How bad has 2013 been for Barack Obama? Let us count the ways.
In the first year of his second term, the president has failed on virtually every front. He put his prestige on the line to pass federal gun-control legislation–and lost. He made climate change a central part of his inaugural address–and nothing has happened. The president went head-to-head with Republicans on sequestration–and he failed. He’s been forced to delay implementation of the employer mandate, a key feature of the Affordable Care Act. ObamaCare is more unpopular than ever, and it’s turning out to be a “train wreck” (to quote Democratic Senator Max Baucus) in practice. The most recent jobs report was the worst in a year, with the Obama recovery already qualifying as a historically weak one. Immigration reform is going nowhere. And then there’s Syria, which has turned out to be an epic disaster. (To be sure, Mr. Obama’s Middle East failures go well beyond Syria–but Syria is the most conspicuous failure right now).
In watching the Obama presidency dissolve before our eyes, there is a cautionary tale to be told. Every presidency falls short of the expectations that the candidate sets. But no man has ever promised more and delivered less than the current occupant of the Oval Office.
All of the extravagant promises and claims–of “Yes We Can!” and “we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for;” of hope and change and slowing the rise of the oceans; of claiming his candidacy would “ring out across this land as a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, make this time different than all the rest”–lie in ruin. (I’d urge you to watch this short video clip from the 2008 campaign to more fully appreciate the crushing disappointment that results from what Mr. Obama said he would achieve versus what he’s been able to achieve.)
In all of this one is reminded of the wisdom of the Book of Proverbs, which warns that “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The president has been shown to be a man out of his depth time and again. But here’s the problem: Mr. Obama’s failures have inflicted great and durable harm on the United States. This may be worth keeping in mind the next time an eloquent community organizer decides he’s ready to be commander in chief.