a 12 percent increase from one year ago.
There is more that can be said, but you get the point.
What makes this record doubly horrifying is rapid growth is the norm after particularly deep recessions — but under Obama, our recovery has been historically weak. President Obama (and Alter) can blame his predecessor, the Tea Party, the Arab Spring, the Japanese tsunami, events in Europe, ATM machines and even athlete’s foot for his predicament. It doesn’t really matter, as even Obama conceded during the early months of his presidency, when he declared, “One nice thing about the situation I find myself in is that I will be held accountable.”
Indeed. Obama “owns” the economy, as both his senior aide David Plouffe and the chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, have said.
“If you lose a common ground of facts on which to move forward as a society, nobody can agree on anything, and you can’t pull together to solve problems,” Alter told Keith Olbermann during the Bush administration.
I agree. And it is on the common ground of facts that we can declare–in a calm, specific, reasonable, rational and empirical manner–Obama to be an utter failure.
Could be the cocaine.
And...Obama just plain sucks as President. One term..he is gone.
He hates freedom, he hates Western Civilization, he hates America.
haven’t even started on what a mess our foreign policy is
Alter’s exposure far exceeds his actual talent.
Even Jimmy Carter can now wear a T-shirt with his picture and the words “miss me yet?”. ;-)
WHY??? Simple. HE IS AN IDIOT!!! Where is the proof he was born an American? Why the cover up in Hawaii with his birth certificate? Where is his college records? Why did not one at law school even remember him? Where is his writings from law school? How did he come to the USA on a STUDENT VISA, depart months later on all paid flights around the world? Who paid for that? Where is ANYTHING that says the guy even exists on paper? Nothing. No records. No photos in college year books. College has refused to release anything about him. Nothing.
Hmmmm, I'm sure my local patriot T-shirt printing would love this one. Nice!
Obama’s Record Of Success
1. Showed once and for all that Keynesianism is a load of crap.
2. Proved community organizers really have no business in the White House.
3. Proved the Middle East really could get much worse.
4. Proved a weaker dollar does not produce jobs.
5. Proved Gold really will go to $2000 like Peter Schiff said
6. Proved Green Jobs are a sinkhole
7. Proved he really did mean to bankrupt the coal industry
8. Proved Obamacare would bankrupt the system (give it time, I’m just a little early on that one)
Nothing speaks power like success. I could go on and on, but dinner awaits.
He never actually intended to be a good President. He wanted to party and chill.
But he and his handlers did run a good con.
A true Manchurian Candidate. Mr. No One.
Because he was never a good anything before. When you pick a person with no measurable skills, who can only read a speech but can't follow through with or create plans; who has no documentable record of outstanding achievements...you have a person suitable for a training position, not a leadership position. And being our President is not a place for on-the-job training.
You do not take a two year hospital intern, no matter how well he might be able to smooze the patients, nurses, and other doctors, and make him the hospital administrator and expect the hospital to run smoothly and make a profit.
It never made any sense for this country to trust an untested, idealistic, inexperienced, community organizer to sit in the Oval Office and make decisions for the common good of the entire population of this complex, diverse country. The results of that faulty line of thinking are now seen.
Marxism updated, called something else to (easily) fool the public.
In Obama’s mind..he’s right on profile, maybe just a little tardy in turning the USA into a third world hell-hole.
Sadly, Alter will simply claim that nobody is willing to take up his challenge. This excellent article is headed straight for the memory hole.
It’s not Obama’s fault!
How can anybody expect that, between his partying and vacations and his permanent state of campaigning, and his pretending that he’s the king of the world, that he would find time to get anything important done? Signing documents and bills is something that doesn’t take him away from his other “presidential” duties, so he won’t mind signing bills once in a while, like Obamacare.
What good is being the president if he can’t enjoy it? And he needs to keep campaigning in order to insure 4 more years of great “presidenting” for the American people. His “job” isn’t finished if we’re still around.
Well said by the author. To his list I would add:
Our foreign policy is chaotic, aimless, feckless, and weak under the Obama administration. He's insulted our friends and strengthened our enemies. First he was going to close Gitmo, then he wasn't. He was going to get us out of Iraq, then he wasn't. He was going to fight in Libya, then he wasn't, and left it up to NATO. He was going to fight in Afghanistan, now he's drawing down troops. He lucked into finding bin Laden thanks to nine years work by the CIA, but didn't have the stones to prove we really got OBL. So we just have to take Obama's word. He's canceled numerous foreign trips to key allies. In short, we have no foreign policy under this administration.
He's essentially mailing in his presidency, which isn't a surprise considering that's what he did with all his previous jobs. The nation is rudderless and leaderless while we suffer through our second Great Depression. Yes, that's what this is, even if no one wants to use the word "depression." Main difference is that this time there's no dust bowl, and welfare and food stamps have replaced those long lines at 1930's era soup kitchens.
The press was the glue that held our politics together, by exposing it to the light of day. Their abrogation of this duty has collapsed our system.
Let's say your car was broken. A mechanic came to you, and saying, "I know what the problem is, and I know how to fix your car! Believe me!" You hired him. After several months, the car was even in a worse condition than when the mechanic started his job. Now, the fact is regardless the pre-existing condition of the car, the mechanic has not done the job he was hired to. Now, he might say, "Oh, it turned out the problem was worse than I thought!" Well, guess what! It seems he actually didn't know what he's talking about. Either he didn't know the severity of the problem was, or he knew but had no idea how to fix it. Either way, he lied. Any reason to keep him on the job, while there's another mechanic with a better record available?
I agree. The duty of the fourth estate in a democracy is to be a watch dog of government. They have failed miserably. Everything else followed from that failure.....
I frequently use it. This Great Recession, rooted in the subprime loan disater of bad debt, is almost a carbon copy of the Great Depression which had bad debt at its root too.
same reason that Nancy Pelosi is a commander of an aircraft carrier
same reason the Barney Franks isn't a Navy SEAL..
cause they don't have a clue as to what the job is about and how to even fake it.
Incompetence and resume fraud also come to mind. If TOFUS was in the private sector, he'd have been to human resources to collect his stuff and escorted off the property. He's going to be a national laughing stock and his freak fest supporters should just be ignored as the clown posse they are.
The lawyers finally figured out that the press, at high levels, could be bought. It irritates me to no end when I hear people, even on this site, state we elected our politicians and it’s our fault. The media decides, for the most part, who is electable and who isn’t. The Tea Party is our last, best hope. Hang the lawyers and the msm, as far as I’m concerned. Bill Shakespeare only got it half right, it would seem.
He truly believes America is “the Great Satan” .. that’s what his father taught him.
...hence the divot on jobs...
Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
R E S P E C T!
Obongo Bozo has no respect for America, American culture, American traditions or the American people!
He has disrespected everything American since long before he began his run for the Presidency.
He is unfit to be a garbage collector, much less President!
Is it 2012 yet?
“They [Republicans] could end up winning in November by distorting the argument, Alter said in 2006. But on credibility and the facts, theyve lost.
He knows Bamer is going to get creamed. After the landslide tossing this dweeb out this will be the spin.
Thanks for the ping!
His actual talent is as a dissembler, a circulator of roorbacks formulated by others, and as a dispenser of desinformatsiya.
He's a model Democratic journalist, in other words.
Your statement is weak, in that you appear to believe that their intention was one thing, but their result another. Instead, they may have actually succeeded admirably -- if you can get your mind around that.
It’s George Bush’s fault.
thanks neverdem, additional:
The way to defeat liberals is to NEVER ACCEPT THEIR PREMISE. Once you start arguing on their terms, you’ve lost.
That needs to be repeated and learned over and over.
The next question and the one I would like to ask of Alter is how could he and so many others be so insulated from reality and so WILLFULLY IGNORANT, just plain stupid, idiotic or whatever you want to call it as to think that such a creature as Barrack Hussein Obama would be anything other than a total disaster. These same pathetically deluded types seem to think they can watch MSNBC, a propaganda outlet so absurd as to make Al Sharpton a regular and get the truth whereas Fox News dispenses one hundred percent lies.
They either think “He’s Black, he’s a Democrat, what more do we need to know?”, or they agree with him that this country must be “fundamentally transformed” (destroyed).
I could give you several trillion reasons, but you would never understand, Jonathan.
No, I believe the intention and result were planned. Most of them come out of liberal schools of journalism. They are true believers, masquerading as neutral observers.
I agree. The duty of the fourth estate in a democracy is to be a watch dog of government. They have failed miserably. Everything else followed from that failure.....The press was the glue that held our politics together, by exposing it to the light of day. Their abrogation of this duty has collapsed our system.
No, the problem is thatThe wisest and most cautious of us all frequently gives credit to stories which he himself is afterwards both ashamed and astonished that he could possibly think of believing . . .The idea that "The press was the glue that held our politics together, by exposing it to the light of day" is one of Smith's "stories" which "The wisest and most cautious of us all . . . is afterwards both ashamed and astonished that he could possibly think of believing." It is a fable. First of all, it assumes that "the press" consists of competitive investigators who independently ferret out truth. It does not, and for a century and a half has not, been so constituted. Our problem is that we have a free but not an independent press. Wire services with names like The Associated Press, and United Press International, should make that excruciatingly obvious, and yet I overlooked it for an entire generation after I had realized that journalism wasn't objective and began looking for the reasons. We have an associated press, with the results which Adam Smith could easily have predicted:
It is acquired wisdom and experience only that teach incredulity,
and they very seldom teach it enough. - Adam Smith"People of the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or some contrivance to raise prices." - Adam SmithWire services unite journalism, and the result is that journalism is free to pursue its interest even when that conflicts with the public interest. And, considering that bad news (for the public) is good for journalism, the overlap between the public interest and the interest of journalism is shockingly slight. Many things - destructive fires, criminal activity, war . . . (the list is endless) interest the public (thereby serving the interests of journalism) but are inimical to the public interest. As I type, a tropical storm is moving up the East Coast - and journalism is working overtime. Is their interest being accurate about the prospective consequences of the storm, or is their interest in projecting the worst case scenario, thereby gripping the attention of the public?
The public interest lies in realistic information, whether that means there is a problem or not. The interest of the journalist is in crying "Wolf" - and then changing the subject when their worst case scenario fails to eventuate, and it generally does. That is child's play when you have the real "bully pulpit" of journalism unified behind you.
From the article: “ATM machines”
I consider anyone who uses that phrase not worth listening to; just like “PIN number”. I don’t care how good this guy’s point is (and it *is* good) he comes across as illiterate.