One of the main reasons I disagree with my co-blogger — not to mention an apparently emerging media consensus— about the president’s prospects for 2012 is that a year hence he can no longer duplicate the formula which served him so well just shy of three years ago.
A charismatic man with a powerful presence, a winning smile and a mellifluous baritone, he could fire a crowd up with his voice, taking a nothing speech and making it seem profound, save to those who read the words after. Hope and change worked in 2008 because people wanted change. And Americans believed that this newcomer could effect the kinds of changes they wanted.
Unlike the then-incumbent president, he spoke well. He hadn’t been in Washington very long and didn’t seem part of the establishment that, they believed, needed altering. But, instead of diverting the Potomac to clean out the Augean Stables which lines its banks, he brought in more straw to feed the horses who had made the place such a mess.
The “net spending cut” he promised “throughout” campaign has become instead an exponential spending increasey. Even his allies and ideological confrères have excoriated him for his recent budget proposal, with one calling it a a ‘Profile in Cowardice.’ Unlike his two most recent predecessors, he hasn’t even made an effort to reform entitlements which account for bulk of the outpouring of red ink from Washington.
He simply hasn’t been the change agent he promised to be. He isn’t the new kind of post partisan politician presented to us in the presidential campaign. Indeed, as Jennifer Rubin reminds us, his tone this week at bi-partisan gathering of governors was “sharper and more overtly political.”
Commenting on a piece on how the president resembles 1980s General Motors CEO Roger Smith, Michael Barone suggests the president has deployed that rhetoric to defend the current order:
. . . in his posture toward labor unions and the costs they impose, Obama today is following the same strategy that Smith did at CEO: trying to preserve an unsustainable status quo by throwing money at it. Smith propelled his company toward bankruptcy.
Trying to “preserve an unsustainable status quo”. Doesn’t sound much like change to me.