Obama has so consistently blamed Republicans in recent months for not approving the free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama that it came as an utter surprise to his deputy press secretary, Josh Earnest, that he hasn’t sent them to Congress yet.
The fourth weakness is failure to come up with policies that address situations appropriately. Press briefings suggest that Obama next week will call for an extension of the payroll-tax holiday and of unemployment benefits. A case can be made for both, but neither has invigorated the economy yet.
We also hear that he may call for more infrastructure spending. But as the president himself told us, laughing, there aren’t actually any shovel-ready projects.
The New York Times reports he may call for “school repairs and retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency.” This sounds suspiciously like the weatherization program under which Seattle got $20 million and produced just 14 jobs.
Democrats have criticized Obama on the speech-scheduling flap. James Carville said he was “out of bounds.” Salon.com’s Cenk Uygur sensed “the audacity of weakness.” It reminds me of a phrase describing a character in the 1980s TV series Dallas — “blustering, opportunistic, craven and hopelessly ineffective all at once.”
— Michael Barone, senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor, and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. © 2011 the Washington Examiner