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Posted at 9:45 AM ET, 03/ 3/2011

An off-topic White House

By Jennifer Rubin

President Obama has been largely missing in action of late, ducking direct comments on Libya and issuing a statement only after the extension of the continuing resolution was passed. The Post reports:

Obama said in a statement that he would enlist Biden, White House Chief of Staff William M. Daley and budget director Jacob J. Lew to work with congressional leaders to hash out a long-term agreement.

"I'm pleased that Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together and passed a plan that will cut spending and keep the government running for the next two weeks. But we cannot keep doing business this way," Obama said after the Senate passed the two-week resolution. "Living with the threat of a shutdown every few weeks is not responsible, and it puts our economic progress in jeopardy."

It is, you see, a matter of priorities. He has found time to weigh in on the Wisconsin labor dispute, and yesterday he popped into the White House briefing rooms to give some perfunctory remarks on the murder of American airmen in Germany. Former White House press secretary Dana Perino remarked on Twitter last night that Obama really didn't have much to say. ("Highly unusual for a [president] to appear on camera without knowing more than first reports.")

Perhaps, as some suggested, the White House is still smarting from the poor presidential performance in the aftermath of the Christmas and Times Square bombing attempts. (You have to show your face, Mr. President!) Maybe it's an effort to shift attention away from the rotten reviews of his own budget, the collapse of the Senate Democrats' "don't cut a penny" stance and the administration's maddening inaction on Libya.

Ever since the lame-duck session and the much-praised speech at the Arizona memorial service, the White House has been adrift. A boring State of the Union address, a status quo budget, a muddled approach to the Middle East and some partisan jabbing (e.g. on Romneycare, on Wisconsin) are about all we've seen. Staff changes at the White House were supposed to usher in a more competent and politically moderate administration. It hasn't happened. (And sure enough, Obama's ratings are slumping again.)

One need only look at the White House's hide-and-go-seek approach to communications (duck on Libya, run for cover on the budget, pop out for unenlightening comments on the shooting in Germany) to sense that there's no overarching strategy for Obama here. Well, other than to get himself reelected.

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 3, 2011; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  Obama White House  
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Next: Thursday feature: A turn to lighter fare

Comments

(And sure enough, Obama's ratings are slumping again.)
**********************
I haven't been following Obama's approval ratings over the past few months, so I did a Google search after reading this, and I am not finding anything to support this.

Just looking at this website:
http://www.chrisweigant.com/opw/
The indication appears to be Obama gaining in January, and staying steady in February. I don't see evidence of any real slump in his support.

Perhaps this is just another of Jennifer's comments where she thinks something is true by virtue of her saying it.

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 3, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"---there's no overarching strategy for Obama here. Well, other than to get himself reelected"

As there's no overarching strategy* for the GOP,other than making Obama a one term president.

*Check out Mr. Roves comments on what the GOP strategy should be in the WSJ/OPINION section today.

Posted by: rcaruth | March 3, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

RCAR, Wouldn't it be fair to say that the GOP's overarching strategy is to reduce the deficit and debt and to get America back to something resembling fiscal sanity? They actually produced practically unheard of "real" cuts of $4 billion. And in April, Paul Ryan is almost certainly going to submit a budget that's going to address entitlements - which many believe is politically damaging.

One could also argue that the only way to substantially achieve these goals is to get Obama out of the WH.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | March 3, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Not long ago Rubin savaged Obama for being "overexposed". Now, she wields the hammer, borrowed from R. Marcus, to say he's "missing in action." Ladies, please make up your minds.

Posted by: BBear1 | March 3, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

RE said,"RCAR, "Wouldn't it be fair to say that the GOP's overarching strategy is to reduce the deficit and debt and to get America back to something resembling fiscal sanity?"

Unfortunately,nothing meaningful will happen with the economy until some very core issues about monetary policy are settled. There is a perpetual debate about these issues,but the debate is not happening at the political level,however,it is happening within the Fed,the administrative bureauocracy,and the economic punditocracy on a Daily basis. Let me refer you to an example:
http://blogs.forbes.com/jerrybowyer/2011/03/02/what-global-markets-say-about-u-s-default-risk/
Ritchie,go to http://www.realclearmarkets.com/ everday,and after a month or so,you will see the patterns of the "Real" debate.

Posted by: rcaruth | March 3, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Rasmussen has the strong approval/disapproval rating for Obama at -20% (and sliding). Gallup has Obama at 46% approval (and sliding).

Mustangs79, keep reading HufPo/Weigant's polls and telling yourself that everything is all right, that the American public didn't reject the liberal agenda in November, that the Democrats will hold the Senate and pick up seats in the House in 2012, that Obama, gosh darn it, really is a good leader. The more disillusioned the Left is, the better it will be for America.

Posted by: johnhiggins1990 | March 3, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Rubin is really losing her touch. Can she really level no better slam on the President than the pathetic line "President Obama has been largely missing in action of late"?

Here's a suggestion to Rubin. If you really want to land one on the President, pull a Mike Huckabee, and tell a bald-faced lie about what continent the President grew up on. Huckabee chose Africa -- for obvious reasons -- but you could do him one better and declare that President Obama grew up on the continent of Antarctica, which is why he feels the way he does about penguins. Come on Rubin, at least half of your readers would believe it. In a heartbeat.

Posted by: J_B_A | March 3, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The GOP says it's only goal is to get Obama out of there and get themselves back in. I take them at their word.

Republicans talk a great game, especially when out of power. The moment they get back in, they'll slash spending on things they don't like, and start more wars and blow trillions and trillions more on unnecessary weapons systems. Their rapacious corruption will be evident for all to see, they'll eventually lose, and the moment they are out of power they'll revert to being super-duper deficit worry warts. (And we *really mean it* this time.)

Posted by: member8 | March 3, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Mustangs79, keep reading HufPo/Weigant's polls and telling yourself that everything is all right, that the American public didn't reject the liberal agenda in November, that the Democrats will hold the Senate and pick up seats in the House in 2012, that Obama, gosh darn it, really is a good leader. The more disillusioned the Left is, the better it will be for America.
************************
I see, citing to polling you disagree with is now considered leftist. As for the rest, I didn't actually comment on any of that, so no response is needed.

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 3, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Ritchie E,
"RE said,"RCAR, "Wouldn't it be fair to say that the GOP's overarching strategy is to reduce the deficit and debt and to get America back to something resembling fiscal sanity?"

The answer is Unfortunately,No. The debate is one that neither politicians nor the electorate can paraphrase/articulate at this time. The debate is what to do about our money,do we continue to let it float?,or do we stabilize it somehow?. The idea of currency stability is at this time,like discussing an issue in a foreign language. To put it another way,Monetary Policy, as a concept, is in the same submerged state that Conservatism was when WFB Jr rose to the task of bringing it to the surface in the Fifties.
I have been debating Monetary Policy for forty years,and I have seen little glimmer in very few eyes. Rich,If I ask you to describe the EXACT mechanism by which our money has lost 90% of its purchasing power per unit since 1971, do your eyes glaze over?

Posted by: rcaruth | March 3, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Rich,last point for now,
I believe it is ricly ironic that the fact of life that is most crucial to most Americans/OUR MONEY AND ITS VALUE/,is conceptually very difficult for us to frame in terms of a political issue. Is our most important concept/characteristic as a nation,Freedom,or Denial/Denialability?

Posted by: rcaruth | March 3, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Wisconsin voters shows that just 39% favor weakening collective bargaining rights and 52% are opposed.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_state_surveys/wisconsin/wisconsin_poll_support_for_budget_cutting_not_for_weakening_collective_bargaining_rights

So basically it appears the Obama's words have turned the tide. And he did without landing on an aircraft carrier. But tell us again how you are going to beat him next year.

Posted by: eerock | March 3, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Member8 the only goal of the gop is to get Obama out of office? Why state a lie that even you don't believe. It makes you appear ignorant and not worth having a conversation with. I am disappointed in you. Rcaruth I do agree with you in spirit about our monetary policy and our purchasing power. Our purchasing power has been reduced by disgusting monetary policy and bad governing, it is not down by 90%. Purchasing power as is the value of the dollar is compared to the value of other currencies not the equally disgusting rising rate of inflation which occurs in many other nations as well.

Posted by: eddiehaskall | March 3, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

EDDIE H,
GD it,I said 90% SINCE 1971,that would indicate 2.025% inflation* per year AVERAGE since 1971,right here in the USA,you don't have to compare our currency to anything to understand the simple math. Comparing our currency to the "Value/Buying Power of other currencies/is part of the Inflation problem as a whole,we have no EXACT standard anymore. It is the same as if I sold you a 2000 Sq Foot Home,and when you moved in it was 1500 Sq Feet, because the measure changed in China since we closed.
*This is a very conservative Inflation Avg. since 1971.

Posted by: rcaruth | March 3, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Not long ago Rubin savaged Obama for being "overexposed". Now, she wields the hammer, borrowed from R. Marcus, to say he's "missing in action." Ladies, please make up your minds.

Posted by: BBear1
-----------------------
The two criticisms are not inconsistent. Obama is always in our face whenever we turn on the TV news. As I type this, he's on TV blathering about something. He makes several announcements or public appearances a day. No one would argue that the little fool is underexposed. The problem is that he offers no leadership at all internationally and votes "present" on our biggest domestic issue, the fiscal crisis. He's great at PR but ineffectual.

Posted by: eoniii | March 3, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Lay off President Waldo, if you look had enough, he'll always show up eventually...

http://jcrue.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/wheres-waldo-obama.jpg

Posted by: jcrue | March 3, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"If you really want to land one on the President ... tell a bald-faced lie about what continent the President grew up on"

Well, he didn't grow up on the continent of North America. And it shows.

Posted by: Jeroboam | March 3, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama simply can't come out against his "spiritual advisor"'s Middle Eastern buddy.

Trinity Church and Jeremiah Wright were well known admirers of Kaddafi. They sponsored trips with the loathsome Farrakhan to Libya in order to get to know this "misunderstood" thug. They routinely spotlighted his great works in Marxist caring which the evil Americans were trying to keep hidden from the world.

So now that this thug is gunning down his own citizens, well, it get a little ackward?

But have NO DOUBTS, when little Barry and his buddy, Jeremiah Wright, can fix blame on the proper villians, Tea Partiers or conservative Americans, then he will come out with guns blazing.

Posted by: LogicalSC | March 3, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse


(And sure enough, Obama's ratings are slumping again.)
**********************
I haven't been following Obama's approval ratings over the past few months, so I did a Google search after reading this, and I am not finding anything to support this.

Just looking at this website:
http://www.chrisweigant.com/opw/
The indication appears to be Obama gaining in January, and staying steady in February. I don't see evidence of any real slump in his support.

Perhaps this is just another of Jennifer's comments where she thinks something is true by virtue of her saying it.

Posted by: mustangs79
-----------------------------
Quinnipiac has an interesting poll out today. 52% of voters disapprove of Obama's policies, while only 42% approve:

* 41 percent like him personally and like his policies;
* 33 percent like him personally, but don't like his policies;
* 1 percent like his policies, but don't like him;
* 19 percent don't like him or his policies.

Posted by: eoniii | March 3, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Jeroboam posted: Well, he didn't grow up on the continent of North America. And it shows.
__________

Obviously you know nothing about North America, Jeroboam. That suggests that you are from another place -- perhaps a third world country. What third world country are you from, Jeroboam? Care to tell us?

Posted by: J_B_A | March 3, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A, Obama grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia, neither of which -- last time I looked at a map -- are in North America.

Posted by: eoniii | March 3, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

eoniii,

You make a good point, unless you agree that President Obama was still "growing up" at age 18, when he attended Oxidental College in Los Angeles. The bio -- which of course right wingers, lunatics that they are, deny -- is as follows:

After finishing high school in 1979, [President Obama] attended Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years, transferred to Columbia College in New York City (one of Columbia University's four undergraduate schools) for another two years, graduated from Columbia with a bachelor's degree in political science, and then (after a five-year interlude during which he traveled and worked as a community organizer) entered Harvard Law School in 1988 and graduated with a law degree in 1991.

Posted by: J_B_A | March 3, 2011 10:17 PM | Report abuse

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