The Emergence of President Obama’s Muslim Roots

The Emergence of President Obama’s Muslim Roots

June 02, 2009 6:58 PMABC News’ Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller report: The other day we heard a comment from a White House aide that never would have been uttered during the primaries or general election campaign.

During a conference call in preparation for President Obama’s trip to Cairo, Egypt, where he will address the Muslim world, deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Denis McDonough said “the President himself experienced Islam on three continents before he was able to — or before he’s been able to visit, really, the heart of the Islamic world — you know, growing up in Indonesia, having a Muslim father — obviously Muslim Americans (are) a key part of Illinois and Chicago.”

Given widespread unease and prejudice against Muslims among Americans, especially in the wake of 9/11, the Obama campaign was perhaps understandably very sensitive during the primaries and general election to downplay the candidate’s Muslim roots.

The candidate was even offended when referred to by his initials “BHO,” because he considered the use of his middle name, “Hussein,” an attempt to frighten voters.

With insane rumors suggesting he was some sort of Muslim Manchurian candidate, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and his campaign did everything they could to emphasize his Christianity and de-emphasize the fact that his father, Barack Obama Sr., was born Muslim.

The candidate’s comment at a Boca Raton, Florida, town hall meeting on May 22, 2008, was typical: “My father was basically agnostic, as far as I can tell, and I didn’t know him,” he said.

In September 2008, candidate Obama told a Pennsylvania crowd, “I know that I’m not your typical presidential candidate and I just want to be honest with you. I know that the temptation is to say, ‘You know what? The guy hasn’t been there that long in Washington. You know, he’s got a funny name. You know, we’re not sure about him.’ And that’s what the Republicans when they say this isn’t about issues, it’s about personalities, what they’re really saying is, ‘We’re going to try to scare people about Barack. So we’re going to say that, you know, maybe he’s got Muslim connections.’…Just making stuff up.”

Back then, the campaign’s “Fight the Smears” website addressed the candidate’s faith without mentioning his father’s religion:

“Barack Obama is a committed Christian. He was sworn into the Senate on his family Bible. He has regularly attended church with his wife and daughters for years. But shameful, shadowy attackers have been lying about Barack’s religion, claiming he is a Muslim instead of a committed Christian. When people fabricate stories about someone’s faith to denigrate them politically, that’s an attack on people of all faiths. Make sure everyone you know is aware of this deception.”

The website also provided quotes from the Boston Globe and Newsweek mentioning his father’s roots.

Since the election, however, with the threat of the rumors at least somewhat abated, the White House has been increasingly forthcoming about the president’s roots. Especially when reaching out to the
Muslim world.

In his April 6 address to the Turkish Parliament, President Obama referenced how many “Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim majority country. I know, because I am one of them.”

- Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

Obama May Need Sense of Crisis to Revive Health-Care Overhaul

Obama May Need Sense of Crisis to Revive Health-Care Overhaul

By Julianna Goldman and Nicholas Johnston

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama returns to Washington next week in search of one thing that can revive his health-care overhaul: a sense of crisis.

Facing polls showing a drop in his approval, diminished support from independents, factions within his Democratic Party and a united Republican opposition, Obama must recapture the sense of urgency that led to passage of the economic rescue package in February, analysts said.

“At the moment, except for the people without insurance, we’re not in a health-care crisis,” said Stephen Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington. “You do need a crisis to generate movement in Congress and to help build a consensus.”

Obama speaks to labor leaders on Sept. 7 and to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 9 as he attempts to rebuild support for his top domestic priority, one that affects 17 percent of the economy. Lawmakers, trying to extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and rein in costs, are considering mandates on employers to provide coverage, new rules for insurers, and creating a government program to compete with private insurers such as Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc.

Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said the administration made unprecedented health-care progress in eight months.

‘Not There Yet’

“We gave Congress a charge, we gave them broad outlines, which is the reason we are farther along than any of the five presidents that have tried,” Emanuel said in an interview yesterday. “We’re not there yet, and this speech is intended to finish the job.”

Presidential speeches historically do little to move public opinion significantly, said George Edwards, author of “The Strategic President: Persuasion and Opportunity in Presidential Leadership.”

“This is almost like a Hail Mary, because they know that they’re substantially behind and the trajectory is negative for them,” Edwards said.

Unlike the financial crisis he inherited, the health-care debate is of Obama’s making and places a different burden on him, Edwards said.

“The best thing in presidential leadership is to recognize and exploit opportunities,” said Edwards. “The White House overestimated the nature of the opportunity.”

Stimulus Debate

Obama’s economic stimulus was debated as the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 18 percent from Nov. 4, 2008, to Feb. 13, when Congress approved the legislation. Unemployment had risen to more than 7 percent.

On the stimulus, Obama was able to say “that unless we do X right now, and X is pretty painful and pretty expensive, there is a serious danger in the next few weeks that the entire financial system will come crashing down,” said Bill Galston, a former official in President Bill Clinton’s administration, now a Brookings Institution scholar in Washington.

Emanuel remarked at the time that a crisis was a terrible thing to waste, and Obama pushed for health-care overhaul and energy legislation along with financial and auto bailouts.

He has framed health-care legislation as part of his long- term strategy to improve the economy. Republicans focused on the potential impact on patients. Throughout the summer and in town halls, Republican opponents said Obama wanted a government takeover of the system and creation of panels to decide end-of- life issues.

Democratic Critics

Within the Democratic Party, critics say Obama hasn’t pushed universal health care and others say the overhaul would balloon the federal deficit.

Obama “has said about this issue continually, if it was easy it would have been done by now,” said White House Communications Director Anita Dunn.

Obama’s difficulty on health care is compounded by broader economic worries. While 36 percent of Americans say the economy is getting better, only 10 percent see improvements in their households, according to a CBS poll at the end of August.

“People are not convinced the president’s strategy has helped their family during the economic downturn,” said Robert Blendon, a health-policy pollster at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “That has forced them to be more skeptical towards the president’s health-care proposals.”

Less than a fifth of Americans say a health-care overhaul will help them personally, compared to 31 percent who think the government’s efforts will hurt, and 46 percent who say it will have no effect, the CBS poll showed.

‘Not a Crisis’

“There is a problem in our health-care system today, and we need reform; it’s not a crisis,” said Ed Gillespie, White House counselor to President George W. Bush. “It’s just people saying this is way too much, way too fast, we don’t know where this money is going and we don’t know where it’s coming from.”

The CBS survey of 1,097 Americans Aug. 27-31 found Obama’s approval fell 12 percentage points from a high of 68 percent in April to 56 percent; the error margin is 3 percentage points.

A survey of 4,518 likely voters by Zogby International Aug. 28-31 put Obama’s approval rating at a record-low 42 percent; it also showed he’s well liked.

“He’s got to get control of his presidency,” said John Zogby, president of Zogby International. “There’s a way out of this. Some of it is going to have to be his personality and his ability to frame messages, which is still good.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Julianna Goldman in Washington at jgoldman6@bloomberg.net; Nicholas Johnston in Washington at njohnston3@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: September 4, 2009 00:00 EDT

Obama Violate Federal Law Enlisting Kids in Schools to Push Agenda

Obama Violate Federal Law Enlisting Kids in Schools to Push Agenda

September 4th, 2009

Watch video

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_ljvjTtf-U&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eexposeobama%2Ecom%2F&feature=player_embedded

In what is an unprecedented and an illegal political move, President Obama has announced that on Tuesday, September 8, he will bypass parents and directly target their children in an effort to implement his political agenda. Millions of parents are justifiably outraged. Federal law expressly forbids the Secretary of Education or any officer from exercising “any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system.” 20 U.S.C. § 3403. The President must cease this illegal activity.

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently sent a letter to school principals encouraging them to cease academic instruction and have classes tune in to a live speech Obama will give to children during school hours on Tuesday at noon. The DOE even provided lesson plans, sample activities and questions that teachers can use to promote the event. The letter encourages teachers to “build background knowledge about the president by reading books about Barack Obama.”

Although, due to the backlash, some of the most offensive language has been softened, students as young as kindergarten will, nonetheless, be asked: “Why is it important that we listen to the President?” and then, initially, were to be asked to write about “what they can do to help the president.” Their writings would later be used “to make students accountable to their goals.”

DOE Secretary Duncan is no moderate. He is a former Chicago politician who chose Kevin Jennings as Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Jennings was the founder of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), a radical group that promotes forced acceptance of homosexuality and transsexuality in schools to children as young as five.

Parents are urged to demand that schools not participate. If the school allows Obama and the DOE to indoctrinate school children, parents ought to opt their children out of this illegal program.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Obama has pushed his political agenda to the extreme by forcing himself on America’s children. Obama’s political agenda on healthcare and his expansive vision for government is being rejected by the American people. Now Obama is after our children, who, like some socialist members of Congress, have not read the healthcare bill. Americans do not appreciate the President’s attempt to use our children as political pawns in his game of chess. Mr. President, you must abide by the rule of law and stop this illegal activity. Our children do not belong to you.”

Read More:

Other People’s Money: Demanding An End To The Congressional Charade

 

Other People’s Money: Demanding An End To The Congressional Charade

September 4th, 2009 Posted By Erik Wong.

us-congress-dollar-puppet

IBD Editorials:

Economy: The jobless rate has hit a 26-year high. More than 200,000 jobs were lost last month. Yet the White House continues to claim its stimulus legislation is working. When does the charade end?

The unemployment rate reached 9.7% in August, up from 9.4% in July, the worst we have seen in this country since 1983, when Ronald Reagan was wrestling with the economic mess. While Reagan’s policies eventually moved the country out of the recession and set off unprecedented growth, it’s unlikely the Obama administration will be able to do the same thing.

Rather than letting the private sector create jobs and wealth, as the Reagan White House favored, this administration, with the help of the Democratic Congress, has taken money from the private sector — $787 billion — and tried to boost the economy with government spending. It hasn’t worked — and it won’t work in the future.

Sure, America’s economy will eventually rebound. Its free-market foundation is strong enough to withstand even the wildest left-wing attacks — as long as the attacks are followed by corrective policies. But the recovery won’t be due to Washington’s stimulus.

The facts won’t stop the White House from trying to convince the public otherwise, though. Ever in denial, Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday the stimulus is “doing more, faster, more efficiently and more effectively than most expected.”

He also said passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act “was the right thing to do morally.”

It’s alarming this nation has reached a point where taking wealth from one group for the benefit another is considered “moral.”

It’s deeply disturbing, as well, that the leaders of our political class, who have run up debt that will hit $14 trillion in 10 years, believe it’s moral to spend money they don’t have.

As of Aug. 28, only $88.8 billion of the $787 billion “stimulus” had been spent. But don’t take that as an indicator that more spending is the answer. Here’s Heritage Foundation analyst Brian Riedl explaining things in National Review:

“In 1939, after a doubling of federal spending failed to relieve the Great Depression, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau said that ‘we have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. . . . After eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started . . . and an enormous debt to boot!’ Japan made the same mistake in the 1990s (building the largest government debt in the industrial world), and the United States is making it today.”

Riedl points out that if government spending worked, “the record $1.6 trillion in deficit spending over the past fiscal year would have already overheated the economy. Yet despite this spending, which is equal to fully 9% of GDP, the economy is expected to shrink by at least 3% this fiscal year.”

If government spending were the key, we would have had consistent economic growth through the decades of deficits. History, though, exposes the myth.

Plundering the private sector does not increase prosperity. The lesson is there for anyone to grasp. It’s almost demoralizing that some refuse to learn from the long trail of mistakes.

Sen. Kit Bond urges congressional hearing on Mr. Jones; GOP Rep. Pence calls for resignation

Michelle Malkin 

Sen. Kit Bond urges congressional hearing on Mr. Jones; GOP Rep. Pence calls for resignation

By Michelle Malkin  •  September 4, 2009 04:15 PM

The GOP is finally waking up on Obama czardom.

I’ve mentioned GOP House Rep. Jack Kingston’s bill on Czar Reform and Accountability before.

Today, GOP Sen. Kit Bond called for congressional oversight on nutball green jobs czar Van Jones:

U.S. Senator Kit Bond, ranking member of the Green Jobs and the New Economy Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today called for a Congressional oversight hearing probing the fitness of a senior White House official.

In a letter to Senator Bernie Sanders, Chairman of the Subcommittee with oversight of administration green jobs efforts, Bond voiced concerned that Mr. Van Jones, as Special Advisor to the President for Green Jobs, is becoming increasingly erratic and unstable as reflected by incendiary comments and repugnant associations made public in recent days. Mr. Van Jones is responsible for directing administration policy and spending on tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer funding regarding environmental policy and green jobs programs. However, since the White House appointed him as a “czar,” Mr. Jones was able to avoid any oversight or confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

In his letter to Senator Sanders, Bond wrote, “Today, news outlets are reporting that Van Jones signed a petition from the so-called ‘Truther’ movement which suggests that the Bush administration ‘may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext to war.’ I can imagine few sentiments more repulsive to our brave fighting soldiers and the victims of the 9/11 terror tragedy than to think the U.S. government deliberately allowed the events of 9/11 to occur. Of course Mr. Jones in hindsight is embarrassed by the public disclosure of his participation in the petition drive and now asserts he did not read the fine print of the petition. But can the American people trust a senior White House official that is so cavalier in his association with such radical and repugnant sentiments?”

***

House GOP Rep. Mike Pence calls for Jones to resign.

***

Dear GOP: Next stop for czar hearings…DeParle, Carrion & Kundra.

Obama may try to create crisis atmosphere to pass health care

Obama may try to create crisis atmosphere to pass

 health care

Rick Moran
This is something the president has proven himself very good at doing; ginning up fear over the consequences of not passing one of his agenda items.

You might recall that the stimulus bill was rammed through Congress after the president barnstormed the country telling everyone that unless it was passed immediately, unemployment might rise to 8%.

Well, it worked. And unemployment now stands at 9.7% but who’s counting? The point being, he is going to have to try something similar as suggested by Julianna Goldman and Nicholas Johnston of Bloomberg:

Facing polls showing a drop in his approval, diminished support from independents, factions within his Democratic Party and a united Republican opposition, Obama must recapture the sense of urgency that led to passage of the economic rescue package in February, analysts said.

“At the moment, except for the people without insurance, we’re not in a health-care crisis,” said Stephen Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington. “You do need a crisis to generate movement in Congress and to help build a consensus.”

Never let a crisis go to waste, eh Rahmbo?

On the stimulus, Obama was able to say “that unless we do X right now, and X is pretty painful and pretty expensive, there is a serious danger in the next few weeks that the entire financial system will come crashing down,” said Bill Galston, a former official in President Bill Clinton‘s administration, now a Brookings Institution scholar in Washington.

Emanuel remarked at the time that a crisis was a terrible thing to waste, and Obama pushed for health-care overhaul and energy legislation along with financial and auto bailouts.

He has framed health-care legislation as part of his long- term strategy to improve the economy. Republicans focused on the potential impact on patients. Throughout the summer and in town halls, Republican opponents said Obama wanted a government takeover of the system and creation of panels to decide end-of- life issues.

It will be interesting to see how Obama frames the issue to develop a sense of urgency for reforming something the overwhelming majority of Americans believe needs some tweaking but not catastrophic overhaul.

My guess will be that he simply makes stuff up to get what he wants. He’s done it before; cap and trade was sold as something that must be done immediately or the planet was doomed. And it is likely that he will lie about the “crisis” in health care to try and get that passed as well.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/09/obama_may_try_to_create_crisis.html at September 05, 2009 – 10:52:27 AM EDT

Conspiracy Czar

Conspiracy Czar
By: Ben Johnson
Friday, September 04, 2009

 


Van Jones, 9/11 Truther, believes Hurricane Katrina was a conspiracy, too.
IT MUST MARK A NEW LOW IN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY when the fact that someone is a self-described Communist is not the most damning thing that can be said of a presidential adviser entrusted with federal power. Not only is Green Jobs Czar Van Jones a 9/11 Truther, but his organization believes Hurricane Katrina was a Bush conspiracy, as well. His unique combination of radicalism and irresponsibility provides a remarkable window into Barack Obama’s own radicalism.

After a string of embarrassing revelations, yesterday the press reported that Jones had joined such notable leftists as Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader, and Howard Zinn in signing the 9/11 Truth Statement (signature #46), which called for a federal investigation whether President Bush knew about – or perhaps colluded in – the destruction of the World Trade Center. This is somewhat ironic, since on the evening after 9/11, Jones stood in the streets with the Maoist-communist organization he founded – Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM) – to denounce the United States for having brought the disaster on itself.
               
To this author’s knowledge, it has not yet been reported that Van Jones also popularized the belief that Hurricane Katrina was a conspiracy. The organization Color of Change, which he co-founded after Katrina, waged a campaign to censure President George W. Bush, claiming: He knew about the levees, and he knew about the Superdome. But he did nothing.”(Emphasis in original.) In 2006, Color of Change worked with MoveOn.org Civic Action to screen Spike Lee’s film When the Levees Broke, which features allegations the federal government dynamited the levees. As one report puts it, “Lee took no side on the issue” – originally popularized by Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan – but Lee made it clear in other media that he believes in the theory.

The conspiracy would be consistent with Jones’ statement last January, that “white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people-of-color communities, because they don’t have a racial justice frame.”

In a 2005 blog on the Huffington Post, Jones wrote the hurricane had been exacerbated by Bush’s environmental policies and “deep contempt for poor African-Americans.”

How He Got There

Despite his radical views, he hardly sprang from a vacuum. When Jones won the San Francisco Foundation’s 2008 Community Leadership Award, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called him “one of the most innovative and strategic thinkers of our time. He is what I like to call a magnificent disrupter of the status quo.” San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom lauded him profusely. SFF, which presented Jones with a $10,000 honorarium, describes itself as “a vehicle for change.” Past SFF winners include former Congressman Ron Dellums.  
   
Jones has also collected the Rockefeller Foundation’s “Next Generation Leadership” Fellowship and the Campaign for America’s Future “Paul Wellstone Award 2008,” and was named one of the George Lucas Foundation’s “Daring Dozen 2008.”

The grant-making institutions of the Left have promoted him from a petty street Maoist to a position at the right hand of power, because leftists are heavily invested in command economics and malicious conspiracy theories.

What Difference Does It Make?

Some on the Left have parried that it does not matter what Jones’ views were, because he will only work in the area of “Green jobs.” This is true, insofar as it would be if President Bush had appointed a Posse Comitatus Holocaust denier as head of the EPA. Jones’ recent actions provide precious little comfort.

Jones has not repudiated his Hate America views, has shown no remorse, nor even registered comprehension that the agenda Maoists and other revolutionaries advanced was insidious. As recently as two years ago, he hoped his own youthful rage would inspire other “racial justice activists.” In response to Hurricane Katrina, he posted an essay he wrote following the Rodney King riots in the hope “that somehow the observations from my own generation’s struggles – 15 years ago – will be of some aid and comfort to the newer generation of racial justice activists who are now mounting history’s stage.”

On the contrary, Jones has made clear he is switching tactics, not goals. “I’m willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends,” he said.

Further, Jones has made clear he intends to use his position in a Fabian manner, to incrementally socialize the U.S. economy:

Right now we say we want to move from suicidal gray capitalism to something eco-capitalism where at least we’re not fast-tracking the destruction of the whole planet. Will that be enough? No, it won’t be enough. We want to go beyond the systems of exploitation and oppression altogether. But, that’s a process and I think that’s what’s great about the movement that is beginning to emerge is that the crisis is so severe in terms of joblessness, violence and now ecological threats that people are willing to be both pragmatic and visionary. So the green economy will start off as a small subset and we are going to push it and push it and push it until it becomes the engine for transforming the whole society.                          

Knowing his background, President Obama placed him in a position to accomplish these “radical ends,” alongside the numerous other radicals the president appointed as czars. Those who insisted Obama’s longtime affiliations with Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and others would be of no consequence have a large plate of crow to eat. 

For the past several months, left-wing commentators have insisted Republicans distance themselves from those who believe Barack Obama was not born in the United States. They are now in the position of defending a man who has not repudiated his belief that George W. Bush may have issued the fatwa on the Twin Towers. Such a basic failure of judgment should disqualify him from office. Certainly, Barack Obama can’t believe there is a place for such thinking in his administration, can he?

If Jones is not promptly thrown under Rev. Wright’s bus, skeptics will have their answer.


Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and co-author, with David Horowitz, of the book Party of Defeat. He is also the author of the books Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Radical Gifts (2009) and 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Charitable Giving (2004).

Obama, the Mortal

Obama, the Mortal

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, September 4, 2009

 

What happened to President Obama? His wax wings having melted, he is the man who fell to earth. What happened to bring his popularity down further than that of any new president in polling history save Gerald Ford (post-Nixon pardon)?

The conventional wisdom is that Obama made a tactical mistake by farming out his agenda to Congress and allowing himself to be pulled left by the doctrinaire liberals of the Democratic congressional leadership. But the idea of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi pulling Obama left is quite ridiculous. Where do you think he came from, this friend of Chávista ex-terrorist William Ayers, of PLO apologist Rashid Khalidi, of racialist inciter Jeremiah Wright?

But forget the character witnesses. Just look at Obama’s behavior as president, beginning with his first address to Congress. Unbidden, unforced and unpushed by the congressional leadership, Obama gave his most deeply felt vision of America, delivering the boldest social democratic manifesto ever issued by a U.S. president. In American politics, you can’t get more left than that speech and still be on the playing field.

In a center-right country, that was problem enough. Obama then compounded it by vastly misreading his mandate. He assumed it was personal. This, after winning by a mere seven points in a year of true economic catastrophe, of an extraordinarily unpopular Republican incumbent, and of a politically weak and unsteady opponent. Nonetheless, Obama imagined that, as Fouad Ajami so brilliantly observed, he had won the kind of banana-republic plebiscite that grants caudillo-like authority to remake everything in one’s own image.

Accordingly, Obama unveiled his plans for a grand makeover of the American system, animating that vision by enacting measure after measure that greatly enlarged state power, government spending and national debt. Not surprisingly, these measures engendered powerful popular skepticism that burst into tea-party town-hall resistance.

Obama’s reaction to that resistance made things worse. Obama fancies himself tribune of the people, spokesman for the grass roots, harbinger of a new kind of politics from below that would upset the established lobbyist special-interest order of Washington. Yet faced with protests from a real grass-roots movement, his party and his supporters called it a mob — misinformed, misled, irrational, angry, unhinged, bordering on racist. All this while the administration was cutting backroom deals with every manner of special interest — from drug companies to auto unions to doctors — in which favors worth billions were quietly and opaquely exchanged.

“Get out of the way” and “don’t do a lot of talking,” the great bipartisan scolded opponents whom he blamed for creating the “mess” from which he is merely trying to save us. If only they could see. So with boundless confidence in his own persuasiveness, Obama undertook a summer campaign to enlighten the masses by addressing substantive objections to his reforms.

Things got worse still. With answers so slippery and implausible and, well, fishy, he began jeopardizing the most fundamental asset of any new president — trust. You can’t say that the system is totally broken and in need of radical reconstruction, but nothing will change for you; that Medicare is bankrupting the country, but $500 billion in cuts will have no effect on care; that you will expand coverage while reducing deficits — and not inspire incredulity and mistrust. When ordinary citizens understand they are being played for fools, they bristle.

After a disastrous summer — mistaking his mandate, believing his press, centralizing power, governing left, disdaining citizens for (of all things) organizing — Obama is in trouble.

Let’s be clear: This is a fall, not a collapse. He’s not been repudiated or even defeated. He will likely regroup and pass some version of health insurance reform that will restore some of his clout and popularity.

But what has occurred — irreversibly — is this: He’s become ordinary. The spell is broken. The charismatic conjurer of 2008 has shed his magic. He’s regressed to the mean, tellingly expressed in poll numbers hovering at 50 percent.

For a man who only recently bred a cult, ordinariness is a great burden, and for his acolytes, a crushing disappointment. Obama has become a politician like others. And like other flailing presidents, he will try to salvage a cherished reform — and his own standing — with yet another prime-time speech.

But for the first time since election night in Grant Park, he will appear in the most unfamiliar of guises — mere mortal, a treacherous transformation to which a man of Obama’s supreme self-regard may never adapt.

letters@charleskrauthammer.com

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