Predictable things are starting to happen to the presidency of Barack Obama, which hasn’t even started yet but is already marked by a stunning series of serious setbacks. We hope these will not be an equally predictable distraction from Obama’s essential confrontation with neo-Soviet Russia.
On Friday morning, as the U.S. posted a net loss of more than half a million jobs for the second straight month and the unemployment rate rose above 7%, the front page of the New York Times website, one of Obama’s biggest cheerleaders, carried both a news story about how Democrats on Capitol Hill were attacking Obama’s proposed stimulus package and a blistering op-ed from Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman condemning Obama on the same grounds.
Conservatives had no time to enjoy the Democratic infighting, though. They were too busy issuing withering condemnations of their own, responding to Obama’s choice of the utterly unqualified bureaucrat Leon Panetta to run the Central Intelligence Agency.
Meanwhile, Obama’s proposed chief of staff is mired in the scandal that has led to the impeachment of the governor of Obama’s home state for trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder. One of Obama’s chief fundraisers has been sent to prison for corruption, and has turned informant to reduce his sentence. And David Broder, dean of the Washington Press corps, ridiculed Obama for being unable to stop the nearly defunct governor’s nose-thumbing nomination to fill his former seat.
And Obama hasn’t even taken the oath of office yet!
We fear that events like these will distract President Obama from the crucial task of standing up to the threat posed by neo-Soviet Russia both to Western security and Western values. Even without these distractions, we worried long before he was elected that Obama lacked the basic foreign policy chops to even understand the issue, much less to develop and effective response. Now, the prospects seem even more abysmally bleak.
We retain an open mind, and hope President Obama will surprise us with his courage, his energy and his committment to the values he claimed during his campaign. But we are not Obamtamistic about it.