Monday, January 21, 2013

President Obama's Three Insurmountable Challenges in His Second Term

President Barack Hussein Obama was formally sworn in yesterday as President and publicly today.

His inauguration speech today laid out his marker for the second term. His agenda is the progressive agenda. No need to camouflage it anymore:  climate change, equal pay for women, gay rights, immigration reform, preservation of the Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security entitlements, reforming the tax code and our schools, and sustainable energy.

President Kennedy 52 years ago asked what you could do for your country. President Obama answered what the country will do or you, or at least those in his new Democratic coalition.

There was no subtlety or obfuscation in the speech. No reaching out. The President is not a gracious winner.

He earlier made it clear that he would not negotiate. He views every major political debate as a battle until the Republicans surrender or he crushes them. President Obama knows the right way.

He will use the Bully Pulpit with the help of a compliant media to beat the Republicans into submission. The examples of profound media bias are seemingly infinite, but the words of John Dickerson, political director for CBS News, over the weekend exemplify this reality.

The reporter wrote in Slate Magazine that the President must declare war on the Republicans. The President “can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP.” He “must go for the throat.” CBS’ Bob Schieffer uttered similar statements over gun control. Andrea Mitchell was a veritable cheerleader for the President during the debates.

The House Republicans are not the Washington Generals. The more he ignores or humiliates them, the more united they become.

His arrogance is reflected in his rhetoric. He is enamored of his rhetorical skills. He speaks beautiful poetry, but it doesn’t move people. For example, the more he spoke out on the need to pass comprehensive health care reform, the more the public turned on it. The public tunes out his rhetorical flourishes.

He cannot defeat the delays inherent in the Congressional process. Every day gets us closer to the 2014 midterm elections. His arrogance is causing him to submit to the Senate nominees, such as former Senator Chuck Hagel, who will consume valuable days of Senate debate.             

Hubris is a terrible curse: “First the gods build you up, and then they bring you down.” President Obama said “I did it a few days ago.”

Yes he did. He defied the traditional odds to win a convincing reelection: higher unemployment than any reelected President, passage of an unpopular healthcare act, contempt for those who “made it in America,”

He won, and because he won, he feels vindicated in his policies of income redistribution.

The President won; he can carry through on the unfinished business of the first term.

President Obama won; he’s entitled to his progressive agenda.

That’s the hubris.

The President controls less of the future than he might believe.

If Benghazi and Fort Hood are indicative, he responds poorly to events outside his narrow, myopic vision.

His neglect of the weak economy will lead to another major economic disruption. Another stock market collapse or a surge in inflation can strike at any time.

We should not though underestimate the President. He has the will to carry out his agenda.

He has the will to fulfill his mission.

The unknown is when his arrogance and hubris will doom his Presidency.

Then there is the Vice President who just can’t control what he says. He said last Saturday at the Iowa ball “I’m proud to be President of the United States.” His gaffes will become an embarrassment for the President.

President Obama won reelection, but it was not a joyful election. The voters enthusiasm was lacking. The honeymoon will be short. 

But the arrogance and hubris will remain. 

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