The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, October 01, 2015


Brett Stevens is unforgiving in his critique of Barack Obama when he writes:
Barack Obama told the U.N.’s General Assembly on Monday he’s concerned that “dangerous currents risk pulling us back into a darker, more disordered world.” It’s nice of the president to notice, just don’t expect him to do much about it.

Recall that it wasn’t long ago that Mr. Obama took a sunnier view of world affairs. The tide of war was receding. Al Qaeda was on a path to defeat. ISIS was “a jayvee team” in “Lakers uniforms.” Iraq was an Obama administration success story. Bashar Assad’s days were numbered. The Arab Spring was a rejoinder to, rather than an opportunity for, Islamist violence. The intervention in Libya was vindication for the “lead from behind” approach to intervention. The reset with Russia was a success, a position he maintained as late as September 2013. In Latin America, the “trend lines are good.”

“Overall,” as he told Tom Friedman in August 2014—shortly after ISIS had seized control of Mosul and as Vladimir Putin was muscling his way into eastern Ukraine—“I think there’s still cause for optimism.”

It’s a remarkable record of prediction. One hundred percent wrong. The professor president who loves to talk about teachable moments is himself unteachable. Why is that?
Stevens goes on to propose a variety of reasons for this president's inability to adapt, modify his behavior based on tangible results (or lack thereof), and respond in a more effective manner. But he misses one very important reason—Barack Obama's own party has done nothing to point out the failure of his approach and teach him a more effective path. In many ways, it is the Democratic party that has failed Barack Obama, just as Obama has failed this nation.

Obama will not listen to criticism from the GOP. He views Republicans as his ideological enemy and would never accede to any suggestion from them. But Democrat leaders just might have been able to penetrate his ideological wall and as a consequence, cause him to make better decisions, moderate his hyperpartisan and near lawless approaches to domestic issues, and craft a solid, realistic foreign strategy. But the Democrats have been lemmings, following Barack Obama over the cliffs, again and again. They have allowed this president to make grievous mistake after grievous mistake, supporting his most ill-considered initiatives (the Iran "deal" come to mind), and allowing him to ride roughshod over the Congress and the constitution.

Sure, during his first few years, it's understandable that the president's party would allow him great latitude, but as the economy festered, administration scandals mounted, and the result of ill-advised foreign policy became apparent, it was time for the adults in the Democratic party to take an inexperienced and ideological leader and privately reign him in. But they didn't.

The reasons for this are many:
  • poor and/or incompetent leadership in both the House and the Senate (when the Dems controlled both) who were too ideologically similar to Obama to see the disastrous consequences of his actions
  • a party that has moved dramatically left of center to the extent that some believe Obama is not left enough
  • a party that favors, above all things, big intrusive government at home and withdrawal abroad
  • a party that like Obama, has grown to be hyperpartisan, thereby rejecting the normal political give and take that gets things done.
In the end, Obama's failure is the Democrat's failure. His many, many failures have now become an embarrassment for the nation, and I would hope that the Dems care about that. Their dereliction of duty in not helping an inexperienced and doctrinaire president become of more effective leader will stain the party for years to come. The Dems have failed their president, and far more important, they have failed their country. I can only hope that they pay a political price for this failure. Hopefully, they'll learn an important lesson.

Then again, like Obama, the Dems may have 'evolved' to a point where they themselves are unteachable.