To me, what is most startling about the phenomenon VDH and Mark describe is actually listening to the president stuttering and bumbling his way through that follow-up call to the NYTimes. (The recording can be heard by clicking on an MP3 link in this Times story.) It’s cringe-making stuff — the poor delivery, the claim that Bush is the real socialist and Obama the free-marketeer (does anyone actually believe Obama opposed, or would have opposed, the prescription-drug entitlement or nationalizing the banks? that he’d ever in a million years do anything but build on these statist policies, as he has been doing since day one?), the craven refusal to utter Bush’s name when the Times reporter asks the obvious follow-up question, the whopper about how he’s got so much to do the last thing he wanted to be concerned about was the market (from the guy who spent his career carping about “economic justice” and criticized the Warren Court for not being radical enough in economic matters), etc.
If Obama had haltingly spouted this nonsense off-the-cuff at a press conference, that would have been bad enough. But he (or someone) actually decided this would be a good call to make — and they had 90 minutes to think about what he was going to say. That’s not just bad, it’s scary bad.