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Tags: ruddy | obama | health | care

Obama's Glory Days Fading Fast

Christopher Ruddy By Sunday, 04 October 2009 11:03 PM Current | Bio | Archive

“Glory days well they'll pass you by . . . Glory days . . . in the wink of a young girl's eye.”

Barack Obama’s “glory days,” as Bruce Springsteen might have called them, are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

No president has ever come into office with so much anticipation — and no president has seen his approval ratings crumble so quickly, at least as long as such statistics have been kept.

Obama’s low approval numbers are linked closely with his increasingly unpopular “healthcare reform” plan, which is in jeopardy as it founders in Congress and in the public's eye.

One sign the Democratic healthcare plan is in trouble is the fact that most of the Sunday talk shows during the weekend were focused on Afghanistan.

Most of the major media have been rooting for Obama’s socialist healthcare plan. Now that it is encountering serious resistance in Congress, the press decides to ignore the story. Next . . . .

Afghanistan is an important issue, but healthcare should have been the big topic of the day with the Obama plan coming down to the wire in Congress.

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But it wasn’t top news because polls show massive dissatisfaction with Obama and his healthcare program.

Moderate Democrats are not blind: They see the same polls and are worried. Obama is no longer popular or invincible, and congressional elections are now just right around the corner.

No wonder many people in Washington want to change the subject.

This is not the first time a president facing a daunting domestic problem suddenly changes the subject to some foreign crisis. The Obama administration clearly is ratcheting up the rhetoric about Afghanistan.

Interestingly, Gen. Stanley McChrystal revealed on “60 Minutes” that he and Obama had only spoken once, and briefly, via a videoconference since Obama became president.

For sure, Afghanistan is not the most pressing problem facing the United States, but it is a festering one that could get critically worse.

The mission to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban began as a well-intentioned one. But we have discovered Iraq redux: creating a stable puppet regime is not so easy.

Afghanistan does have some differences from the Iraq quagmire. One is that fact that the Afghan war, launched in 2001, received broad global support and was led by NATO.

As Obama mulls the idea of a “surge” — of up to 40,000 troops — the question is why he can’t use his political muscle to get NATO, not the United States, to cough up the additional troops.

One reason is that Europe simply does not take the new president seriously. Perhaps global interest in Obama is waning, and quickly.

One clue was the devastating defeat the president witnessed firsthand when he traveled to Copenhagen to lobby personally for the 2016 Olympics for his hometown of Chicago.

America and Obama were not only rejected but also rejected badly: The United States received the least amount of votes and was eliminated in the first round.

What an embarrassment for the president after making a personal plea!

Personally, I would have liked Obama to have gotten the Olympic trophy for the United States, if for no other reason that he be perceived strong on the world stage. The country faces too many serious threats abroad, not to mention an economic crisis at home, for the world to think our president is weak.

Whatever our political differences at home, we don’t want our president viewed as weak, as that could have terrible results for our country.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama is demonstrating weakness. Who advised him to go to Copenhagen and leave himself so vulnerable? Or does the president believe his own press releases and think the “Obama effect” will cause other nations simply to roll over?

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The president is an amateur. We are seeing this as more and more by his actions.

We saw it with the president’s recent announcement at the G-20 to expose Iran’s secret nuclear enrichment facility. European leaders, including France’s Sarkozy, reportedly were angered that the president did not use the U.N. Security Council meeting, held just the day before in New York, to confront Iran.

Obama’s excuse? Supposedly he didn’t want the news of Iran’s facility to "spoil the image of success" he wanted after he pushed through an anti-nuclear weapons resolution at the world body.

Press reports say that Sarkozy believes the president is terribly naïve. It is widely acknowledged now that Sarkozy, not Obama, has taken the leadership role in holding Iran accountable for its flagrant violations of international rules regarding its nuclear weapons program.

On the domestic front, the president also is demonstrating weakness. Despite facing the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression (his description), he has spent the better part of his first nine months in office attempting to push through a radical healthcare bill.

Healthcare is not in immediate crisis, and Obama’s efforts do nothing to address the economic crisis. In fact, his healthcare plan, if it passes, may make things worse, as it will lead to more mandates, taxes, and “fees” to pay for 30 million new patients he wants to add to the government system.

And despite the recession, other key agenda items for the president in the coming months include a cap-and-trade bill that will add more costs to the energy expenses of consumers and businesses and immigration reform that will make millions more eligible for government entitlement programs.

As the first year of President Obama’s new administration draws to a close, it is becoming increasingly clear that Americans are realizing what European leaders such as Sarkozy see, that President Obama doesn’t have a clue.

We really shouldn’t be surprised. We elected a man whose most significant job outside of politics was as a “community organizer.”

The nation’s economic situation has not improved, and we likely will soon face serious threats abroad. We can only hope that Barack Obama begins to learn from his mistakes.

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“Glory days well they'll pass you by. . . Glory days. . . in the wink of a young girl's eye.”Barack Obama’s “glory days,” as Bruce Springsteen might have called them, are quickly becoming a thing of the past.No president has ever come into office with so much anticipation —...
Sunday, 04 October 2009 11:03 PM
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