A Failing Presidency Viewed from the Left

Right From the Start

Three articles from three separate but each certifiably liberal sources spell out the primary reasons that President Barack Obama should be denied a second term. These articles define both the weaknesses of Mr. Obama’s agenda and the shortcomings of Mr. Obama’s leadership skills.

The first comes from the Des Moines Register, long serving publicist for the liberal wing of the Democrat Party:

“For the first time in 40 years, Iowa’s largest and most influential newspaper is backing a Republican for president.

“The Des Moines Register editorial board endorsed Mitt Romney Saturday night over his rival Barack Obama. The paper endorsed Obama in 2008. Citing Romney’s private sector experience and his ability to work across the aisle as governor, the paper decided him best to fix the nation’s problems.

“’Voters should give Mitt Romney a chance to correct the nation’s fiscal course and to implode the partisan gridlock that has shackled Washington and the rest of America – with the understanding that he would face the same assessment in four years if he does not succeed,’ the paper concluded.”

The editorial board was particularly critical of Mr. Obama’s highly partisan approach to governing and warned Mr. Romney not to fall into the same abyss.

But the harshest criticism was leveled at Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy:

“The president’s best efforts to resuscitate the stumbling economy have fallen short. Nothing indicates it would change with a second term in the White House,’ the paper wrote.”

That’s it. The best that Mr. Obama could do was insufficient. He simply was incapable of understanding the nature of the American economy and, therefore, the reasonable solutions to its downturn.

Next came an article from Richard Cohen of the Washington Post Writers Group, another historical ally of the left wing of Democrat Party. Mr. Cohen wrote:

One of the more melancholy moments of the presidential campaign occurred for me in a screening room. The film was Rory Kennedy’s documentary about her mother, Ethel — the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. Much of it consisted of Kennedy-family home movies, but also film of RFK in Appalachia and in Mississippi among the pitifully emaciated poor. Kennedy brimmed with shock and indignation, with sorrow and sympathy, and was determined — you could see it on his face — to do something about it. I’ve never seen that look on Barack Obama’s face.

“Instead, I see a failure to embrace all sorts of people, even members of Congress and the business community. I see diffidence, a reluctance to close. I see a president for whom Afghanistan is not just a war but a metaphor for his approach to politics: He approved a surge but also an exit date. Heads I win, tails you lose.”

Mr. Cohen continued:

“History was draped over Obama like a cape. His bona fides in that sense were as unimpeachable as Bobby Kennedy’s. The crowd adored Obama, although not as much as I think he adored himself. Liberals were intolerant of anyone who had doubts. Obama was not a man, but a totem.”

“On the movie screen, Robert F. Kennedy’s appeal is obvious: authenticity. He cared. He showed it. People saw that and cared about him in return. With Obama, the process is reversed. It’s hard to care about someone who seems not to care in return.”

And finally, a Tuesday article by Lori Hinnant of the Associated Press, a news service that has routinely trumpeted Mr. Obama for his promises and buried criticism of his failures. This is an article that unwittingly foretells the future of Mr. Obama’s economic policies which are indistinguishable from those of the French, Greeks, Italians or Spanish:

France’s Socialist government can keep its promises to make the country, and Europe, more competitive in the global marketplace by proceeding slowly and carefully, President Francois Hollande said.

“Many economist say France could be running out of time. Geographically and economically between Germany and Spain, France has allied with its northern neighbor to manage the Eurozone crises, but its huge state debts and chronic unemployment are making it look increasingly like struggling Spain.”

Mr. Hollande took a page out of Mr. Obama’s playbook by requesting a blue ribbon panel to provide a roadmap for recovery. But much like Mr. Obama who rejected the Simpson-Bowles report outright, Mr. Hollande rejected the panel’s recommendations:

“Holland then asked one of the country’s most respected businessmen, former Airbus chairman Louis Gallois, to spend months drawing up plans to make France more competitive. But as reports leaked over the past week about the report’s recommendations – rethinking the controversial 35-hour week, shifting some of the tax burden to workers, cutting public spending – the government swiftly distanced itself.”

And the conclusion of the article was a devastating indictment of the likelihood of beneficial change:

“Economists are doubtful about real labor reform under a Socialist government, saying they expect the competitiveness report from Gallois, due Nov. 5, to fall into the same dust gathering category as 40 other studies compiled over the past decade.

“’The rest of the world continues to finance the French economy,’ said Jean-Christophe Caffet, an economist for Natixis.

Markets are starting to take notice. Standard and Poor’s downgraded France’s largest bank BNP Paribas on Thursday and lowered expectations for 10 others. Citing high unemployment, lower domestic growth and the European recession.

“’ We’ve been in this kind of infernal machine for a long time,’ said Dussillol. ‘Certain economic systems are stable for years and then suddenly it falls apart.”

I have written this column, largely without comment on its substance, because criticism from those who espoused a person or program is usually more pointed and exacting than from those of us who warned against it from the beginning.