WSJ has two articles scathing of Obama, cashing in on the recent uproar around ‘ObamaCare’:
In contrast, there is joylessness in Mr. Obama. He is a scold, the “Yes we can!” mantra is shallow, and at any rate, it is about the coming to power of a man, and a political class, invested in its own sense of smarts and wisdom, and its right to alter the social contract of the land. In this view, the country had lost its way and the new leader and the political class arrayed around him will bring it back to the right path.
Thus the moment of crisis would become an opportunity to push through a political economy of redistribution and a foreign policy of American penance. The independent voters were the first to break ranks. They hadn’t underwritten this fundamental change in the American polity when they cast their votes for Mr. Obama.
American democracy has never been democracy by plebiscite, a process by which a leader is anointed, then the populace steps out of the way, and the anointed one puts his political program in place. In the American tradition, the “mandate of heaven” is gained and lost every day and people talk back to their leaders. They are not held in thrall by them. The leaders are not infallible or a breed apart. That way is the Third World way, the way it plays out in Arab and Latin American politics.
Those protesters in those town-hall meetings have served notice that Mr. Obama’s charismatic moment has passed. Once again, the belief in that American exception that set this nation apart from other lands is re-emerging. Health care is the tip of the iceberg. Beneath it is an unease with the way the verdict of the 2008 election was read by those who prevailed. It shall be seen whether the man swept into office in the moment of national panic will adjust to the nation’s recovery of its self-confidence.
Foud Ajami: Obama’s Summer of Discontent
William McGurn says Obama should save his Presidency by abandoning that whole ‘change’ thing:
Today the lesson that President Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress take from that 1994 defeat is that they need to avoid Mr. Clinton’s “mistakes.” Avoiding mistakes, however, is not a winning strategy. A far more productive strategy would be to embrace Mr. Clinton’s success, which was freeing himself from his party’s left and returning to the centrist themes he had campaigned on.
I have been amused to no end about the controversy surrounding Obama’s healthcare plan. Don’t get me wrong, I think Americans are seriously deluded for thinking their healthcare system is totally private, in some ways I actually think the ‘Socialized’ French system is more privatised and individualised:
French legislators also overcame insurance industry resistance by permitting the nation’s already existing insurers to administer its new healthcare funds. Private health insurers are also central to the system as supplemental insurers who cover patient expenses that are not paid for by Sécurité Sociale. Indeed, nearly 90 percent of the French population possesses such [private] coverage, making France home to a booming private health insurance market.
Americans seem to forget that all healthcare requires some element of government intervention, even theirs, and that America actually appears to have one of the worst public/private models out there. While I realise that pharmaceutical drugs could get a lot costlier for the rest of the world if America stops paying up, I don’t see why America should be so concerned about this fact. However, at least one good thing has come about as a result of all this: Discontent about Obama is being heard on issues beyond healthcare and on networks beyond FoxNews. This is a good thing for those of us worried about other items on his agenda such as the war in AfPak and the endless trillion-dollar bailouts.
I still think it is very likely that Obama will get a second term (even though Obama himself seems to disagree). While it is true that Bill Clinton is the only Democrat since FDR elected to a second-term, and that at the moment there appear to be several disturbing similarities between Obama and Lyndon Johnson(one of those Democrats who served one term). It is also worth bearing in mind a couple of other crucial differences between then and now: One, Lyndon Johnson was haunted by Robert Kennedy on his left and Nixon on his right, Obama faces no such challenge. Two, War in Afghanistan is unlikely to be the all-pervading issue that Vietnam was due to the lack of a draft. Three, FDR took power in 1932 and The Great Depression ended in 1941, despite economic hard times persisting for much of his reign he survived through a lack of effective opposition and the perception of him as the doing the best given the circumstances. In a similar way Obama has been successful in blaming Bush and the Republicans for almost all of his failures. There is no reason, at the moment, to think that he wouldn’t be successful in doing this during an election campaign.