Donald Lambro

4) LOSING IRAQ: No sooner did U.S. combat forces leave Iraq last week, than a rash of deadly bombings by al-Qaida in Iraq terrorists killed or wounded several hundred Iraqis.

Obama argued during his 2008 presidential campaign that Bush's war in Iraq was a mistake because al-Qaida terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center in New York were in Afghanistan, not Iraq. In fact, al-Qaida is coordinating and stepping up the bombings in an aggressive move to topple the government in Iraq.

5) GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT FAILURES: First came the West Virginia mine disaster that left 29 miners dead and revelations of lax regulation by the government that could have prevented it. Then the deadly Gulf oil-rig explosion and the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history that revealed a regulatory bureaucracy asleep at the switch, and an impotent White House that did not seem to know how to deal with the BP catastrophe from the very beginning. That was followed by the widespread egg salmonella outbreak that showed woefully inadequate agriculture inspections. This is the government that we want running our health care? As we near the midway point in Obama's term, he has lost the nation's trust and confidence in his presidency.

The White House doesn't seem to have a clue about what to do about an economy that is veering into another dangerous downturn. Obama clings stubbornly to his failed $800 billion spending stimulus and plans to inflict the largest tax increase in American history on a struggling economy, despite pleas from government analysts that this is only going to inflict more harm on the private business sector.

"Under current law, both the waning of (Obama's) fiscal stimulus and the scheduled increases in taxes will temporarily subtract from (economic) growth, especially in 2011," CBO warned Congress and the White House. What we have here, of course, is a failure of leadership that is the result of breathtaking inexperience and an ideology that believes in enlarging the federal government at the expense of the business community, job-creating investment by the private sector, and the economy. He has no one with any business experience in his team of top White House advisers.

He returns to Washington at a time when Americans are deeply pessimistic about the country's future -- with his job approval polls at a low 43 percent (50 percent disapprove) -- and without any clear sign that he knows how to deal with the issues that he was elected to fix.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.