POTUS Is Too Big To Fail


Chris “Mad Bitch Beer” Sleaza at WaPo:

It’s virtually impossible to be a successful modern president

Being president is the most powerful job in the world. At which you will almost certainly fail.

Why? For lots of reasons up to and including:

* The decline of the bully pulpit as a persuasion mechanism

* The deep partisanship present not only in Congress but also in the electorate more broadly

* The splintering of the mainstream media/the rise of social media.

Take the last 96 hours (or so) of the Obama presidency as illustrative of the broader impossibility of being president.

On Thursday, in the immediate aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines plane being shot down over Ukraine, President Obama delivered a cautious statement mourning the tragedy and promising he would get to the bottom of the situation. Conservatives immediately criticized that statement as insufficiently strong, comparing it unfavorably to how President Reagan handled a similar situation in 1983. (As The Fix’s Philip Bump explains, the Obama critique is not entirely fair.) Seeking to counter that narrative, Obama delivered another statement on Friday — and took questions from the press. He was far more aggressive in his tone about the possibility of Russian involvement. Over the weekend, the story of Secretary of State John Kerry’s on mic but off camera comments before a Fox News Channel interview drove much of the chatter. On Monday, Obama was back on TV with an even more aggressive stance on Russia — “What exactly are they trying to hide?” he asked about Russian separatists reportedly limiting access to the crash site — while also juggling an executive order banning discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation among federal contractors, hosting a town hall aimed at pushing his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative and trying to cajole Congress into helping him deal with the ongoing crisis of undocumented children at the country’s southern border. Oh, and he also was trying to walk a fine line between defending Israel’s right to defend itself with somewhat critical comments about the number of Palestinian civilian deaths occasioned by the military operation in Gaza. And, double oh, he and his staff will have to continue to fend off Republican criticism of a three day fundraising tour he leaves on tomorrow — a cash-collection trip that GOPers believe looks unseemly amid the various domestic and international crises happening at the moment.

It’s exhausting to write that paragraph — much less live it. And, it speaks to the impossibility of convincing partisans pre-disposed not to like you or your intentions/methods, the need to be ever-present on every issue and the difficulty of trying to drive home your preferred message of the day, week or year.

All of that is not to excuse President Obama. He has struggled to contain self-inflicted wounds — particularly in his second term — ranging from the IRS scandal to the problems of vets receiving adequate and timely care. His relations with Congress — Democrats included — have never been warm and, as a result, his ability to ask for the benefit of the doubt is non-existent. His underestimation of just how polarized the country and the Congress have become was entirely avoidable; senior members of his inner circle — many of whom came directly from the campaign(s) — were all too aware of that reality. His belief in his own powers of persuasion — to the Congress and the country — were also heavily overrated.

But, it’s hard to see how Obama could be considered “successful” even if he hadn’t made the various mistakes — in governance and the politics of politics — that he did. His presidency began at a time not only of unprecedented polarization in Congress and the country but also at a moment in which a president’s ability to bend the country to his will had reached a low ebb.

There are a number of ways I could respond to this. the first and most obvious is to say “WE TOLD YOU SO!” again. Because we did. The only thing we got wrong about Obama is that he turned out even worse than we predicted. His presidency has truly been epic and historic, but not in a good way.

I could also point to the media’s role in selling a heavily overrated candidate to the American people. If the media had given Obama half the scrutiny that they gave Sarah Palin, Obama would never have been awarded the Democratic nomination. He might not have even made it past Iowa.

On the other hand, Powerline has a pretty good reaction:


Whenever a Democratic president gets into trouble, the predictable chorus starts up: The job of President of the United States is just too difficult for anyone to master.


People stopped saying this about halfway through Reagan’s presidency. Maybe there’s a substantive reason for that. Notice how all the elite complaints about the problems of the presidency always abstract from the substantive views and actions of the occupant. The possibility that maybe we have a crappy president never seems to enter into consideration.

And remember this operating rule: Pay no attention to elite liberals when they trot out their complaints about the inadequacy of our constitutional republic, and their suggestions for reform that always, by some strange coincidence, would increase their influence in the corridors of power.

Modern liberalism’s remedy for any failure of government is always MORE government.

That brings us to the point that I really wanted to make, which is that POTUS has become Too Big To Fail®.

Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex, and he was right. But we also have Big Brother (aka the “national security state”) and Big Sister (aka the “nanny state”) to worry about, along with the regulatory state and the bureaucratic state that is filled with civil service grandees.

But in reality they are one entity known as the Executive Branch. Worst of all, the Executive Branch is run by a single person: POTUS. Very few people are both capable and trustworthy enough to wield that much power and Obama is not one of them.

The American people are partly (if not mostly) to blame for the current situation. We expect POTUS to do way too much. Unfortunately we have also given him too much power. We need to take some of that power away from POTUS and give it back to Congress and the states. Some of it we should take back from government entirely.

We need to return to the concept of divided government, federalism and limited powers. The problem is that long ago we allowed the camel to stick its nose in our tent. Now we have a big smelly camel in the middle of our tent and he doesn’t want to leave.


About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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77 Responses to POTUS Is Too Big To Fail

  1. DandyTIger says:

    All I can say is yes, and shake my head. Would be nice if there were a way to find out if any person voted twice for Obama, and similarly voted twice for GWB. Those people should be banned from voting. Maybe they should have their drivers licenses taken away while we’re at it. Bad people, no donut.

  2. The Klown says:

    Middle class America is no less violent than any other people.

    They seem passive because they’re results oriented.

    They rise not out of blood frenzy but to solve the otherwise insoluble. Their methods of choice are good will, cooperation, forbearance, negotiation and finally, appeasement, roughly in that order. Only when these fail to end the abuse do they revert to blowback. And they do so irretrievably. Once the course is set and the outcome defined, doubt is put aside. The middle class is known, condemned actually, for carrying out violence with the efficiency of an industrial project where bloody destruction at any scale is not only in play, it’s a metric. Remorse is left for the next generation, they’ll have the leisure for it. We’d like to believe this is merely dark speculation. History says it isn’t.

    • WMCB says:

      Productive doers value order. They wouldn’t be productive doers if they didn’t. So they will put up with almost anything so long as the basic structure holds. They will retreat and appease and retreat some more. They may fume, but they will not turn a hand to destruction. They want to protect the structure.

      But once they become convinced that the basic structure/fabric of their community/life is under serious threat, and is going down? They will fucking annihilate that threat. If you ever push hard enough to get a good man to go to war, he goes to WAR, with scary singlemindedness.

  3. The Klown says:
  4. The Klown says:

    Vox.com represents the Obot Left.

  5. The Klown says:

    I am soooo looking forward to another Hillary candidacy.

  6. The Klown says:
  7. driguana says:

    And this raises the biggest and most difficult question of all: what do we do about it? How do we get out of this governmental mess we have gotten ourselves in to? By voting? By constitutional amendments? How do we begin to bring together the divisiveness so apparent in this country? By all believing in the same things? That ain’t gonna happen…

    Good post…made my morning. I’m off to commiserate with the plants…

    • elliesmom says:

      I think term limits for everyone in government would help. Don’t give anyone the time to establish their crony network in too deep. Make it easier to run against an incumbent. Then candidates would have to listen to their constituents more and actually deliver. Unfortunately, the people who would have to vote term limits in are the people it would cost their jobs.
      As far as the divisiveness goes, that’s largely a phenomenon created by the press. You would think the country is starkly divided on issues like abortion, but we aren’t. If a law was passed making abortion on demand without question legal for the first 12 weeks, medically suggested for the next 8, and only to save the life of the mother after that, the majority of Americans would support it. Pew has done the research. But the press gins up fear a step like that is a slippery slope to ban abortion altogether, and the dancing vaginas come out. They insist on unrestricted abortion rights, and the ban abortion altogether group comes out. But the vast majority of Americans just get up and go to work.

      • 49erDweet says:

        Re: the term limits point, we may have erred in bumping up the salaries of legislators when we made it TOO financially attractive for inexperienced people

        • 49erDweet says:

          …to make “being elected to something” a career choice.

          • Lulu says:

            I’m starting to think one of the big problems in gov is not just the dregs running for elective office but the “appointed” ones who can’t even get elected to something. Agencies, commissions, etc being run by people so awful they can’t even get elected anymore. And the worst lawyers who get cycled in and out of government because they can’t make any money for firms and have to take government gigs. And I forgot fired corporate losers. Third rate hacks is being generous in describing them. Think Sebelius and Lerner. Dumb as bricks.

          • 49erDweet says:

            Yep. While trying to be “fair” and “inclusive”, we dumbed down and became stupid.

          • 49erDweet says:

            Further to the point, it’s the stupid ones who because they can’t think on their feet, become hyper defensive and overreact with divisive animus.

          • The Klown says:

            Don’t forget about the corrupt ones that go from running businesses to regulating them and then after a few years go back to running them at huge new salaries.

        • 49erDweet says:

          I don’t care so much their party affiliation, but it would be nice if the people we elected had been successful in ANY type of endeavor besides the entertainment industry.

      • driguana says:

        Great point about abortion….I think that probably correct….there are always ways to get people to agree on most things…just takes some time, open minds and a good leader.

      • threewickets says:

        Yes agree that much of the flamey divisiveness is about the partisan media/press who create the illusion the whole nation is neatly divided between Team Red and Team Blue. Helps them make money for their “news” organizations so they can keep their jobs. Helps the useless Congress people build their brands. Helps the big financial/corporate money keep flowing into the Washington lobbying industrial complex…the fastest growing sector in the US economy today. And every two years, the perception of flamey hatred between the two sides helps get out the vote.

        Key thing though is that the politicos who play this game number in the few thousands. The nation’s adult population is 250 million people. Most of the time, they’re more concerned with finding/holding jobs, putting food on the table, raising families, etc. They don’t care about these staged pro-wrestling-like political throwdown shows in Washington which are ultimately controlled by Wall Street plutocrats anyway.

    • Constance says:

      Take out the old media. Of course they have pretty much taken themselves out by being such a bunch of airheaded twits.

  8. The Klown says:
  9. 49erDweet says:

    I looked and looked, but couldn’t find a photo on the internet of Chris “Mad Bitch Beer” Sleaza in his cute little cheerleading outfit.

  10. DeniseVB says:

    If Cheney/Rove were Bush’s brains, who’s Obama’s. Valerie Jarrett ? Joe Biden? That’s not reassuring as are BO’s other appointments to help him run the country. Just a pack of frat boys, bundlers and a smattering of women who wouldn’t have made Romney’s binders. The whole administration is sucky and afraid of Obama. You know those “funny” Hitler videos ? Yeah, like those 😀

    Good rant on National Journal ….it may have been posted before but I just love when a liberal leaning source gets all ranty-panty in a twist.


  11. DeniseVB says:

    I saw this over at Breitbart and had a good chuckle. I really don’t think we’re “haters” here? I really do think we have thoughtful and constructive discussions on why Obama’s such a miserable failure. Oh, and here’s proof, you haters you 😉

    During a town hall with young people, President Obama explained how he deals with people who criticize him.
    “I just don’t watch TV,” Obama joked, after he was asked about his critics during a town hall promoting the White House “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.
    Obama advised young people to listen to critics who actually had their interests at heart.
    “Who gives you constructive criticism because they’re invested in the same things you are but maybe can see the things you can’t, versus folks who are just — what’d someone say — hatin’? Somebody just hatin’, just haters?” Obama said.
    Obama said that people should only focus on “constructive criticism.”
    “One thing you should learn is, if somebody is being constructive in their criticism, usually they are not criticizing you, they’re criticizing your actions and what you do and are giving you something specific,” Obama said.
    Obama used a basketball metaphor to explain himself, comparing a coach who has specific goals for players versus a coach that tells a player they’re no good.
    “If they can’t, if all they’re saying is, ‘You’re not worth nothin,’ then that’s probably not something that you want to pay a lot of attention to,” Obama said. “Does that make sense?”

  12. Mary says:

    OT: Fox reporting federal court struck down the Obamacare subsidy rule.

    IE, legislation passed specifically denies subsidies to state-run exchanges; court ruled HHS had no power to extend subsidies to same, based on legislation passed.

    Well well well.

    • Mary says:

      OK, got that backwards—sorry.

      Court ruled the legislation allows ONLY subsidies for state exchanges, and NOT for the federal exchange, since fed exchange is not mentioned in legislation (added later by HHS). Thus, subsidies in the federal exchange are illegal.
      Ruling from a federal appeals court, 2-1 vote.

    • Lulu says:

      Holy shit. When everything goes to hell the hell just keeps on coming. Bronco is officially snake bit now. And the court did not release this on a Friday at 6:45 PM. LOL.

  13. The Klown says:

    MSNBC: Clinton Has “Lost Control” Of Public Image, Worse Off After Book Fiasco:

  14. The Klown says:


    • The Klown says:

      As the world burns, President Barack Obama decided that an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live amid a three-day fundraiser swing down the West Coast would be a touch too gauche.

      Okay, the moment has passed and the world returns to normal.

  15. The Klown says:
    • Lulu says:

      The greatest legal genius the world has ever known can’t win a legal case. He doesn’t even seem to understand them. I sense that Democratic appointed judges are seeing the writing on the wall. If Dems (prezzies, bureaucratic functionaries, Congress pod people, and judges) continue to ignore statutory language the exact same thing can be done by a bunch of Republicans who are polling better than they are at present. Dems have traditionally been better at law-fare than Repubs but this Harvard Law School prezzie seems to have screwed that up too. Bronco seems to have squandered every single Dem advantage.

    • WMCB says:

  16. foxyladi14 says:

    Bet Barry is crying in his honey ale. 😆

  17. SHV says:

    “Contrary to the D.C. Circuit decision today, the 4th Circuit upholds the Obamacare federal exchange subsidy. Maybe the Obama admin knew about the opinion, which would explain why it was so confident subsidies would flow pending court cases.”


  18. The Klown says:

    ABC’s Jon Karl Eviscerates Lie That Obama’s Schedule is Busy:

  19. The Klown says:
  20. DeniseVB says:

    Boom ! 😉

  21. WMCB says:

    I hope this is a parody, not real. Because it’s sooooo bad it’s embarrassing.

  22. foxyladi14 says:

    WE have a lot of patriots with Guns. 🙂

  23. Propertius says:

    Modern liberalism’s remedy for any failure of government is always MORE government.

    Well, to be fair the remedy usually also involves some scheme to shift power to the Northeast (and parts of California), leaving “flyover country” with negligible representation.

    You forgot that part.

  24. threewickets says:

    You know if Obama is impeached, it should be for winning the Presidency twice with OFA’s brown shirt campaign strategy of “Vote Obama or Be Racist.” More cowardly and deceitful frankly than anything Nixon’s crew ever did. Not to mention the fact that 40 million African Americans are doing worse economically than when Obama first took office, and in the majority of cases significantly worse. This while Wall Street continues to have a party.

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