Thanks to JLF’s John Hood for pointing me to a Weekly Standard cover piece about the president’s political skill, or lack thereof in the writer’s view. Writer Noemie Emery concludes that Mr. Obama’s political skill is overrated. I disagree. While the story is a superb summary and analysis of then candidate Obama and the voting coalition that propelled him to the White House, I see Mr. Obama as quite adept politically, at least up until the past year or so, when he went completely tone deaf to that coalition’s widespread rejection of his economic policies. For most of the first two years, however, he managed to continue Bush administration foreign policies — policies he and many of his supporters denounced during the 2008 campaign — without drawing much real scrutiny or criticism. And, he’s managed to continue pushing failed economic policies that are still cheered by many in the mainstream media. Based on the red-meat rhetoric he recently spouted to the faithful on his campaign stops in North Carolina, I’d say he has political skill. The question is, can rhetoric lead to a second term? And if it does, where will this country find itself? Here’s a sample from Emery’s piece that I find particularly enlightening:
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Good politicians are in sync with their times, understand them, and deal with their challenges. But Obama is at odds, and often at war, with his own. In an age when debt is a problem, he is a big spender; when government has to cut back, he wants to expand both its expense and its reach. Nothing that happens appears to deter him, not the massive pushback from the American people in the 2009 and 2010 elections; not the crisis in Europe, kicked off by the collapse of Greece’s finances in April 2010, which caused an austerity panic all over Europe, and should have driven home the most cogent of lessons: that exactly as he was trying to turn his country into a social democracy like those of old Europe, which the American left had long admired, the European social democracies had been forced to admit that their model could not be sustained.
The result is that Obama is now an outlier among the world’s leaders: the one head of a first world industrial nation who is not calling for cutbacks and thrift. In Britain, David Cameron plans cuts of $130 billion; in France, Nicolas Sarkozy raised the retirement age and has limited pensions. “We can’t finance our social model,” said the president of the European Council, facing the reality that longer life expectancy, a smaller work force, and regulations and policies that inhibit productivity have called a halt to an era of generous benefits. Obama alone is hopelessly enamored of the past.
The movement that claims pride in being leaderless is seeking to, well, oust its leader in Charlotte. I’ll leave it to you to determine how many wiggly fingers it takes to agree to a political coup.
Shope, 47, a Charlotte gem cutter, said Friday he has done nothing wrong and that he won’t quit. He accused a small group of about eight young people at the camp of being too radical and spreading “rhetoric and lies.”
The conflict reflects the movement’s struggle to remain inclusive and without a leader one month into the local offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, the protest that has spread across the country.
It also highlights the role of social media and the Web in the modern era of protests.
In expelling Shope, Occupy Charlotte asked him to relinquish his popular Facebook page and website, the group’s main outlets of communication.
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