Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Economist to Obama: Stop Failing!

The Economist is an echo of its former glory. Sadly, these days, The Economist couldn’t pass Econ 101. It’s become a mistake-prone, nonsense-spewing, leftist propaganda sheet that acts like it’s unbiased and erudite. But their despair that Obama is failing is just too much high quality schadenfreude to pass up. And their prescriptions for saving Obama are laughable.

The article in question outlines how things have gone so horrible wrong for Obama and how he can fix it. Most of it is stupid, but there are some gems. The article starts by pointing out that the real power of the presidency is the bully pulpit: “When a president speaks, the world listens.” That is why credibility matters. Without that power, the president’s “power to shape events withers.” But poor Mr. Obama’s credibility has been shaken: “at home, the chaos of his health reform has made it harder for him to get anything else done. Abroad, he is seen as weak and disengaged, to the frustration of America’s allies.”

Interesting start. Let me point out a few things though. The president has tons of power in the issuance of regulations and executive orders. He has absolute power to shape foreign policy. And he can lob missiles into your living room. So while the bully pulpit is an important power, make no mistake that Obama’s loss of power is much greater than the bully pulpit. His regulatory regime has been crushed by the courts and by his conscious decision to do his donors’ bidding. His foreign policy failed because foreign leaders didn't worship him, so he quit. He lacks military credibility because he overused it and the military is exhausted.

Having cleared that up, let us continue...

THE REPUBLICANS ARE REALLY TO BLAME! Sorry, but we had to get that out of the way. Like all good liberals, The Economist starts by telling us that the economy and foreign policy problems are Bush’s fault, and Obama’s failure to get his agenda passed is the result of the Republicans... who apparently magically brainwashed the Democrats between 2008 and 2010, magically made his regulators lazy, and magically got world leaders to resist Obama’s charm. WAHHHH!

Anyway, after dutifully smearing the Republicans, The Economist lets their disappointment flow: “Under Mr. Obama, America seems rudderless and its power is being squandered.” That will happen when your leader spends his time on the golf course. “The debacle of Obamacare has gravely weakened the president.” Oh, Obamacare! Cruel world!

When Obamacare began, “Obama seemed blithely unaware that anything was amiss”... like a virgin going skinny-dipping in a horror film. Obama said it would be “real simple” and said it would “work the same way you shop for a TV on Amazon.” But...
“Alas, it did not. Millions tried to log on, few succeeded. The website was never properly tested, it transpires. Although this was Mr Obama’s most important domestic reform, no one was really in charge. Crucial specifications were changed at the last moment. Contractors warned that the website was not ready, but the message never reached the Oval Office. Big government IT projects often go awry, but rarely as spectacularly as this.”
Oh, that just makes me warm all over. Of course, that’s total crap, but I still like the anguish. In reality, Obama was told about these problems, but he decided to go ahead anyway. And when it exploded, as he had been told would happen, he blamed the contractors. So while I love the fact The Economist wants to act like this was just a mistake, it was really arrogance. And you know what? The Economist knows this. Check out the conclusion to this section of lament: “A man with little interest in details and a disdain for business, Mr Obama tried to impose a gigantic change on the whole country all at once and far too casually.” Yeah, that’s a nice way of saying Obama is too lazy to do his job.

Then they ominously warn: “The longer it takes to fix the website, the greater the chance that Obamacare will fail.” Heavens no! “To make matters worse, this sorry saga has caused American voters to doubt Mr Obama’s honesty.” Say it ain’t so! You mean his getting caught in obvious lies is causing people to think he lied? How can that be?
“Time after time, when selling his reform, he told voters that if they liked their health insurance, they could ‘keep that insurance. Period. End of story.’ Policy wonks knew this was untrue... But ordinary Americans took their president at his word.”
Ok, hold the phone. I don’t recall The Economist calling Obama out on that lie at the time. In fact, I seem to recall them attacking the Republicans for pointing out that this was a lie. Interesting. So The Economist knew this was a lie, but chose to attack the people who pointed out this was a lie. Gee, that’s called propaganda. What are you lying about now Economist?

Anyway, the proles are apparently “furious” that their old policies are being cancelled. As an aside, they call Obama’s fix “a sham” and they warn him “to stop making empty promises.” Good luck with that.

Beyond Obamacare, his foreign relations are “cool,” and not in a good way:
“The leaders of allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia scorn him. Europeans grumble that they are ignored when they want to be heard and spied on when they want to be left alone. Latin Americans feel neglected. Mr Obama’s ‘pivot’ to Asia has made China feel threatened, without reassuring other Asians that America will be there in a crisis. Many doubt Mr Obama’s word—remember his ‘red line’ over the use of chemical weapons in Syria?—and lament his inability to get things done.”
And here I thought he was a genius who could woo the world with the color of his skin, er, the content of his rhetoric. You can practically hear the tears of frustration running down red angry faces at The Economist... “ve ver deceived.”

So how can Obama turn this around? Get this:
● Stop making empty promises. Can’t, that’s the foundation of his policy.

● Start paying attention to details. Can’t, him no smart enough.

● Get rid of the aides who filter out bad news. Snort. Sure. Obama vas deceived!

● Start schmoozing the Republicans. Sure, and no doubt they’ll ignore five years of hostility.

● Get the Obamacare website fixed! Ha ha. That’s rich. That’s going to take years. And even then, you have all the other problems awaiting. Obamacare is like herpes, it can’t be cured. Your best bet is to stay away from it.

● Get a budget deal with the Republicans agreeing to tax hikes! Ah, delusion.

● Do somethingsomething with the military, like when you killed Osama bin Laden with your bare hands. Apparently, the military is a popularity enhancer machine for liberal presidents.

● A free trade agreement in the Pacific. Sure, except he’s a Democrat and they are protectionist.

● Pay some attention to Latin America. Right, because they can’t tell the difference between a photoshoot and substantive interest.
So basically, Obama needs to become something he’s not, he needs to slap down the Democrats on many of their issues, and he needs to hope that everyone else is stupid. Interesting plan. Why can’t I shake the feeling the The Economist is just saying: “stop failing!”


Kit said...

"The Economist is an echo of its former glory. Sadly, these days, The Economist couldn’t pass Econ 101. It’s become a mistake-prone, nonsense-spewing, leftist propaganda sheet that acts like it’s unbiased and erudite."

Didn't The Economist call for the abolition of the monarchy in the mid-90s, too?

T-Rav said...

It's Negaduck!!!

Kit said...

Foreign Policy is one of those things that I've found is harder to get than it seems. Countries (almost*) always act in their own interest. Sounds simple, but sometimes you may have situations where it appears a country has no direct interests at stake when they have deep interests at stake.

*Barring morons at work such as Hitler invading his ally Russia in 1940.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I'm not sure if they did or didn't. I don't recall that.

On Hitler invading, he actually had a good reason for it. He knew that one day Germany and Russia would fight -- it was inevitable, and at that point, Russia wasn't ready. So strike fast while they aren't ready, take them out, grab their oil and food, win the war.

Didn't work out that way though.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Yep. :)

Kit said...

Ok, then his decision to use the Einsatzgruppen to carry out ethnic cleansing of many of the Slavic populaces in Russia and the USSR, people who would have gladly joined with him to fight Stalin.


And The Economist did push for abolition of the monarchy, republican bastards!

Anthony said...

Yeah, the Economist article is funny because it calls for Obama to stop being Obama. Aloof and uninterested in details is pretty much his modus operandi.

tryanmax said...

When it comes to big-picture thinkers, there are really two kinds. The kind who are able to break down a vision into details to explain it and implement it and the kind who just have grandiose ideas. Obama is the latter. Unfortunately, grandiosity is convincing because it is usually convinced of itself.

In addition to getting an agenda, the Republicans need to portray some of that grandiosity while actually having the details worked out. It's ironic how the most confident are the ones who least deserve to be.

Patriot said...

Andrew....Witness the "whitewashing" of the historical record for our genius, misunderstood, most excellent President EVAH!!

Thus it begins.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, It could be.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, That's what I thought was so funny here. Their advice really is for Obama to morph into someone other than Obama. Good luck with that!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Two of the things I've notice over time is that (1) people tend to believe liars more than they believe people who tell the truth because liars tell a better story as they aren't bound by facts or reality, and (2) people fall for the phony big ideas because they don't stop to see what they aren't thinking about. It's like suggesting a quick trip to grandma's house without mentioning that she lives in a swamp.

Ross Perot was the perfect example of this: "We're gonna lift the hood and fix it. That's all there is to it." Ah, so you don't have a clue how you're going to do it, do you? Obama was the same way. He promised to just make it all better somehow. He didn't have a clue how either. Sadly, people fall for this because the little they are promised makes sense.

Newt does this too. He lobs generic "big picture soundbites," with zero substance, and people fall for the whole oracle act.

There is a lot to be done there in terms of manipulating the public, but without the actual substance to back it up, you end up with an Obama.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, What whitewashing? They're in the middle of an anguish-athon about his failure. This is when whitewash slides down the fence.

Besides, if you listen to talk radio, the whitewash began the day Obama was born... in Muslim lands... to cannibals.

Kit said...

If true then HAHAHAHAHA!!!!... ... ... ...oh crap.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That's the problem with dealing with the Iranians. It's like trying to negotiate with someone with multiple personalities who all hate each other.

As an aside, the US has already challenged China's exclusion zone. It will be interesting to see what China does next.

Kit said...

The Arab/Muslim world... you will not find a more complex hive of tribal, ethnic, and political hatreds.

They can't even fight a war against Israel without finding someway to stab each other in the back.

Anonymous said...

About all I can add is that I got a good laugh out of all the confused, fumbling excuses the writers made for Obama and that I also approve of the use of Negaduck to illustrate the schadenfreude. I take it that means that Darkwing Duck might show up on a future Toon Tuesday?

- Daniel

BevfromNYC said...

Hey, Andrew, you are just wrong. We never said anything about cannibals. But seriously, I want to challenge all of these journalists who are exclaiming now that they knew all along that Obamacare (and other Obama stuff) was a bad deal and Obama was lying.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Welcome to the Middle East.

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, Absolutely there will be a Darkwing Duck discussion at some point! :)

As for the writers, I love the confusion and the contortions they are going through to try to explain what is so obvious without admitting that they should have known or that they were wrong the whole time.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I was sure it was cannibals?! ;-P

I would love to challenge these guys and ask, "If you knew he was lying, then why did you smear the people who pointed that out?" and "How can this stuff be so common sense now, but you didn't see any of it before?"

It's journalistic malpractice.

Koshcat said...

Operation Barbarossa would have probably been successful if it wasn't for an egocentric leader who couldn't stay focused and thought he know more than those in the field. There are eerie similarities between Barbarossa and Obamacare, except the former was better planned. (Did I just compare The O to Hilter? Yes I did!)

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Why not? He likes to compare himself to historical figures, so we can do the same. :)

We should nickname his plan to sell people on Obamacare: Operation BarbaraStreisand.

Koshcat said...

Now you're just getting ugly.

AndrewPrice said...


El Gordo said...

"There are eerie similarities between Barbarossa and Obamacare, except the former was better planned. (Did I just compare The O to Hilter? Yes I did!)"

I was rewatching that epic documentary, The World at War, and I thought the same thing. The lessons of history apply. Hitler is just an example.

How is it possible that German soldiers found themselves in the deep Russian winter with nothing but summer uniforms? It´s not that nobody thought of procuring winter equipment. The German army was quite professional. It´s just that in certain command structures, with a certain type of leader on top, information does not get processed in a normal way. There is an incentive for subordinates to act against their better knowledge.

The important thing to take away is that this kind of "insanity" or "delusion" is not rare or unlikely. It happens easily. In politics, in corporations. Just think of the countless disastrous mergers and acquisitions driven by visions and "thinking large". It can be deadly. That is why a certain humility is a good thing in decisionmakers and the people who support them. No more great planners!

Operation BarbaraStreisand! That is just brilliant.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, I'm glad you like the name! LOL!

On your comment, I agree completely. This is something that happens often and in many contexts. Whenever the culture of an institution becomes one of "don't make waves," you end up with people ignoring bad news and warning signs because it's in their self interest to act as if nothing can go wrong.

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