Peggy Noonan, the former Republican speechwriter, wrote a blog post recently titled “Incompetence.” She highlighted examples of how Obama staffers “don’t have a background in executing” the policies the president seeks to articulate.
Rather, Noonan wrote, “they have a background in communicating, but not in doing.”
Of course, an Obama supporter might say Noonan is a partisan conservative. Despite her resume, however, Noonan gave Obama a chance in 2008. Back then, she wrote a “case for Barack Obama, in broad strokes” in which, among other things, she suggested Obama “shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult.” Noonan referred to Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin as “not … thoughtful” and “limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions.”
Noonan cannot be lumped among those people who never wanted Obama to succeed.
In 2008, George W. Bush’s unpopularity coupled with the euphoria of electing the first black president, introducing a different worldview and financial panic from the financial crisis rocketed Barack Obama into the White House. He was the standard-bearer for the hope that liberal policies would make America great again.
He coulda been a contender.
But he wasn’t what he seemed. Former network anchor Tom Brokaw’s admission about Obama, just days after his election, that “[t]here’s a lot about him we don’t know” was maybe the most blatant indictment of the media’s failure to perform due diligence during the campaign.
Obama, with liberal majorities in both the House and Senate, was center stage. He had the power to prove the left’s ability to solve the nation’s woes.
This is why Noonan’s recent piece is so timely. Instead of having an all-pro quarterback to prove their politics, liberals actually got a third-stringer in Obama.
Liberals wanted socialized medicine. Obama won his legislative campaign for a government takeover of American health care, but his signature policy initiative is already considered a failure. Three years after passage, his staff cannot even create a working web site to sign people up. These champions of liberalism also apparently intentionally misled citizens by promising “if you like your plan you can keep your plan.” They similarly failed to anticipate predictable problems inherent in the law — maybe because they rushed it through Congress without lawmakers bothering to read it.
Obamacare is now incredibly unpopular. Making matters worse, Obama unilaterally (and possibly unconstitutionally) makes changes on the fly to what his supporters call “the law of the land” to save face and protect political allies.
Liberals also believe government can spur economic growth through gargantuan spending sprees. But, when the mother of all stimulus packages was pushed through Congress in 2009 in the form of the $840 billion “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” it turns out the White House couldn’t discern real “shovel-ready” jobs from boondoggles.
In fact, when so many claims turned out to be hokum, Obama and his supporters literally laughed off the lack of actual shovel-ready jobs. And “investment” replaced “stimulus” to continue selling initiatives that throw good money after bad.
If I were a liberal, I would be mad. I would be furious that this President was so “incompetent” — as Noonan wrote — at creating programs that supposedly vitiate progressivism as a credible ideology.
To be clear, I don’t really think even well-implemented liberal solutions are the answer. But if I did, I’d be mad at Obama for making it harder for me to wear my (bleeding) heart on my sleeve.
Even with flawless implementation, Obamacare was inherently flawed because a guarantee of health coverage doesn’t equal receiving quality health care. For example, the next shoe likely to drop will come from people pushed into exchanges and Medicaid finding that doctors won’t see them because of regulations and the unfair payment schemes – at least until the government orders them to (which will trigger a retirement spike without proper replenishment). The poor, old and sick will also likely dominate enrollment, creating a “death spiral” of cost and care. So it goes.
Even if Obama’s shovel-ready jobs existed or government could effectively provide universal health coverage, taking wealth from the private sector that produces it and redistributing it on politically-motivated government goals doesn’t create value.
Perhaps this is why Obama’s approval rating is so low just a year after his re-election. Conservatives disapprove of his ideology and liberals see liberalism’s big chance being squandered.
For once, under Obama, political opposites find some agreement.