From the moment he emerged in the public eye with his 2004 speech at the Democratic Convention and through his astonishing defeat of the Clintons in 2008, Barack Obama's calling card has been credibility. He speaks, and enough of the world believes to keep his presidency afloat. Or used to.We've seen it in Washington more than once.
All of a sudden, from Washington to Riyadh, Barack Obama's credibility is melting.
When belief in the average politician's word diminishes, the political world marks him down and moves away. With the president of the United States, especially one in his second term, the costs of the credibility markdown become immeasurably greater.
Bluntly, Mr. Obama's partners are concluding that they cannot do business with him. They don't trust him. Whether it's the Saudis, the Syrian rebels, the French, the Iraqis, the unpivoted Asians or the congressional Republicans, they've all had their fill of coming up on the short end with so mercurial a U.S. president. And when that happens, the world's important business doesn't get done. It sits in a dangerous and volatile vacuum.
How many times has Congress, and more specifically the House of Representatives, worked with the White House to come to an agreement about various legislation only to have Obama throw a monkey wrench into the works at the last minute? How many times has Obama come right out and said that he would not negotiate with Congress on issues that require it? How many times have we heard him say one thing but do another, usually to the detriment of the American people or the economy or foreign relations? And how many times has he ended up throwing our allies under the bus while sucking up to our adversaries? It's one thing if this occurred only now and then, but this happens all the time.
We've seen the president expend valuable political capital on things like ObamaCare when he should have been using it to deal with our economic problems. His priorities are out of line with those of the American people. He focuses on trivialities when he should be paying attention to the big problems. (ObamaCare was never about the big picture but about his place in history. What makes it worse is that ObamaCare will not do what was promised, including providing health insurance to the 30 million Americans who presently don't have it...and still won't.)
Another indicator that Obama has been losing credibility is members of his own party distancing themselves from him, particularly when it comes to the debacle that is ObamaCare. A number of congressional Democrats, including a number of Senators, are ready to seek delays in implementing some parts of the ACA. With the meltdown of the website used for signing up for coverage and the dismally low numbers of Americans signing up for health insurance, ObamaCare is in trouble and the Democrats know it. They also know that unless they do something to make it at least appear they are doing something about it their chances of re-election next year are slim.
Hundreds of thousands of health-insurance policies canceled. Companies dumping coverage and cutting employees' hours. Premiums skyrocketing. And a website that reprises the experience of a Commodore 64. As recently as May, Democratic consultants were advising members of Congress that their best ObamaCare strategy for 2014 was to "own" the law. [Senator Jeanne] Shaheen [D-NH]has now publicly advised the consultants where they can file that memo.Some people – primarily the MSM and other watercarriers for Obama – seem to think the shutdown will lead to a landslide by the Dems, sweeping them back into power in the House. But as ObamaCare stumbles and decreases even more in popularity, the shutdown has quickly faded out of the voters' memories as it really had little effect on them. But ObamaCare is hitting almost everyone in the wallet and for the most part it isn't living up to its promises. People are losing their existing health insurance and are being forced to replace it with something that costs more and provides less coverage. Others are losing their jobs or are seeing their hours cut back to less than 30 hours, meaning they are also losing their benefits. How is any of that going to win the House for the Democrats in 2014? Or are they going to try their old standby and lay the blame for the failure of ObamaCare and Obama's fading credibility at the feet of George W. Bush?
This Democratic freakout has been building for months, even if it was masked by the shutdown headlines and the way the media reported that event. Nationally, yes, the GOP took a drubbing on the shutdown. But next year isn't a national election. It's a midterm that will turn on key states, where polls all along have found disapproval of ObamaCare, the president and his party's handling of the economy.
I wouldn't put it past them.