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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Obama's weak hand

By Jennifer Rubin

I agree with Maureen Dowd on virtually nothing. But now and then she meanders close to the mark. Dowd writes of President Obama's press conference yesterday:

Obama used to play poker in the Illinois Legislature, but it's hard to believe. First, he cried uncle to Republicans standing in the corner, holding their breath and turning blue. Then, in his White House press conference, he was defensive, a martyr for the middle class.

Well, it was faux martyr-dom, actually, because the Republicans were perfectly willing, demanding in fact, that the middle class be sheltered from a tax hike. Obama was actually a martyr on the altar of class warfare that has provided the fervor and the rhetoric for his party for decades.

What is accurate in Dowd's description, however, is the sense that this whole governing thing -- the public salesmanship, the deal making, the explaining -- is not Obama's strong suit. It was disturbing at some level to see him, rendered so hapless, frustrated and angry. So much for the "superior temperament" we kept hearing about during the campaign. As Dowd uncharitably put it, "There's an argument to be made for what the president did, but he doesn't look good doing it." In fact, many conservative pundits, think tankers, staffers and office holders think it's a bit pricey, but a fine deal. So to put it differently, there is an argument for conservatives to accept the deal, but little reason other than resignation to reality for liberals to do so.

Let's be honest here: a lot of being president is the aura of authority and the projection of strength and competence. Right now, does anyone on either end of the political spectrum think he's demonstrating those traits? Well, Dowd and Rubin sure don't, and that covers a pretty vast swatch of political territory.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 8, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Obama White House, President Obama, Taxes  
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The whole scene is quite remarkable.

Somehow or another, the democrats convinced themselves that the best way to get their agenda in place was to deceive the center to vote for them - BAIT AND SWTICH.

That is a fundamental "House of Cards" which has collapsed - and more deceptions and lies do not help. The democrats do not understand that.

The other thing: the liberal agenda is really a Coalition Agenda of the liberal special interest groups - blacks, hispanics, gays, womens, environmental etc. I suppose the democrats have a "high tax wing" which is so upset with the taxes too.

What is clear: there is little coherence or logic between the parts of the liberal agenda - they represent the individual interest groups. However, the individual groups rely on the whole for the votes to get their agenda put into place.

Somehow or another, the center of the political spectrum is not part of this coalition - they have slowly been pushed out.

The dynamic is clear - when there are a certain number of seats at the table - or a certain number of positions in government - the parts tend to divide up the seats among themselves - there is little room for anyone else to claim even one position because those are usually contested among the interest groups.

So, the "outsider" and "insider" dynamic is in full force - and the democrats have been purging their ranks for at least 20 years now.

Could Bill Clinton ever rise up in the democratic party TODAY ??? I wonder - and perhaps not.

The result now is that the whole thing is NOT working - the coalition can not work together - AND the coalition refuses to do what it has to in order to retain the center. The liberals already threw out the Blue Dogs last year - sacrificed them. Now they are all falling apart.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 8, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I have come to the conclusion that Obama is not a very good politician, whatever you think of his policy beliefs. I think we are seeing the results of hiring a very inexperienced individual as POTUS. And yes, I question whether he has the temperament to be president. He seems to get very angry very quickly when challenged and criticized.

Posted by: jmpickett | December 8, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I agree with jmpickett, but it is worse than that.

Obama is not a politician, he is not a leader, he is not an executive. He has NO executive experience, except his on-the-job experience IN THE WHITE HOUSE!

He “has a speech.” Can you say “big deal?” How about “So what?”

He will be colossal catastrophe for the Democratic Party and the nation.

Posted by: nvjma | December 8, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I do not doubt he is a smart and talented person. But I think a lot of people confused a sonorous speaking voice and smooth prepared speech delivery, with being an effective communicator and politician. Really, how COULD he be a good politician? He had so little executive experience, and not much time on the Hill at all.

And I don't buy that he is a great politician because Obamacare passed. The left had huge majorities, and it took a year+ of agony for it to just barely squeak by with no GOP support. he pretty much handed the ball off to the far left in Congress and a foodfight ensued.

Posted by: jmpickett | December 8, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"I do not doubt he is a smart and talented person."

Really? Is there any evidence for that assuredness? Oh yeah, I forgot. He went to Harvard. Q.E.D.

Posted by: Larry3435 | December 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Whenever the Dems trot out their "tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires" talking point, wouldn't you just once like to see a Republican challenge them? How many Dems in Congress (the Kennedy clan, John Kerry, Jane Harmon, Jay Rockefeller, Diane Feinstein) and their supporters (George Soros, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and pret near all of Hollywood) fit the bill? When the party that is always blasting "The Rich" is made up of so darn many of them, well, that is a bit rich.

Posted by: coffeetime | December 8, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse


The difference is that none of the people you mention actually pay income taxes, since all their income is from capital gains.

Posted by: Larry3435 | December 8, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"Right now, does anyone on either end of the political spectrum think he's demonstrating [leadership] traits?"

The spectrum of Obama/Gibbs/Jarret/Axelrod still think that Obama is great (and also David Brooks, but he doesn't really count).

Posted by: johnhiggins1990 | December 8, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

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