By Dave Andrusko
The title of the opinion piece in today’s Washington Post is “Lost in Thought,” an allusion to the contemplative brilliance the Post’s Dana Milbank attributes to President Obama. (Talk about man crushes!) But just “Lost” would have sufficed.
I’m not taking this occasion to take potshots the President’s IQ. For all I know he may be the savant that Milbank finds tucked away behind the painfully inarticulate man we see on television.
I mention it because it reminded me of something I meant to write yesterday. There are a number of potential Republican presidential candidates who have created exploratory committees, a prelude (if they so eventually decide) to formally announcing they are running for President. There are still others who have not taken even that first-step.
Not claiming to have inside knowledge why collectively these men and women are not nearly as far along as a comparable list of GOP candidates were in 2007 (some of whom are mentioned prominently as possible contenders in 2011). I don’t. But here’s one possible explanation, besides the seemingly limitless piles of money the President is assembling.
While Milbank writes as if he thinks President Obama is both too smart for us and too smart for his own political good (although he is just saying the latter for effect), perhaps some of these potential GOP presidential contenders may have bought into this or other related myths that are sprinkled throughout Milbank’s column. Or maybe they think the public has, which would make Obama difficult to defeat come November 2012.
Milbank writes, “[T]the 44th president would seem to be the very model of the complex thinker. Among the complex thinker’s advantages, says [Philip]Tetlock [a professor of psychology with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business] is the ability to see quickly the trade-offs among policy options, to update his beliefs after finding evidence that disproves his preconceptions, and to predict probable outcomes with accuracy. Among the disadvantages: The complex thinker can suffer from ‘analysis paralysis’ and confusion; he can be perceived as unprincipled or disloyal to the values that elevated him to power; and he can be seen as too willing to make trade-offs.”
As you see, the argument is that unlike most of the rest of us lesser thinkers, Obama’s real “weakness” is actually his strength, one that Milbank greatly admires (at least rhetorically): Obama is not afraid to change or disappoint loyalists.
Sticking just to our concerns (although a similar analysis could be made for other issues), this is merely a figment of Milbank’s imagination. Where/how has Obama rethought the never-enough abortions mindset he brought to the White House? Is PPFA weeping as Obama and his allies fight to make sure hundreds of millions of dollars continue to pour into its coffers? Hardly.
There are a ton of other illustrations. In March 2009 when he torpedoed President Bush’s brilliant policy on the issue of federal funding of embryonic stem cell, Obama rescinded an executive order President Bush had put into place funding adult stem cells and new research with iPS cells [induced pluripotent stem cells]. So much for “common ground.”
On ObamaCare, aside from the rationing components, Obama made sure that language to prevent federal subsidies for abortions never made it into the final bill. In a vain attempt to protect incumbent Democratic congressmen, Obama signed a bogus “executive order” said to prevent federal subsidies for abortion on demand which did nothing of the sort.
And speaking of rationing, as we reported less than two weeks ago, in the much ballyhooed speech at George Washington University, President Obama revealed that he was proposing a dramatically graver limit on what Americans will be allowed to spend for our own healthcare—worse even than that which will be imposed by the Obama Health Care Law if it is not repealed before 2015!
You get the point.
Whether it be Joe and Judy Citizen or GOP presidential contenders, you cannot allow yourself to get snookered by the myths that surround President Obama, any more than you can be intimidated by the colossal war chest he is accumulating to run for a second term. Both are intended to hide what will be abundantly clear by next year—that his administration is a house of cards.
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