“[I]n a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God.”
[Guest post by DRJ]
The unemployment rate is at 9.4%, its highest level in more than 25 years, but the New York Times hopes this means the economy is turning around. Geoff at Innocent Bystanders notices other examples of the media’s efforts to portray May’s numbers in a positive light. However, as illlustrated at this link, current unemployment is worse than the Obama Administration’s projections, both with and without a recovery plan.
No wonder Obama’s approval index is 0.
[Guest post by DRJ]
Following his visit to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Barack Obama will complete his international trip with brief stops in Europe including appearances at Buchenwald with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and at the D-Day memorial with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Unfortunately, U.S. relations with Germany are becoming increasingly strained, a tension that dates back to the Presidential campaign when “Merkel rejected Mr. Obama’s request during the presidential campaign to speak in front of the Brandenburg Gate.” In today’s visit at Buchenwald, Obama appropriately rebuked Holocaust deniers but also expressed “grief and … outrage” for German actions in World War II, a marked contrast to the understanding that characterized his recent message to the world’s Muslims.
Obama’s attitude toward French President Sarkozy is similarly strained. Last week Obama surprised both the French and British with his efforts to get the Queen invited to this weekend’s D-Day memorial. Today Obama refused a dinner invitation from Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni. The UK Times speculates Obama’s irritation stems from Sarkozy’s treament of him at the G20 summit in London:
“Mr Obama’s irritation with his French counterpart began when Mr Sarkozy tried to grab the limelight at the G20 summit in London in April and talked condescendingly of the US President in private. Mr Sarkozy told colleagues that he found Mr Obama to be inexperienced and unbriefed, especially on climate change. Mr Obama hit back last month, telling a visiting French minister: “Please tell Nicolas that I shall do my homework, and in two months I’ll know all about climate change.”
By conceding that he will know “all about” climate change at their next meeting, Obama tacitly admits he was not prepared on climate change at the G20. In other words, Sarkozy may have been right when he said Obama was “inexperienced and unbriefed, especially on climate change.” Now Obama is telling Sarkozy not to mess with the coolest kid on the block.
[Posted by Karl]
Noemie Emery has a wonderful article, “Reagan in Opposition,” posted at the Weekly Standard. She begins in 1977 with some wonderful reminders of how the GOP was written off (as it has been every 16 years or so since the end of WWII). Indeed, Reagan himself was written off, and Emery suveys his comeback at the tactical and thematic level.
Emery focuses on four things that stand out about Reagan’s behavior while in opposition:
- He was focused on large, central themes;
- His tone was unfailingly gracious and civil, and focused on issues, not men. In his many newspaper columns, he was almost never partisan or even explicitly conservative;
- He was an optimist, focused on hope and the future;
- He was able to lead both a movement and a party.
That’s a pretty good checklist — and a daunting one — for any of the Republicans already laying the groundwork for a presidential run in 2012. (For those who bemoan the seeming permanent campaign season, take note that Reagan never really stopped running after the 1976 campaign.)
Perhaps the most striking of those four factors was Reagan’s civil and often non-partisan tone. After all, one of Reagan’s more memorable speeeches (at CPAC in 1975) blasted the GOP as carrying a banner of “pale pastels” instead of “bold colors.” But Reagan also understood that the GOP could carry a banner of bold colors without looking like he was trying to impale his opponents on its standards.
Of course, not everyone on the Right is laying a foundation for a presidential run in 2012. There are plenty of roles for conservatives and libertarians of varying stripes to play.
Lapdog pressmen like Howard Fineman may be as eager as Barack Obama to make Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney the face of the GOP, but that is not really their function. E.J. Dionne frets that the Democrats’ strategy here is backfiring, that figures like Limbaugh and Gingrich are setting the news agenda. Allahpundit correctly notes that Dionne’s thesis — that the media hypes Rush’s controversies because it’s secretly right-wing — is just plain dumb. But Dionne and Fineman do have a point in noting that the Right’s pitbulls have been more effective than the GOP’s elected officials in getting arguments into the national discussion, even when the lapdog press frames them negatively. They are currently creating the issue spaces Republicans can later occupy with a more civil tone — if they ever get their acts together.
I thought it might be nice to share another Jayhawks song with you. Maybe I’ll make sharing music a Friday tradition. It’s a big part of my life and always has been. Enjoy: