The Audacity of Weakness.
So, (capitulating on the the day of his jobs program speech to Boehner) leads to the eternal question of whether Obama is just weak or if he is a brilliant strategist who has been playing rope-a-dope all along. I am so silly that I still had hope. My hope this morning was that Obama was laying a trap for the Republicans. He picks a day for his speech that is the same as the GOP debate. Then if Boehner says he won't let him give the speech on that day, he seems so petty and harsh.
That way, either the president gives his big speech on jobs and bigfoots the Republican contenders or the Republicans look disrespectful and petulant for turning down the president. Well, if you're playing rope-a-dope, that's not a bad maneuver. But it turns out that's not what he was doing at all. He just stumbled into this problem and then stumbled out when he let Boehner dictate when he could and could not have his speech. That looks so sad.
You see, if you're playing rope-a-dope, at some point you have to actually swing. When your opponent has worn himself out knocking you around the ring, you counter-attack. But that counter-attack is never coming. We're holding our collective breaths in vain.
Really, I go back all the way to the second debate with John McCain (the one where they stood at lecterns, not the first one where they sat on stools and walked around, or the third one where they sat at the 'newsdesk'). I watched it at a public venue, the Cotton Exchange bar in downtown Houston. Peter Brown sat right beside me. I was literally screaming "punch back!" at the television.
This must be how parents feel when they have a child who keeps getting bullied at school.
I long ago realized that Obama just wasn't a fighter. And the problem with that is -- see, people understand this instinctively -- if you won't fight back for yourself, you sure as hell won't fight for anybody else.
Why is this definitely not rope-a-dope? Because Obama hates risk. Even his most ardent supporters will tell you that he does not like to take big risks. He thinks it is imprudent. They see that as one of his strengths. McCain was a wild gambler, Obama was a cautious and smart poker player. That's why he won the election.
But would a man who dislikes risk that much risk his entire presidency on a strategy where he gets pummeled for three straight years and then finally comes out swinging at the very end? No way. That's a tremendous amount of risk. I don't mind taking plenty of risks, and I wouldn't do anything half that crazy.
No, the answer is much simpler. He doesn't realize he's getting pummeled. He thinks this is all still a genius strategy to capture centrists by compromising on every single little thing. He is not trying to put on an appearance of weakness to lull his opponent into a false sense of complacency. He doesn't even realize he is being weak. He's the one with the false sense of complacency. As he's getting knocked around the ring, he thinks he's winning.
These guys in the Obama camp are in for a horrible, rude awakening. Sometime in the next year, they are going to blink and realize they are lying flat on their back on the canvas. Then as they finally stumble up, they'll realize they should have started fighting 11 rounds ago. Then a panic will set in, but I'm afraid it will be too late by then.
I feel like I'm watching that movie Million Dollar Baby, and the fight scenes where she gets mortally wounded are in slow motion. We still have over a year to go of this scene.
Here is what all voters, and especially independents, despise and disdain in a politician -- weakness. Nobody wants to see their leader get beat to a pulp every night and then bow his head again.
There is no secret, brilliant strategy. This White House is in a bubble. They think they're winning when the roof is about to cave in.
Did I forget to mention that since he caved on his jobs speech, he also caved to the Republicans and the oil companies on EPA regulations?
But nothing tops the quarrel our nation's leaders had over a speech about jobs for America conflicting with a primary debate. And now that speech conflicts with the opening game of the NFL season. Thank goodness the NFL isn't whining about that.
Update: Oops. They did.
The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints kick off at 8:30. Would the president mind too terribly much speaking before the game so as not to interfere? Once again, Obama obliged.
I suppose conflicting with the pre-game is no problem. The president should just be thankful he's not going up against American Idol. Or Dancing With the Stars.
We're all the way to Idiocracy now.
I think we're done. I know I am.
Update: Susan still holds a flicker of hope.