Posted: Feb 25, 2011 10:14 AM

Let's be honest about this. When people from Tripoli to Madison are shouting - if not shooting - at each other; when people are storming the state capitol buildings in Ohio and Wisconsin; when the President and the Congress are threatening to shut down the Federal government it's time to call in the …


Tell me a time, not counting the Great War or its immediate successor World War II, when the world was in more turmoil.

If it were just Tunisia and Egypt and Libya and Bahrain we could say, "Well, we're not really surprised because (a) we have no idea where those places are and (b) we have no idea where those places are.

If it were just Madison, Wisconsin we could say, "Well, its Wisconsin and while we couldn't pinpoint it on a blank map we know its north of Louisiana and between New York and California."

If it were just the President facing down the new Republican majority in the U.S. House over the budget, we could say "Didn't we go through this 15 years ago?"

Dyanu - which is Hebrew for "It would have been enough for me."

But it's all that and more.

Everyone hates everyone even though we are in the middle of Barack Obama's first term - maybe only term - and wondering what happened to the promise of change, of a new tone, of a new approach.

Let me be among the first to say that Barack Obama's Presidency is, at this point, a failure.

He has overseen the loss of about 1,373 Democrats in the U.S. House; had to depend on bogus candidates nominated for the U.S. Senate to retain control of that Chamber; and his outreach to the Middle East ("My middle name is 'Hussein'") is not just a failure, but a failure of global proportions.

Obama has had little to say about the fight over the rights of public employee unions in New Jersey, Wisconsin, or Ohio. He had nothing to say about the horrors taking place in Libya until he could - literally - hide behind the skirts of his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Remember that "3 AM" ad that Hillary ran during the primaries? When the call comes into the White House at 3 AM who do you want answering the phone? I think, if a lot of Democrats could revisit their answer to that, it would be President Hillary Clinton looking at all these issues.

New unemployment numbers will have come out by the time you read this, and I will be surprised if they have sunk under 9 percent.

Oil prices are on the rise. Crude closed at nearly $97 per barrel yesterday leading to higher prices at the pump, higher air fares, and higher prices for everything on the shelves at the Safeway.

In Washington, I thought - up until yesterday afternoon - that the chances for a government shut-down were near zero. Now I think a shut-down is likely. Speaker John Boehner has proposed a two-week extension of the temporary spending bill which cuts $2 billion in spending. Senate Majority Leader Harry has insisted that an extension be at current spending.

Harry Reid needs to take a drug test. He thinks that, because he won re-election against the weakest possible candidate, he has a national mandate.

He doesn't.

If Reid digs in and refuses to bring the House bill to the floor, the government will shut down and here's what he needs to understand:

(1) Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.

(2) John Boehner is no Newt Gingrich

During the shutdown fight of 1996 the Clinton White House drove home the mantra that Gingrich was cutting funds from "Medicare, Medicare, Education, and the Environment."

They said that about a thousand times a day, every day.

And, they had the advantage of blaming Newt for these cuts (which were not cuts but reductions in the rate of growth).

Obama's communications shop is not worthy of a State Senator from Illinois, much less the White House. They have not been able to drive a message for more than 11 seconds since they took office.

They have not made Speaker Boehner into the "enemy of the people," a role in which the Clintonistas had cast Newt.

Maybe the only way out of this is to call in the Ghostbusters. And, don't cross the streams.