THE BLOG
08/02/2011 11:37 am ET Updated Oct 02, 2011

Are We Witnessing a Failed Presidency and the Demise of Hope?

Or is America merely experiencing the 21st Century's first successful Republican Party counter-revolution against an elected Democratic Party President? In either case, how did we get here?

The noted columnist Frank Rich, writing in the July 11, 2011 of New York Magazine, in an article captioned "Obama's Original Sin," wrote:

The President's failure to demand a reckoning from the moneyed interests who brought the economy down has cursed his first term, and could prevent a second... Obama had taken office at a true populist moment (but) By failing to address populist anger, Obama gave his enemies the opening to co-opt it and turn it against him. Which the tea party did, dishonestly but brilliantly.

Democratic Strategist and Political Pollster, Stanley Greenberg, in The Week In Review, section of Sunday's New York Times (July 31, 2011) in an article titled "Why Voters Tune Out Democrats" reported:

Our research shows that the growth of self-identified conservatives began in the fall of 2008 with the Wall Street bailout, well before Mr. Obama embarked on his recovery and spending program. The public watched the elite and leaders of both parties rush to the rescue. The government saved irresponsible executives who bankrupted their own companies, hurt many people and threatened the welfare of the country. When Mr. Obama championed the bailout of the auto companies and allowed senior executives at bailed-out companies to take bonuses, voters concluded that he was part of the operating elite consensus.

Everything they witness affirms the public's developing view of how government really works. They see a nexus of money and power, greased by special interest lobbyists and large campaign donations that make these outcomes irresistible. They do not believe the fundamentals have really changed in Mr. Obama's Washington.

Against this background, how should the recent Deficit Reduction Debt Ceiling deal negotiated by Obama and Democratic Party Congressional leadership be judged?

New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman commented:

Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling. Maybe it's just me, but I see a pattern here.

Make no mistake about it, what we're witnessing here is a catastrophe on multiple levels. It is... a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn't over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.

Obama publicly proclaimed the merits and value of a package of "shared sacrifice" to be in the best interests of our country, assuming a negotiated deal with the Republicans consisting of tax revenues in the form of ending tax subsidies for corporate jet owners, oil companies, hedge fund managers "carried interest," etc and reductions in government spending. The deal just concluded includes no tax reform or revenues at a time when taxes in the United States are at the lowest percentage of GDP in 60 years. President Clinton's first economic plan used a 50-50 mix of tax increases and spending cuts to cut the deficit when he was in office.

Criticism of Obama seems to focus most on his leadership style or more harshly, lack of presidential leadership. I think this lets his critics in the Democratic Party off the hook. It distances them and implicitly absolves them of any culpability or responsibility for the political origin of the current deal President Obama felt compelled to accept to insure against a credit default by the government of the United States.

The political response to the Tea Party should be for Democrats to engage them in door to door, community by community, and district by district, in trenches on the ground, voter registration and voter organization "combat" in support of those precepts and principles espoused by the Democratic Party. The Tea Party won at the polls in the 2010 Midterm elections because they out-organized, out planned, and out voted those persons in the Democratic Party who are now Obama's principal critics.

This is not to suggest that Obama's leadership is immune from criticism. Regrettably, he and his advisors see a nation where joblessness does not appear to be their urgent domestic priority, at least other than start and stop job creating initiatives. If, in fact, job creation was an urgent priority, less time should be spent by them defending what they say they have done, instead of pointing to concrete results, in specific industries, where new jobs have been created that will offset the current 9.2 percent unemployment; or more effective real life rate of 16 percent.

Shortly after Obama reneged on his commitment to end the Bush tax cuts, I thought this was so egregious that thereafter I raised the question in a blog column of whether or not serious consideration should be given to challenging Obama's re-election in the Democratic Presidential primary. After thoughtful reflection and analysis, at that time, in a subsequent blog I retracted this possibility as a politically viable or appropriate action. Under present circumstances, however, while I do not, others may want to re-consider this as political option to their perceived failure of Obama's leadership of the Democratic Party.

If we are witnessing a failed Presidency in real-time, and a demise of hope, then the unavoidable question is to what degree do those persons who worked tirelessly to elect Obama in 2008, many of whom now criticize him, bear any responsibility for their AWOL participation in the 2010 Mid Term elections?"