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The "Failed" Presidency of Barack Obama

Bill Berkowitz: The "Failed" Presidency of Barack Obama

by Bill Berkowitz

A) Not!
B) Not yet!
C) Not really!
D) Not Now!
E) Not On Your Life!
F) All of the Above.
G) None of the Above.

Calm down already The sky isn't going to fall if _____ (fill in the blank) is in the Cabinet or _____ (fill in the blank) is a close advisor. Although the inauguration of President-elect Obama isn't scheduled for a number of weeks, the nattering nabobs of negativism are ranting and raving.

The right is apoplectic, the left alarmed. Shortly after the election, The Rapture Index at sailed above the 160 mark, which according to its webmaster, means "fasten your safety belts."

The media can't downshift out of hyperbolic campaign mode.

Less than three weeks after the election of Barack Obama -- viewed by many throughout the world as a transformational moment -- two things are clear: political junkies from all points of the spectrum are getting their licks in, and the chattering classes have much too much time on their hands.

The American people? They're anxious for results, not exclamations of doubt, uncertainty, or concern.

According to "Breaking News" brokers at CNN, FOX or MSNBC (How can the same news story be "Breaking" at 8:30 in the morning and still be "Breaking" at 5 at night?), the appointment of _____ as _____ is _____ and will lead to _____.

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That woman will _____ (fill in the blank)! That man will _____ (fill in the blank)!

Oi vey already (no blank needed)!!!

The subtext of all the critiques, warnings, alerts, bloviating, and blank filling is "What if the Obama presidency is a failed presidency!"

But, how can that be? He hasn't even taken office yet. Talk about "premature prognostication syndrome!"

In an Obama Administration, leaders on the Religious Right foresee the downfall of Western Civilization, fearing that the new president could issue up to 200 Executive Orders overturning Bush policies. To Focus on the Family's James Dobson, the Traditional Values Coalition's Lou Sheldon, and the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, Obama is seen as being on a search and destroy mission, with traditional family values in the crosshairs.
The scolds on the secular right, from the Heritage Foundation to the Club for Growth, warn that a new New Deal, more regulations, and tax cuts for the middle class will capsize gains they've made over the past three decades.

On the left, annoyed progressives are disappointed that Obama appears to be filling his cabinet with Clintonistas; retreads with ties to big corporations and lobbying groups.

Some are bemoaning a shelter-mutt rescue seems to be morphing into designer dogdom.

Everybody's got an opinion. And that's a good thing. Democracy and all that: cheers!

Ever wondered what the disparate figures consumer advocate Ralph Nader and al Queda's Ayman al-Zawahiri have in common: Both are exceedingly gloomy about Obama's prospects and have used racial slurs in referring to him.

In an interview with the Fox News Channel's Shepard Smith, while the election results were still rolling in, Nader questioned whether Obama will be an "Uncle Sam or an Uncle Tom." Al-Zawahiri took to a post-election 11+-minute video to say that Obama was "the direct opposite of honorable black Americans" and he went on to call Obama a "house Negro." Of course, al-Zawahiri was rooting for McCain and Ralph was rooting for himself. Having a laugh yet?

Why the wall-to-wall negativity? Why the minute-by-minute scrutiny? Can it be as simple as negativity sells? But what exactly is being sold? And to whom? Air-time on the cable news networks?

But, just to be clear: Researchers gathering and reporting information about Obama's appointments, aides, and advisors? A good thing. Transparency and debate? A good thing. Cheers to that!

Conclusion jumping? Premature.

Maybe it's an eye of the beholder type thing. Before the election, people had decidedly different views about who they thought Obama was. You know: He's clean and articulate; the most liberal Senator in Congress; the Anti-Christ; That One; The Savior; a Chicago-type politician; a man you could believe in; a smart guy that likes to bring people together.

The reality of putting together a functioning team ready to take on the unprecedented challenges that are facing this country is daunting.

So right about now, if the nation's chatterers are keen on finding a slogan to replace "Yes We Can" or Change You Can Believe In," let me suggest "Calm Down!"

The bottom line: The American people could care less about what the talking heads, Sunday morning gasbags, pundits, bloggers, and twitterers are saying about Obama. On January 20, he will take the oath of office. Then, my friends, the real games will begin!



Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement and a frequent writer for Media Transparency and other online publications. He documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right from a progressive perspective.

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