The National Journal mistakes patience for despair.

There’s a lot to push back on in this National Journal piece (short version: Ron Fournier doesn’t like the Republican party that much, but he still thinks that Barack Obama sucks at leadership), but I want to drill down on this:

Obama could still do great things. But not if he and his advisers underestimate a president’s powers, and don’t know how to exploit them. Not if his sympathizers give Obama cover by minimizing his influence. Cover to fail. Not if the president himself is outwardly and boundlessly dismissive of his critics, telling The New York Times, “I’m not concerned about their opinions.”

To say the situation is intractable seems akin to waving a white flag over a polarized capital: Republicans suck. We can’t deal with them. Let’s quit.

I’m afraid they have quit—all of them, on both sides. At the White House and in Congress, most Democrats and Republicans have abandoned hope of fixing the nation’s problems.

I can’t speak for the Democratic party, but the Republicans have not abandoned hope.  We’re simply becoming more and more resigned to the fact that we’re going to have to wait until Barack Obama gets on that dang helicopter in January 2017 before we can get back down to business. The President is useless, but he won’t be going anywhere for the next three and a half years.  So… we wait.  Not optimal – but not avoidable, either.

Hey, don’t look at me: I didn’t vote for Barack Obama.



9 thoughts on “The National Journal mistakes patience for despair.”

  1. Frankly, I’m near despair about the people in Government who don’t understand that Obama doesn’t want/isn’t able to fix things and keep making misguided (or cynical) deals with him.

    1. I am too. I don’t know what it is Obama’s shamelessness, media’s democrat advocacy, republican backstabbing the base, or my own exhaustion and disappointment on local issues– where a local R commissioner will backstab the party just so he can leapfrog to “vice-chair”.

      at the end of Obama’s term, people will be more convinced than even before 2008 that the republicans are only for the rich white people (and to some extent I’ll agree with them on the rich part), while democrats are tirelessly fighting to save them from decades of injustice.

      1. There are degrees of success and failure.
        Since the end of Reconstruction, a member of the GOP has had the following hierarchy of success wherever the Democrats had any power.
        1) Don’t be murdered.
        2) If 1, work against policies like gun control, designed by Democrats to help them murder you.
        3) If 2, make the GOP as strong as possible to compete with, contest, thwart or defeat the Democratic Party.
        Yes, we’ve lost on some points, but we aren’t dead yet, and where there is life there is hope. Yes, the local situation may be bad, but as long as they can’t string people up in public during business hours without witnesses willing to testify, they don’t have everything.
        Yes, people in other areas may choose White Supremacism and choose being murdered. You can’t let your sense of obligation towards them as fellow citizens drag you down emotionally. Like with a cousin who won’t stop drinking, one can’t live their lives for them.
        This world is not fair. The political success of the just are neither certain nor necessary. We are flawed people in a flawed world. The righteous struggle for what is right not because humans can make it happen, not because any will but God’s can create the New Jerusalem, but because it is wrong to give up. Even the futile fights should be fought.

        1. Even the futile fights should be fought.

          Great quote. Thanks for the pep talk. I’m sending it to my email as I surely need it in the future as well.

  2. O’bama can’t do jack, O’bama never could do jack. O’bama has always been entirely dependent on a strong Democrat majority in congress to get anything done. Having screwed that up and lost one house by allowing the Democrats in congress to overreach themselves. I think all he can really do at this point is make things worse. Which he will. He has no ideas and he never really had a plan, that’s why things lurch around waiting for the next great cause to appear for the left to get behind. Think gun control and immigration reform. If no new cause appears he will be out on the stump trying to start one but then he lacks the power to move or convince people.

    1. Ditto.
      AFAICT, the only reason to vote for Romney, is that he was a competent manager who could read a balance sheet. Had we gotten him in, we might (with the aid of divine intervention) have been able to wrangle a soft(ish) landing at the 11th hour.
      Social Security and Medicare are in the red, the ability to paper over the shortfall is rapidly disappearing, Obamacare is about to add several more tons to the camel’s back, and the citizenry is in deep denial.
      We’re screwed.
      There is no escape from our coming rendezvous with the Gods of the Copybook Headings.
      The best we can do is to get people with the will to check the totalitarian impulse into place. With the full knowledge that they’re likely to either knuckle under or become martyrs.

  3. a) Since very early on, Obama has been a wait four to eight years, he won’t kill America if America isn’t dying already sort.
    b) Republicans have picked up seats in the legislature, and become less tractable towards his will, because of choices and policies of him and his Administration.
    c) Certain current scandals are intractable because we must rely on Obama to select the persons who will attempt to solve them. A full solution involves both fixing the problem, and convincing us that it is fixed. Even if entities were not jumping directly to messaging about how fixed things are, Obama would need to choose people whose character is such that they can plausibly investigate and repair the problems. His past choices make the latter very unlikely.
    d) I admit to letting the impact the general economic woes had on me personally have an undue influence on my emotional state.
    e) I also admit to emotionally investing too heavily in the Romney campaign.
    f) Hope is foresight based on reality, looking forward to positive potential outcomes. From a GOP perspective, there are few grounds to hope for a general resolution to the scandals before Obama leaves office. Conversely, members of the GOP will often have grounds to hope to not be murdered, or to earn enough to keep going before that time.

  4. It’s not the government’s job to “fix the nation’s problems”. The government’s job is to police the borders, enforce contracts, and darn little else. I would be satisfied, however, with ‘not cause so damn many problems’, though. But that’s probably too high a goal to set for this administration.

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