When Barack Obama took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009, he had everything a president could dream of – a 70 percent approval rating, his party firmly in control of Congress and the media firmly in his back pocket. The economy was in a recession, and the country was willing to try anything to get out of it. His term was a blank canvas on which he could paint nearly anything.
Few presidents assume office with the stars aligned so perfectly. But somehow, he managed to squander it all.
His actions seemed to doom his chances right from the start. Rather than unite the country behind his agenda, President Obama insulated himself inside a bubble of extremist progressive advisors who’d had a wish list of radical policy proposals that had failed around the world.
There was no grand, inspirational push, not even any inspiring words about America itself. What we got was a scolding. We were unfair as a nation. We needed a “fundamental transformation.” American Exceptionalism was a thing of the past, a divisive force that needed to go into the trash in favor of the message of government salvation. “Yes, we can” became “No, you can’t. At least not without the help of government.”
His rhetoric never matched his actions. His political skill never matched the promise so many held for him. He never bothered to engage Republicans, and he didn’t do much to reach out to Democrats either.
There was no great vision, we soon learned. What we had was a remarkably hands-off executive who ceded the writing of his agenda to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He signed everything they put in front of him and didn’t seem to read any of it.
More importantly, he either didn’t notice or doesn’t care that none of it has had the promised benefits. Unemployment has fallen only because millions have been out of the workforce so long they no longer are counted as unemployed. His plan to revive the economy – which seems to revolve around printing enormous sums of fiat currency – was long ago outsourced to Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and the central bankers. And his health care program has produced nothing but a broken website, skyrocketing premiums and millions of Americans losing their coverage.
Thanks to a lazy, complicit media and a public that genuinely wants him or any president to succeed the president had remained relatively popular in the polls. The public simply didn’t associate him with his failures. But that all changed as Obamacare began to come on line.