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April 19, 2011

Geraghty: 2008 Will Not Be 2012

I like this post. I get his "manic-depressive" schizophrenia in prognosticating 2012 -- I spend four days thinking "we can't win" and then three days thinking "we almost can't lose."

Good sum-up of Obama's problems.

He’s lost his touch: For an allegedly great communicator, most of Obama’s efforts to move public opinion since taking office have fallen flat. He never moved the numbers on health care. He’s no good as a surrogate for Democrats, as Jon Corzine, Creigh Deeds, Martha Coakley, and scores of Democrats learned in the midterms. He and his team can’t resist overpromising; his team put out a laughable chart about how the stimulus would keep unemployment low, and by September 2010, “Recovery Summer” was a punchline.

Jimmy Fallon had one of the first jokes that really hit Obama, just before Christmas 2009: “Michelle Obama’s not that excited about Christmas this year. It seems every year the president makes her this great big promise about how great a present he’ll get her, and then he never delivers.” The joke killed. People began to draw a conclusion about Obama: He always promises the moon and gives you much, much less.

Speaking of that: Obama got testy with an aggressive reporter for, as Drudge calls it, the "first time." That is, the first time a reporter's treated Obama like a citizen in a democracy rather than a Sun King fated to sit upon the Celestial Throne.

Sample testiness:

"That's wrong," the president stated. "That had nothing to do with it; the White House had nothing to do with it."

When Watson persisted, Obama said, "I just said that was wrong," and, later, "I just said that wasn't true."

I think he's talking about the politically-motivated decision to send one of the retired Space Shuttles to NYC instead of the more-deserving Houston, but it sort of doesn't matter -- it could be about anything. His petulance and lack of adult-level conflict-navigation skills are on display.

Obama does not do well when challenged, whether by people or circumstances. One can hardly blame him; he's hardly had to face any challenges in his life and so he's never developed the coping skills most people pick up by their early teens. Although previously praised for having a "first class temperament" and preternatural cool, he doesn't -- almost everyone can appear charming and even masterful in easy situations.

I never lose my cool when buying coffee at Dunkin Donuts, for example. I don't get angry or seem desperate. Because... it's not a difficult situation to face.

And pretty much that's been Obama's life. The toughest thing he's faced is dealing gracefully with being overpraised. His skill in dealing with challenge is mostly restricted to charmingly deflecting compliments and flattery.

2008 won't be like 2012 in that respect. The national media is all-in with Obama, and will do what it can to shield him, coddle him, as he's used to; but not everyone out there will be on Team Obama, and some reporters (like this local guy in Texas) might actually decide to do their jobs and, as they say, "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

And Obama won't handle that well. He never has responded well to criticism.

And even the monolithic liberal national media can't completely pretend the last four years haven't happened. Obama is now no longer just an abstraction or an "empty screen upon which to project one's hopes;" he actually has a record. And he can barely explain away that record, let alone run on it in a positive way.

Not Really Related: Drudge's funny juxtaposition in headlines.

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posted by Ace at 11:40 AM

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