Two must-read pieces to start your weekend off right. The first comes from Peggy Noonan, whom Allahpundit correctly identifies as one of 2008's misguided "Obamacons" (conservatives who were taken in by the Democrat's pragmatism charade). Noonan has grown increasingly critical of Obama's performance in office, but the tone of her latest column suggests she may have reached a tipping point. Her distaste has become personal, if not visceral. A sampling:
What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who's not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it's his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it's a big fault. The shift started on Jan. 20, with the mandate that agencies of the Catholic Church would have to provide services the church finds morally repugnant. The public reaction? "You're kidding me. That's not just bad judgment and a lack of civic tact, it's not even constitutional!"
Faced with the blowback, the president offered a so-called accommodation that even its supporters recognized as devious. Not ill-advised, devious. Then his operatives flooded the airwaves with dishonest—not wrongheaded, dishonest—charges that those who defend the church's religious liberties are trying to take away your contraceptives. What a sour taste this all left. How shocking it was, including for those in the church who'd been in touch with the administration and were murmuring about having been misled.
If you jumped into a time machine to the day after the election, in November, 2012, and saw a headline saying "Obama Loses," do you imagine that would be followed by widespread sadness, pain and a rending of garments? You do not. Even his own supporters will not be that sad. It's hard to imagine people running around in 2014 saying, "If only Obama were president!" Including Mr. Obama, who is said by all who know him to be deeply competitive, but who doesn't seem to like his job that much. As a former president he'd be quiet, detached, aloof. He'd make speeches and write a memoir laced with a certain high-toned bitterness. It was the Republicans' fault. They didn't want to work with him.
He will likely not see even then that an American president has to make the other side work with him. You think Tip O'Neill liked Ronald Reagan? You think he wanted to give him the gift of compromise? He was a mean, tough partisan who went to work every day to defeat Ronald Reagan. But forced by facts and numbers to deal, he dealt. So did Reagan. An American president has to make cooperation happen. But we've strayed from the point. Mr. Obama has a largely nonexistent relationship with many, and a worsening relationship with some.
You don’t often hear an American president secretly (he thinks) assuring foreign leaders that concessions are coming their way, but they must wait because he’s seeking reelection and he dares not tell his own people. Not at all, spun a White House aide in major gaffe-control mode. The president was merely explaining that arms control is too complicated to be dealt with in a year in which both Russia and the United States hold presidential elections. Rubbish. First of all, to speak of Russian elections in the same breath as ours is a travesty. Theirs was a rigged, predetermined farce. Putin ruled before. Putin rules after.
Obama is telling the Russians not to worry, that once past “my last election” and no longer subject to any electoral accountability, he’ll show “more flexibility” on missile defense. It’s yet another accommodation to advance his cherished Russia “reset” policy. Why? Hasn’t reset been failure enough? Let’s do the accounting. In addition to canceling the Polish/Czech missile-defense system, Obama gave the Russians accession to the World Trade Organization, signed a START Treaty that they need and we don’t (their weapons are obsolete and deteriorating rapidly), and turned a scandalously blind eye to their violations of human rights and dismantling of democracy. Obama even gave Putin a congratulatory call for winning his phony election.
Can you imagine the kind of pressure a reelected Obama will put on Israel, the kind of anxiety he will induce from Georgia to the Persian Gulf, the nervousness among our most loyal East European friends who, having been left out on a limb by Obama once before, are now wondering what new flexibility Obama will show Putin — the man who famously proclaimed that the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century was Russia’s loss of its Soviet empire? They don’t know. We don’t know. We didn’t even know this was coming — until the mike was left open. Only Putin was to know.
As I noted yesterday, the DNC has elevated Putin puppet Dmitri Medvedev to official Obama surrogate status, and the Soviet-era propaganda rag Pravda is editorializing forcefully on behalf of Obama's re-election effort. Read the piece. It's comical -- replete with dark suggestions that President Bush stole the 2000 election and angry potshots at Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney 2012: Because Pravda Hates Him.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography