All of which prompts the question: Would the economy be doing better today if the grand bargain had been successful, and if we were not headed toward the fiscal cliff resulting from the sequestration process congressional leaders improvised after Obama spiked the negotiations?
We can't know the answer for sure. But it's certainly possible. Instead, the economy is in such disarray that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has embarked on a third round of quantitative easing.
Obama has spent about half of his career in public office running for other office. A couple of years after his election to the state Senate, he ran for Congress. He lost, and a couple of years later ran for the U.S. Senate.
Two years after taking office, he started running for president. And he's spent a lot of time this last two years -- all those fundraisers! -- running again.
In the meantime, he has skipped more than half of his daily intelligence briefings, including those several days before the attacks on our embassies and consulates that started on Sept. 11, 2012.
Afterward, White House press secretary Jay Carney, Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and Obama himself (on David Letterman) characterized the attacks as spontaneous responses to a video criticizing Islam.
That story line was punctured when the director of the National Counterterrorism Center stated what seemed to be obvious -- that Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed "in the course of a terrorist attack." The video was a pretext.
The video alibi was obviously politically motivated. One of the premises of the Obama campaign was that his election would make Muslims love America.
What we see in all this is a president who is much more comfortable campaigning than governing.
What we also see is disarray -- an economy that is foundering, a world where America is on the defensive and under attack. A president who can't change Washington and whose election did not magically change the world.
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.
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