the spell is broken

Fouad Ajami pronounces the Obama Spell to be broken. do you agree? Here is the intro:

The curtain has come down on what can best be described as a brief un-American moment in our history. That moment began in the fall of 2008, with the great financial panic, and gave rise to the Barack Obama phenomenon.

The nation’s faith in institutions and time-honored ways had cracked. In a little-known senator from Illinois millions of Americans came to see a savior who would deliver the nation out of its troubles. Gone was the empiricism in political life that had marked the American temper in politics. A charismatic leader had risen in a manner akin to the way politics plays out in distressed and Third World societies.

There is nothing surprising about where Mr. Obama finds himself today. He had been made by charisma, and political magic, and has been felled by it. If his rise had been spectacular, so, too, has been his fall. The speed with which some of his devotees have turned on him—and their unwillingness to own up to what their infatuation had wrought—is nothing short of astounding. But this is the bargain Mr. Obama had made with political fortune.

There is some evidence that winter in Narnia is giving way to spring here as well:

Other faith leaders are more pointed. Obery Hendricks, author of The Politics of Jesus, used to dial in to regular conference calls between the administration and prominent clergy, but recently he’s stopped, citing frustration and fatigue. “Is he listening [to religious leaders]? Frankly, I don’t know. They have the influence of window dressing.” The White House, he adds, is “patronizing and condescending,” especially to black clergy. “Many of the ministers feel that way.”

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“He’s Done Everything Wrong”

Mort Zuckerman of U.S. News and World Report is not happy.

Probably everybody has seen this editorial by now, but wow. Zuckerman is not a conservative, but he is WAAAYYYY disappointed in President Obama’s first year.

It is all interesting, but here are a couple of excerpts:

Obama’s ability to connect with voters is what launched him. But what has surprised me is how he has failed to connect with the voters since he’s been in office. He’s had so much overexposure. You have to be selective. He was doing five Sunday shows. How many press conferences? And now people stop listening to him. The fact is he had 49.5 million listeners to first speech on the economy. On Medicare, he had 24 million. He’s lost his audience. He has not rallied public opinion. He has plunged in the polls more than any other political figure since we’ve been using polls. He’s done everything wrong. Well, not everything, but the major things.

I don’t consider it a triumph. I consider it a disaster.

One business leader said to me, “In the Clinton administration, the policy people were at the center, and the political people were on the sideline. In the Obama administration, the political people are at the center, and the policy people are on the sidelines.”
I’m very disappointed. We endorsed him. I voted for him. I supported him publicly and privately.

….

He’s improved America’s image in the world. He absolutely did. But you have to translate that into something. Let me tell you what a major leader said to me recently. “We are convinced,” he said, “that he is not strong enough to confront his enemy. We are concerned,” he said “that he is not strong to support his friends.”

The political leadership of the world is very, very dismayed. He better turn it around. The Democrats are going to get killed in this election.

emphasis added

no man can serve two roles

James Ceaser has written a fascinating article about Barack Obama as the Leader of Humanity and the President of the United States.

It is long but delicious. Combined with Jonah’s book it explains a lot of the disconnect that Peggy Noonan and Charles Krauthammer have been noticing.

here is some of it regarding the intellectual foundations of progressivism, but go read the rest for its application to Obama’s first year.

The rise of the Religion of Humanity is what best describes this event. This strange term designates an actual sect, now defunct, that enjoyed a considerable following and prestige in intellectual circles in the 19th century. John Stuart Mill was a prominent convert, pronouncing the “culte de l’humanité [to be] capable of fully supplying the place for a religion, or rather (to say the truth) of being a religion.” In America, where the religion wore the respectable label of the “Church of Humanity,” the acolytes included the well-known journalist David Croly and his son Herbert, the founder and longtime editor of the New Republic. If it were not for the Religion of Humanity, Americans today might not have the pleasure of reading Jonathan Chait on “The Rise of Republican Nihilism” or E.J. Dionne “In Praise of Harry Reid.”

Mill and Croly were both intellectual disciples of the French social philosopher Auguste Comte (1798-1857). Though rarely studied in America today, Comte bequeathed an enormous legacy. He was the first to simplify and popularize the idea of a progressive movement of history, which he described as proceeding through three great epochs: the age of theological thinking, the age of metaphysical thinking, and the age of scientific or “Positivistic” thinking. (“Positivism,” referring to the scientific mindset and approach, was one of Comte’s many linguistic inventions.) The inevitable march of humanity (still with a small h) through these stages, albeit at different rates in different places, was the great story of history. Variations among nations and groups might continue, but they paled in significance next to the common destiny of humanity. Those who continued to view the world in terms of nations and their conflicts—Comte called them “retrogrades”—were caught in old thinking, unable to grasp the new global order being formed by the forces generated by Positivism.

Comte argued that it was time to expand man’s scientific knowledge of the physical world to the social realm. A new science of society, “sociology” (Comte’s term), was the latest and highest of all the sciences. Possession of knowledge of the laws of social movement was what ideally bestowed the title to rule. Comte and his circle were never much impressed by democracy and favored instead one system or another of governance by experts. (Saint-Simon, for whom Comte worked for many years, once proposed running society with “Councils of Newton.”)

But there was an important twist to Comte’s praise of science. In contrast to many who thought that the scientific method and scientific values were sufficient to bind society together, Comte insisted that people had to believe. As faith in the transcendent was no longer -possible in the Positivist age, he called for “replacing God with Humanity.” The aim of this religion without God was to build a global community that assured the betterment of man’s lot. Postulating this objective as an ideal is what Comte meant by Humanity (now with a capital H).

emphasis added.

reckon that makes me a “retrograde.” I’ll take it.

UPDATE:

Jonahlaunched!! cool. thanks man. everybody feel free to kick your shoes off and have a look around

retrospective on O’s first year

Peggy Noonan and Charles Krauthammer wrote pieces this week about Barack Obama’s first year as president and their view of what went wrong. Why did such a popular president crash so far in the polls so soon?

Here is a small part of Ms. Noonan’s article that I think gets to the nub of it:

The people are here, and he is there. The popularity of his health care plan is very low, at 35% support. Someone on television the other day noted it is as low as George Bush’s popularity ratings in 2008.

Yet—and this is the key part—the president does not seem to see or hear. He does not respond. He is not supple, able to hear reservations and see opposition and change tack. He has a grim determination to bull this thing through. He negotiates each day with Congress, not with the people. But the people hate Congress! Has he not noticed?

and here is the part where Mr. Krauthammer just nails it:

At first, health care reform was sustained politically by Obama’s own popularity. But then gravity took hold, and Obamacare’s profound unpopularity dragged him down with it. After 29 speeches and a fortune in squandered political capital, it still will not sell.

The health care drive is the most important reason Obama has sunk to 46 percent. But this reflects something larger. In the end, what matters is not the persona but the agenda. In a country where politics is fought between the 40-yard lines, Obama has insisted on pushing hard for the 30. And the American people — disorganized and unled but nonetheless agitated and mobilized — have put up a stout defense somewhere just left of midfield.

anyway, go read them and see if you agree or not.

He is winning everything in sight

look at him go. Here from Reason TV is the catalogue:

HT to Veronique de Rugy

this is also amazing

this is also amazing, but in a different way. surely at some point people will get really sick and tired of being hectored by someone who thinks they know better than everybody else. surely? Doesn’t he realize this country has a system of local school districts that run and pay for schools?

WASHINGTON — Students beware: The summer vacation you just enjoyed could be sharply curtailed if President Barack Obama gets his way.

Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.

“Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas,” the president said earlier this year. “Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom.”

The president, who has a sixth-grader and a third-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go.

“Our school calendar is based upon the agrarian economy and not too many of our kids are working the fields today,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

How out of control is the modern conception of central government power when the President thinks it is ok to casually suggest that the schools whose utilities are paid for by local property taxpayers should be open on weekends? no skin off his nose, is it?

Just wow. this little example here has it all in one package: arrogance, condescension, out of control aggrandizement of absolute power and we all get stuck with the bill.

a study in contrasts

this is interesting. our president wants to unite us all under a pragmatic banner listening to all points of view, except that he wants some people to quit talking and get out of the way.

all in the same speech. how long will it take before the bloom is completely off of this rose?

from Hot Air where Allahpundit notes:

This clip really is exactly as advertised, showcasing both the myth of Obama that the media’s happily carried forth and the reality of what kind of politician he is when his agenda’s threatened. Amazing that with his approval rating slipping and anger getting hotter every day, he’d still feel confident enough to contradict himself this blatantly in the same speech. It’s practically a taunt.