The mortal politician

Published 2:09 pm Friday, June 18, 2010

There is a scene in the film “Superman II” where the Man of Steel chooses to give up his powers and become mortal for Lois Lane, the woman he loves.

A major part of President Obama’s attraction, especially to the many young people who voted for him, was his supposed difference from other politicians. To those naive worshippers, he seemed so above it all, a super-apolitical man.

The president’s declining poll numbers reveal the disillusionment that has begun to sink in among the politically unsophisticated. They are starting to realize that not only is this president not above politics, but that he, in fact, practices the lowest form of the profession known as Chicago-style politics.

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In a commencement speech to graduating seniors at Kalamazoo Central High School, the president exhorted, “Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes, but for your failures as well. … It’s the easiest thing in the world to start looking around for someone to blame.”

Wise words. Too bad the president doesn’t practice what he preached to the graduates.

In remarks last November when he visited Norfolk, Va., the president said, “When I showed up after Inauguration, they had left a big mess on the floor. So I got a mop and I started cleaning up their mess.” In fact, he has been spreading the mess around, causing a bigger mess.

In March, the president said, “By any measure, my administration inherited a fiscal disaster.”

Repeatedly to the point of denying his own shortcomings, the president has blamed the Bush administration for virtually every problem that has confronted him. Seeking to explain the Massachusetts Senate victory of Scott Brown, the president told ABC News last January, “People are angry and they are frustrated not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.”

Even the BP oil spill, which he says is his responsibility, isn’t really, you see. Earlier this month, the president said, “When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar took office … he found a Minerals and Management Services agency that had been plagued by corruption for years.”

The president has blamed the Bush administration for a $1.3 trillion deficit, though his administration and a liberal Democrat Congress that keeps spending and borrowing money we don’t have, created much of it.

The president’s decline in popularity goes beyond blame. He also does not tell the truth. Recall during the debate over government health care his repeated assurances that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it. But Politico reports, “Part of the health care overhaul due to kick in this September could strip more than 1 million people of their insurance coverage, violating a key goal of President Barack Obama’s reforms.”

And Politico continued, “Employer groups say the ban could essentially wipe out a niche insurance market that many part-time workers and retail and restaurant employees have come to rely on.”

And, “Depending on how strictly the administration implements the provision, the ban could in effect outlaw the plans or make them so restrictive that insurance companies would raise rates to the point they become unaffordable.”

Critics of Obama’s health reform law predicted exactly that, but the president accused them of misleading the public. Who is misleading whom?

There is a point in every presidency when the public discerns when a president is succeeding, or whether he is in over his head and is failing. That point is rapidly approaching for President Obama. It is not good for the country to have a failing president, especially this early in his term, but that is a conclusion being reached by more than conservative talk show hosts. It is one now increasingly shared by a disappointed public.

(Direct all MAIL for Cal Thomas to: Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, N.Y. 14207. Readers may also e-mail Cal Thomas at