POLITICO has a fascinating piece about President Obama's second term doldrums, the idea that his Presidency has entered a kind of "dead zone".
For President Obama's detractors - who demonize this President and think he's a control freak intent on amassing even more power - the irony of this analysis is that part of this President's problem is his reluctance or disdain to push the levers of Presidential power.
For President Obama's supporters - who still celebrate "Yes we can! - the irony is this President comes off as a cold fish who genuinely doesn't enjoy most people's company and certainly never absorbed Dale Carnegie's lessons on How to Win Friends & Influence People.
Sure, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans were gunning after this President from day one, but as this POLITICO analysis suggests, many in the President's own party don't feel particularly obligated or drawn to him.
In short, for better or worse, this President is neither feared nor loved, at least on Capitol Hill...
A counter-narrative: The current ideological gridlock has only exacerbated this President's "loner" personality traits. President Jimmy Carter didn't like to gladhand either, but could win passage of the Panama Canal treaties in a more bipartisan era. Compare then G.O.P. Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker to Mitch McConnell.
Posted at 6:02am on June 25, 2013 by Allan Loudell
The latest Snowden/NSA story definitely illustrates the point observed above...no countries really respect or fear actions from the US under this president.
China and Russia are revelling in this debacle and even Equador is "sticking it" our country...because they don't believe this president will do anything to their country in retaliation for helping Snowden avoid capture.
btw, Snowden's whistleblowing illustrates this president is intent on control and power. This NSA program is a lot like the Eye of Sauron in JRR Tolkien's work of fiction...the Eye sees all, knows all and is all powerful. It is in effect omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent...some might even say this is god-like power.
Anything digital we use is the equivalent of using The Ring...we feel invisible when using but the reality is that is when we are watched by "Sauron".
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 8:38am
Once again, recycled CW presented as reporting. The digital-age equivalent of the boys in the bus.
The CW makes this all about Obama, his personality, and his style. Allan Loudell denies he is a right-wing talk show host but here again he plays to the ditto-heads and panders to their eagerness to blame Obama for everything (up to and including a rainy day when a picnic was scheduled).
The alternative explanation would be that much of the rest of the world has come to disregard, disrespect, or dislike the US - regardless of who holds office. The US has stockpiled WMDs it can't use. A military that hasn't won a war since 1945. Is a debtor nation. And no longer an economic powerhouse. Welcome to the BRIC century. But the US still acts arrogant and bullying, still tries to tell other people what to do, and still claims to be number one and better than anyplace else. Where is Dale Carnegie when you need him? This has been building for a long time but - typically - the US and people on the right are in denial. Seems like they are more worried about unisex bathrooms than adapting to life after being a superpower.
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 8:52am
Let's be clear: I post articles I think are interesting and will provoke discussion.
I don't necessarily blame Mr. Obama; that's why I noted at the end of my post how he may be a victim of the current superpartisan climate. Jimmy Carter could deal with Howard Baker; no such opposite-party figures today! Also, how does a person alter his/her basic personality, without being branded 'inauthentic'?
Frankly, I think you yourself have so blasted this President, the circumstances of his election, etc., that I might suggest you are much more critical of this President than am I. If I didn't know better, I'd accuse you of being a right-winger. (In truth, I know you're more libertarian.)
I was about to suggest to Mr. Grey that each and every President has faced countries / leaders that have "stuck it" to the United States, regardless of circumstances. Were McCain or Romney occupying the Oval Office, can Mr. Grey or anyone seriously suggest Mr. Putin wouldn't be every bit as ornery and non-cooperative?
I agree with many of the points in your final paragraph.
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 9:08am
Mr. Loudell, I agree...had either McCain or Romney been our president Mr. Putin would act exactly as he is now, but if the president were someone like Reagan, Churchill or Maggie Thatcher I happen to believe Vlad would behave differently (at least in public).
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 9:17am
I'm not sure about that. President Reagan had the great fortune of getting Mr. Gorbachev as his counterpart in the then-USSR.
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 11:26am
Earl: And what would Ronnie have done in this situation (or what should Obama do)? Short of launching missiles, there's nothing any administration can do to make any foreign government do anything.
Ronnie makes his "tear down this wall" speech. Ronnie's only ability in life is reading words written by others. And wing-nuts like to think that had something to do with the wall coming down. If you believe that, you believe roosters crowing makes the sun come up, too.
The best way for any foreign leader to score points with their public is the use of the raised middle finger to any sitting US president.
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 11:30am
Allan Loudell: The articles you post never have a progressive, libertarian, alternative or non-conventional viewpoint. You consistently expand on them approvingly. I don't see you contradicting or refuting them. Your selection is a tacit endorsement.
People had a lot more respect for and more trust in the media when it did not claim to be objective or impartial. Nobody buys it. You have a point of view. Come out of the closet about it.
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 11:50am
ASIA TIMES articles bashing U.S. foreign policy?
Your critique of me is indeed selective, Mr. Smith.
I'll repeat something again: My personal ideological mindset is not in sync with any publication or talk-show host, conservative, middle-of-the-road, liberal/progressive, libertarian, etc.
...which is why, in good conscience, I cannot vote for President, Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor, or Lieutenant Governor.
And, if called to jury duty I believe in jury nullification if I find the laws or penalties, unjust.
Yes, I most definitely have a point-of-view, a world view.
And remember, this blog is just one of my duties, actually a secondary or tertiary duty.
Indeed, my output includes in the range of 12--16 live interviews daily (as discussed on this blog before), of which only a fraction are converted to podcasts.
Often I don't have the time to rhapsodize about something as I might otherwise...
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 1:59pm
bill: There are many better options than threats of missiles (though missiles are still an important deterrent to have available for our nation's security, IMHO)...economics could be used but in this current scenario, why not a simple trade of a few Russian spies in exchange for Snowden? Many options are available that are better than threats of missiles or Kerry/0bama saying 'Pretty please, hand him over'.
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 3:35pm
Earl: Gee, are there some Russian spies someplace to trade? Cold War's been over for 20 some years. Cupboard must be pretty bare.
You all on the right talk about Obama being dictatorial. Somebody blows the whistle on his administration; I'd think you all would be cheering for the guy.
It also sounds like you all on the right like the idea of the US as international bully, ordering other countries about and violating international law. Give the world some additional reasons to hate us. We are the USA. We don't need friends. We don't need people to like us.
Don't forget, even Teddy Roosevelt believed in "speaking softly."
Besides, maybe the administration doesn't care that much whether it ges Snowden into court. But the administration has to make it look good.
Right now Snowden is sitting in the international transit area of Moscow airport like Tom Hanks in that movie. Wherever he ends up, his life is pretty much shot.
But I'd think you'd want people blowing the whistle on the government. The media certainly aren't going to do it.
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 9:09pm
Once again, I find myself agreeing with Bill Smith!
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 10:46pm
bill: I sincerely hope our govt is keeping tabs on spies from Russia and other counties as well.
Just a few weeks ago Russia caught and expelled a CIA spy...and I'm sure they have some KGB here.
As for Snowden...I'm glad he blew the whistle on NSA spying on all US citizens but I'm still not sure what he plans to do with all the info he gleaned from his 3 months at NSA. It's reported that Snowden is currently receiving funding from WikiLeaks and is country-shopping with a Wikileaks lawyer in hopes of finding the best spot to stay safe from extradition.
Wed, Jun 26, 2013 12:06am
Time to film another James Bond movie!
Wed, Jun 26, 2013 2:28am
All that info is in Russian hands by now.
Wed, Jun 26, 2013 10:42am
According to the DailyBeast story below Snowden is attempting to "shine the light" on NSA spying while not sharing state secrets.
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