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Obama Both Incompetent and Consequential

I have a high regard for Paul Mirengoff, who writes for Powerlineblog.com. In a recent post, Mirengoff, in responding to something I had written, said the following:

Peter Wehner calls President Obama “Jimmy Carter without Camp David.” It’s a great line, and one I’d like to subscribe to. But is it apt?

If we are to make the analogy, then Jimmy Carter can be cast as Barack Obama without Obamacare. And if Republicans cooperate with Democrats to enact amnesty-style immigration reform, Carter will be Obama without Obamacare and amnesty.

Obamacare (assuming no repeal) and significant pro-illegal immigrant reform would be enough to make Obama’s presidency of more than average consequence. Carter’s presidency, even with Camp David, was inconsequential except to the extent that it paved the way for Reagan’s.

I’ll take this opportunity to clarify what I was saying. My point about President Obama being Jimmy Carter without Camp David has to do with Mr. Obama being incompetent; I wasn’t arguing that he’s inconsequential.

To take these two categories in order. I’m not sure I could name a single area President Obama has been successful in–economic growth and job creation, dealing with long-term unemployment and the number of people leaving the labor market, health-care reform, the stimulus, our fiscal balance, reducing poverty and income inequality, outreach to the Arab and Islamic world, impeding Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Russian “reset,” America’s pivot to Asia and our relations with China, relations with our allies, transparency, reducing the influence of lobbyists and special-interest groups, decreasing political polarization and partisan divisions, and more. President Obama has been, by my lights, an across-the-board failure.

That said, there’s no question that Mr. Obama has been a consequential president. The damage he’s inflicted on our nation has been significant, comprehensive, and durable–including but not limited to the Affordable Care Act.

The degree to which we can unwind the disaster of the Obama era is unclear. I don’t for a moment underestimate the harm America’s 44th president has done to our nation. But on matters of sheer competence, I’ll stick with my assessment: Barack Obama is Jimmy Carter without Camp David.



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