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?