President Obama's Horrible September
What color is the sky in the political media's world? Each week this month has begun with some variation of "Romney is doomed." We've had rabid amplification of Romney "gaffes" interspersed with the traditional "campaign infighting" stories. There has also been a dash of trolling for anonymous quotes from "GOP strategists" wringing their hands and predicting defeat in the Fall. Meanwhile, Obama floats from one disaster to another with barely a mention in the press.
Let's take a moment to recount a few items plaguing the Obama Administration this month alone.
Economy. The month began with another dismal jobs report. The economy only created a very anemic 96k jobs in August, far below what's needed to keep pace with population growth. Almost 400k gave up looking for work and left the labor force, which sunk to its lowest level in 30 years.
A host of companies lowered earnings guidance for the next quarter. Most concerning were dramatically lower expectations for economic bellwethers FedEx and Norfolk Southern. These are consistent with the sharp turndowns in manufacturing. The economy is simply going to get worse over the next month.
All of this puts a lie to Obama's claims that the economy is recovering. It was about a year ago, as every economy coming out of recession does, but it isn't now. On current trends, we are likely heading into another recession.
Fed Action. Ben Bernanke essentially threw up his hands this month, saying "what the hell" and announcing their intention to just keep printing money until the economy comes around. This 3rd round of Quantitative Easing isn't likely to be any more effective than the first two rounds. Eventually there will be a tidal wave of inflation. The Fed's hubris is that precisely right before inflation fully kicks in, they will be able to stave it off with interest rate hikes. Of course, that will create its own pain unless growth has become very robust. Regardless, the Fed move is explicit confirmation that the economy is faltering.
Foreign Policy. The spiking of the football over the death of bin Laden is soooo last year. The muslim world has erupted in protests against the West in response to the actions of the Obama Administration. Our ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were assassinated in a terrorist attack. An attack we were warned about but did nothing to prevent. In response, Obama has embarked on a massive apology campaign over an amateurish video that had next to nothing to do with any of the protests other than serving as a convenient pretext.
Almost worse, the Obama Administration has been caught blatantly lying about the events surrounding the assassinations in Libya. Our UN Ambassador went on the Sunday shows and said there was absolutely no advance warning of the attack. She also claimed it wasn't really an attack, but a spontaneous protest that unfortunately turned violent. The Administration now admits that everything she said was wrong.
This, though, is perhaps the most damning indictment: Obama learned of the attacks in Libya soon after they began. He then proceeded to decisively...go to bed.
Afghanistan. Obama campaigned in 2008 on a promise to implement a new "surge" strategy in Afghanistan that would see the US to a clear victory. The last of those "surge" troops left Afghanistan this month, with the US position worse than it was 4 years ago. Last week, in a modern day Tet Offensive, Taliban fighters attacked the main allied base, killing several Americans and destroying 6 (!) fighter jets.
The Obama Administration's chief strategy in Afghanistan has been to build up an Afghan security force. The US worked with these forces tactically to try to defeat the Taliban. Those efforts are over, however, after several incidents when these security forces, our supposed Allies, murdered several Americans. We will now simply limp out of the country. Not since the 70s has American liked this powerless.
Fast and Furious. Last week, the DOJ's Inspector General released its "investigation" of the Fast and Furious scandal. The reports improbable conclusion was that virtually everyone at DOJ knew about the disastrous program except Eric Holder. An appropriate fall guy has been found within DOJ, but the stench lingers. The IG report also reveals that the White House actively declined to cooperate with the investigation.
Campaign. While the media trained every gun in their arsenal against Mitt Romney, Obama lost his convention bounce. A week after the Democrat convention, Obama had enjoyed a 5-6 bounce in his support. Despite the covering fire from the media, that bounce is gone. Obama and Romney are tied in polls from AP and Rasmussen. Obama clings to a 2 point lead among registered voters in the latest Gallup tracking poll. Setting aside some ridiculously skewed national and swing state media polls, the race is tied.
At this point in the campaign in 2008, the McCain campaign was essentially broke and off the air in several key swing states. This year, however, Romney has a big cash advantage over Obama and is set to unload an ad barrage in all the swing states. The very fact that Democrat strongholds like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Michigan are even considered at least somewhat competitive this year underscores Obama's vulnerabilities.
Up to this point, Obama has spent $200 million to disqualify Romney from the Presidency. He has benefited from an enormous in-kind contribution from the media seeking to do the same. Yet, the race is where it was before Obama's ad barrage. And now, Romney's ad barrage will begin. September will probably be remembered as the Obama campaign's high-water mark.
Keep in mind, the items above are just the highlights of the problems plaguing the Obama Administration this month. I haven't mentioned our deteriorating relations with Israel, Iran, Syria or record-high gas prices. The media have probably kept 30 career-making Pulitzer Prizes' on the table in ignoring them. But, don't sigh for them my friends. Their zeal for investigations and journalism will return when Romney takes the oath of office in January.
Follow me on twitter