Monday, July 16, 2012

America's Economy, Prestige and President -- They're All Shrinking.

Matthew Continetti has a compelling piece in the Washington Free Beacon, entitled, "Honey, I Shrunk Obama."

Here are a few excerpts:

The most telling moment of the campaign this week was not Mitt Romney or Joe Biden’s speech to the NAACP convention, but President Obama’s Tuesday appearance in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Nor was it the content of Obama’s message that made his utterances noteworthy. It was the small venue: yet another community college. Now, Kirkwood Community College is no doubt a fine place, but Sports Authority Field at Mile High it is not. And one is unlikely to come across a better indicator of presidential shrinkage.

The White House took desperate pains to note that the president talked to an “overflow crowd.” What it did not mention was that an overflow crowd in a community college gym could not fill the seats in, say, the OSU stadium. There was a time when Obama regaled audiences of 30,000, 75,000, 80,000 people. Now he speaks to true believers at high schools. By the end of the campaign he may well find himself, like Spinal Tap, playing to a threadbare crowd at Themeland Amusement Park in Stockton, California (a city which, fittingly enough, is bankrupt). The sign outside: “PUPPET SHOW AND PRESIDENT OBAMA.”

This is no joke. Our incumbent’s appeal, grandeur, resources, and power have all steadily withered, like slowly deflating balloons…

One is almost touched at the naivety and credulity that mark these fulsome, vaporous, and cloying objectives and ideals. One also wonders what the Obama of Elections Past would say to the Obama of Elections Present. After all, his approval rating has been on a steady downward track since Inauguration Day 2009, and hovers somewhere in that dangerous band in the mid- to upper-40s. A majority of Americans say he has changed the country for the worse. Republicans are lost. Independents are dyspeptic. Only the base remains.

The cool and collected traveler with global popularity has vanished. In his place is a president with nothing to say about Europe’s fiscal crisis, one who seems impotent in the face of Russia’s belligerent support of a murderous Syrian dictator, whose attempt at Middle East peace was a colossal failure, who seems more interested in preventing an Israeli strike than in stopping the Iranian bomb, and who happily cuts away at America’s defense budget. Global confidence in and approval of Obama’s policies has fallen. Only Japan and Russia view the United States more favorably than they did in 2009. The citizens of the world are as disillusioned as the citizens of the United States. “Our moment” and “our time” seem to have passed...