Michael Barone

A third Obama weakness is his propensity to charge his political opponents with playing politics when he is doing exactly that himself. In previewing this latest jobs-and-the-economy speech, Carney said that Obama will make the case "that politics is broken and that politics is getting in the way of the very necessary things we need to do."

This from the president who has brushed aside one bipartisan initiative after another, from the health care initiative of Sens. Ron Wyden and Bob Bennett to the recommendations of his own deficit commission, headed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.

Instead, he has taken a purely partisan course on one issue after another -- and heaped blame on Republicans. He invited House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to his speech at George Washington University and then lambasted him harshly.

Obama has been so consistently blaming Republicans in recent months for not approving the free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that it came as an utter surprise to his deputy press secretary, Josh Earnest, that he hasn't sent them to Congress yet.

The fourth weakness is failure to come up with policies that address situations appropriately. Press briefings suggest that Obama next week will call for an extension of the payroll tax holiday and of unemployment benefits. A case can be made for both, but neither has invigorated the economy yet.

We also hear that he may call for more infrastructure spending. But as the president himself told us, laughing, there aren't actually any shovel-ready projects.

The New York Times reports he may call for "school repairs and retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency." This sounds suspiciously like the weatherization program under which Seattle got $20 million and produced just 14 jobs.

Democrats have criticized Obama on the speech-scheduling flap. James Carville said he was "out of bounds." Salon.com's Cenk Uygur sensed "the audacity of weakness." It reminds me of a phrase describing a character in the 1980s TV series "Dallas" -- "blustering, opportunistic, craven and hopelessly ineffective all at once."


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM