In October of 2011, I would have given President Obama a eighty percent of winning. Today? I'm figuring it's fifty-five percent at best. The real question here....if things tend to fall toward Mitt Romney in November....where did the Obama team screw up? So here are my ten things.
First, the top priority after the stimulus emergency (the first big project of the administration)....should have been tax reform and job creation. It wasn't. We ended up with around an entire year of strictly the health care reform episode. The Republicans would have been hard-pressed to oppose tax reform and job creation....although maybe the Democrats would have been just as hard-pressed to accept tax reform and certain types of job creation.
Second, maybe it wasn't intentionally planned....but some folks got the impression that the President was in campaign mode from day one of the Presidency....until today. The rhetoric, the topics, the continual dumping on the Republicans, etc.
Third, over the first year of the Presidency....you'd turn around about every couple of weeks, and some new Czar position had been created. The explanation simply was that they were to be "experts" on something. At one point....I think there were at least twenty Czars. Each Czar ended up with a small staff and a travel budget. They didn't really report to anyone....except the President. My humble opinion was that most of the Czars were around to give speeches in favor of White House positions....and little else.
Fourth, the "I'm sorry" routine. Somewhere over 2009....the President finally had maxed out, and I think over the past twelve months....he's been very careful about uttering any regrets to anyone. The thing is....as President....you ought to limit yourself to two or three a year max. After that....you look a bit silly.
Fifth, from October of 2008 through the election and maybe the first three months of the Presidency.....it was largely touted about his abilities to get various groups to the table and work consolidated agendas. He was....the community organizer (as we were told). To be honest and humble.....you just don't find any attempt in the first ninety days of the Presidency to work a joint plan. There's not a single effort that comes out as focused on both political groups. Over the past year? You start to wonder if the President, even as a community organizer.....ever took widely focused groups and combined their agendas.
Sixth, every problem in the US economy.....always got dumped back on Wall Street and the evil companies. The only good companies in America? Bankrupt or marginal Green-environmental companies....or solar companies. After you've heard this speech about a dozen times.....you start laughing. Surely his staff should have figured this out in 2010 after the November election.....but they act like it was a fluke.
Seventh, the TV show routine? Well....it's not world-class material. You can't think of any President who ran off and performed Oprah-like interviews on a continual basis. The jokes.....the flashy style....the pep talks....it's just not what most folks think of an executive leader. Someone on the White House staff should have said that early on. Two or three appearances a year....on strictly interview situations....would have been right. Otherwise, we are stuck with this image of having the Fonzy-President in the White House.
Eighth, Erik Holder as Attorney General. There's not a lot that you can really say. The Fast and Furious investigation will eventually flip over to the Mexican government, and they will prosecute a number of Americans who work for the Obama White House. You get the impression that either Holder knew about the mess and did nothing....or he knew absolutely nothing when he should have known something. Either way.....the White House ends up with a bad image over the mess.
Ninth, the Gitmo fake. Well....the President won world approval and got fantastic applause over his announcement of the closure of Gitmo. Four years later? It still runs, and they've actually added onto the place (a soccer field). On the fake promise scale....this was a ten. In some ways, he has to worry constantly about some reporter breaching his circle and asking a stupid question over Gitmo.
Tenth, the teleprompter actually made him a four-star president....at least in the eyes of some folks. If you took away the teleprompter.....I suspect that he'd be mostly in the style of Jimmy Carter or George W Bush.....an average speaker at best. You could always tell when he had the teleprompter in place and giving one of his magnificent speeches. The public also got used to noticing that. And they came to realize that he wasn't quiet as good as they originally thought.