I think this can be summed up in a two-word description of Obama: lying ideologue.
What Obama doesn't seem to realize is that his presidency is already damaged, no matter what happens with health care. If he manages to persuade enough Democrats to pass such a profoundly unpopular bill, the Democrats will pay in November. However, if he doesn't pass it, the Democratic base will regard him as weak. Since those Democrats are basically all that are propping up his approval ratings, it's hard to figure out which scenario is worse.
The true measure of how far Obama has fallen, though, is how Democrats regard him. Few seem to be asking him to campaign for them, and his approval ratings aren't at record lows, but they are likely nowhere near where Obama thought he would be at this point in his presidency.
Of course, Obama has no one but himself to blame for this. He campaigned as a moderate who could bring the country together, but lurched toward hard liberalism almost as soon as he took office, and is now urging Democrats to embrace the very ideology that crushed his approval rating. Obama underestimated how angry voters who believed his campaign rhetoric would get once they realized he was lying to them.
Obama's approval ratings fell because Americans don't like being lied to, and for that reason, those ratings are unlikely to improve until the president shows a willingness to respond to popular opinion. Frankly, given how Obama has governed to this point, I am not optimistic. I hope the American people deliver a firm rebuke in November, but more importantly I hope Obama gets the message. If he doesn't, then it may be time to start worrying about his ability to acknowledge political reality.
This blog is literally chock full of examples of his backtracking on essentially every campaign promise he made, deception on statement after statement he has issued on darn near every policy there is, and the outright lies he has spoken over and over and over. While the die-hard Kool-Aid crowd will never acknowledge this reality, those with clearer heads are reluctantly coming to grips with the fact that their hero -- their messiah -- is a lying ideologue bent on his own agenda at the expense of all else. It's always hard to admit you're wrong; it's even harder to admit that your mistake is leading to such tremendous damage to you and everything you hold dear.
And that leads us to the second piece, which delves into the psyche of Obama. Quin Hillyer dares to take the leap at The American Spectator, and does an admirable job, I think, of showing the root cause of Obama's failures:
There is something way off balance in the character of Barack Obama. Something in the realm of zealotry, with a touch of megalomania, and perhaps an authoritarian impulse too. He combines Alinskyite tactics and outlook with an air of self-assumed moral superiority in a way that fails to respect the usual, small 'r' republican limits on American presidents. All presidents, of course, think at some level that they know best about policy choices. But almost none of them (Woodrow Wilson perhaps excepted) were so willing to disdain, in pursuit of such radical policy upheavals, such intense and overwhelming public opinion as has been evident in the current health takeover attempt.
Grandiose plans are one thing. Most presidents fall prey to them. It's another thing entirely, though, to refuse to accept the ordinary republican restraints on implementing grandiosities without public support, and furthermore to do so by A) bending existing rules; B) directly violating multiple personal pledges; C) ignoring constitutional limits; D) directly lying; and E) demanding that other politicians sacrifice their own political careers.A little humility would be nice. So would a sense that he answers to the public rather than to some self-proclaimed (and self-determined) imperative of history and/or call of destiny.
That is his job, after all. He's not a crusading king, he's an elected leader (though not in his own mind). Big difference. Anyway, Hillyer presses on to show how Obama's self-anointed elitism has blinded him to reality:
As Obama ignores public opinion while pushing for full-fledged Obamacare in one fell swoop, and as he insists that he knows best and that the public is too ill-informed to know what is good for it, he directly -- as the very symbol of the state -- reminds the public of what they distrust about government in the first place and of why they don't want government interfering in a realm as personal as health care. These feelings are especially fierce because Obama is trying not to change something with which most Americans are dissatisfied, but instead to change (and arguably take away) a system in which some four-fifths of the public remains generally satisfied with their own personal level of care.
For most Americans, Obama doesn't seem to be giving them something they don't have, but instead to be taking away something they already value.
And yet...he still knows best, you see. Adding insult to injury isn't helping, either:
Worse, he and the increasingly unpopular Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are doing it while hectoring the public, insulting (at least by implication) the public by belittling the public's understanding of the issue, and treating opposition as if it is guided by evil motives rather than sincere concerns.
Hillyer's point is that both Obama's motivation and his method are directly counter to the American way of life:
They are turning American checks and balances on their heads. They are using temporary parliamentary advantages for a permanent power grab. The Obamites are dictating to Americans rather than representing them. Revolutionizing, not just evolving. Ruling, not serving.That's what Barack Obama promised in the campaign. That's what he meant when he said that his mission was to 're-make' America. His intent is nothing less than the wholesale modification of the fundamental American personality, from freedom, individual responsibility, and American exceptionalism to a state where the government -- which knows better, of course! -- dictates every aspect of your life, taking away the very freedom, individual responsibility, and exceptionalism that is in the core DNA of America.
And it's not just on health care. They work against public opinion on matters of criminal justice, terrorist treatment, race preferences, bank bailouts and corporate takeovers, overall spending, domestic welfare requirements, fossil fuel development, missile defenses, advocacy of American interests (and pride!) abroad, and on the whole panoply of oft-unstated attitudes that cohere as American exceptionalism.
This is not the way the system is supposed to work. This is not the American government we grew up with. This is not the national ethos that we love.
Yet Obama pushes on, perfectly cognizant of what he's doing, intentionally upending the American Way.
Hillyer sounds a call to stop Obama's transformation using any and all possible legitimate means. I couldn't agree more. The conservative Right saw him for who he was long before the election, but too many people chose to listen to his pretty words and promises instead. Now that those words have turned ugly and those promises have proven empty, the country on the whole is rejecting Barack Obama. He does not stand for the things America was founded upon, and he does not represent what most Americans want their nation to be.
And thank God for that! Now we just need to clean up our mistakes.
There's my two cents.