The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Now We Can See This Administration’s Warp and Woof


From this morning’s Jolt, which has gone to the . . . canines:

Nonsense, Mr. President. Americans Love Dogs.

Hey, remember throughout 2007 and 2008, when a bunch of us kept arguing that nothing Obama had done in his life was remotely as challenging as the presidency, and that he would be strikingly unprepared for the job’s daily hard decisions, complaints and criticism that comes with the territory?

I’m starting to wonder if the job is getting to him: “President Obama strayed from his prepared remarks at a Labor Day rally Monday to accused his opponents of talking about him “like a dog.” . . .

Man, so many punchlines, so little space — “his bark is worse than his bite,” “this dog has had its day,” “we’re on to his dog and pony show,” “he’s made a dog’s breakfast of the economy,” “this explains why he always acts like he ate his own homework,” “the White House has gone to the dogs,” he’s howling at the moon, something about a ruined carpet, we feel like a fire hydrant, chasing the mailman, we’re all dog-tired of him, and finally, who let this dog out? . . .

Aw, heck, I should have just gone straight to the pro, Jim Treacher: “Who’s a good president? Obama’s a good president, isn’t he? Yes he is! . . . I certainly wouldn’t compare Obama to a dog. Dogs are capable of learning.”

Ed Driscoll finds this John Podhoretz column prescient, and I think he’s on the right track: “Something weird happens when presidencies go wrong — presidents become incompetent at doing the things they were always able to do in their sleep, and their aides follow suit . . . When this president next week begins proposing expensive new measures to save us from a crisis he has just told us we are emerging from, he is going to compound the growing sense that he has no idea what he is doing or where to go to fix the mess. And he is going to convince many more people that the mess in which we are now mired is of a different order from the mess he inherited, and that it belongs to him and his party, and that somebody else is going to have to clean it up.”

There’s an interesting lesson in retrospect: From 2000 to 2008, many of us on the right spent a lot of time complaining about criticism of President George W. Bush that we thought was unfair, outlandish, unhinged, so bilious and incendiary that it damaged public discourse, etc. Yet President Bush himself rarely if ever complained, and ignored it, particularly through those rough final years from 2006 to 2008. There was never much evidence of a widespread public backlash against Michael Moore agit-prop at the multiplex, the assassination chic, the zombie-like “plastic turkey” myth thrown against Bush for years (seriously, how do you kill that thing?), the credulous reporting of a Bush IQ test hoax. The unfair criticism rarely got in the way of the American people’s steady disenchantment with Bush — weariness with Iraq, spending indistinguishable from most Democrats, well more than one too many scandals on Capitol Hill, a panned Supreme Court nominee, an inexplicable infatuation with amnesty, etc. Perhaps the American people don’t really care what partisans say about a president of the opposing party; they figure unfair, overwrought, and even hateful venom is par for the course.

If that’s the case . . . Attention 2012 candidates: wear a helmet.

Tags: Barack Obama


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