[IT] SEEMS increasingly clear that the Obama presidency has . . .
. . . lost its way; at home and abroad it flounders from event to event, directionless and passive as one report after another "unexpectedly" shows an economy that refuses to heal. Most recently the IMF has cut its growth forecast for the United State in 2011 and 2012. . . . [The] latest survey of consumer sentiment shows an "unexpectedly sharp" dip in consumer confidence. The economy is not getting well; geopolitically the US [read United States] keeps adding new countries to the bomb list, but the President has fallen strangely silent about the five wars he is fighting (Iraq, Afghanistan, tribal Pakistan, Libya and now Yemen).
. . . .
Nobody at this point really knows what the President stands for -- at home or abroad. He is not George W. Bush and he is not Bill Clinton, but who is he and where is he taking us? He seems bogged down in the minutiae of policies -- most of which don't seem to working very well. He has given his opposition valuable gifts, setting goals for himself which he then fails to meet: that the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent, public demands for Israeli concessions he failed to achieve, the promise of his health care proposals wouldn't effect [read affect] anyone who liked their [read his] current insurance, and the infamous "days not weeks" prediction about the Libya campaign.
. . . .
In particular, he has said nothing memorable about the crisis that is shaking the global economy and undermining the American middle class. The meltdown of the blue social model is the great and inescapable fact of our time. In what many voters will feel as a sign of financial apocalypse, the AARP has dropped its opposition to cuts in Social Security benefits. At home, Democrats like Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown are slashing budgets and attacking the perks of public sector [read public-sector] unions almost as industriously as Republicans like Scott Walker and Mitch Daniels. Abroad, Socialists like Greek Premier George Papandreou is cutting [read are cutting] as hard as the Conservative David Cameron. Germany has passed a balanced budget amendment; France is debating its own version. Economic turmoil is shaking the political foundations; rising food prices helped set off the Arab Spring, the price of gold has gone through the roof, and China and other foreign creditors are increasingly skeptical about the long term [read long-term] value of their dollar-backed assets.
. . . .
Americans are realistic enough to understand that the breakdown of the blue social model is a messy process and that perhaps no president can deliver a pain free [read pain-free] transition to the next stage. But what they aren't hearing from President Obama is a compelling description of what has gone wrong, how it can be fixed, and how the policies he proposes will take us to the next level.
What they hear from this administration are defensive responses: Hooveresque calls for patience mingled with strange-sounding attacks on ATMs and sharp, opportunistic jabs at former President Bush.
(Walter Russell Mead, "Can This Presidency Be Saved?", The American Interest (the-american-interest.com), June 17, 2011)