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Now, Democrats join Dick Cheney's critique of Obama

November 24, 2009 |  2:24 am

US Democrat president Bareack bows to China's premier Wen Jiabao 11-18-09

President Obama is set to grant a blanket pardon shortly to this year's White House turkeys. 

But while Obama advised his cabinet Monday to take a little time off this week, presumably to give thanks and watch Detroit lose to Green Bay again, there's a real challenge for the 44th president to discern today: exactly what he should be thankful for. Never mind his slow, steady fade in the polls, matching the slow, steady rise in unemployment.

Although he's not in any election for nearly three more years, Obama's reputation, congressional clout and ability to accomplish pretty much anything is in serious jeopardy come next November's midterms, if not before. Former VP Dick Cheney, who single-handedly reinvented the wonderful Wyoming word "dithering" in recent weeks, is at Obama again (see video below) in no uncertain terms.

Which some might find predictable. But would they expect Arianna Huffington to be openly worrying that the Obama administration just doesn't get it about the economy and jobs? Or how about Leslie Gelb, former New York Times columnist, State and Defense Department official and now president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations?

He's calling Obama's recent Asia trip an unproductive waste of precious presidential time under the headline: "Amateur Hour at the White House."

What's going on here for The One chosen barely a year ago with such widespread hope and....

...elation, despite Republican warnings that as a legislator he had never actually managed a candy store, let alone a massive federal government? Obama vowed then to listen to the world once again, but after the long Asia trip produced awkward bows (see above and also over here), nice photos and little else, analysts find little indication that the world is listening to him.

First, Afghanistan: Eight months after Obama announced his first new strategy there and nearly three months after the ground commander submitted his recommendations for more troops, warning that the allies had about one more year to win or lose this thing, the Democrat is still meeting and talking about what to do. Aides say he wants to be careful. Maybe we'll hear next week.

Cheney spoke on Monday to prominent conservative radio talk show host Scott Hennen about the Obama White House:

I worry that there's a lack of understanding there of what this [delay] means from the perspective of the troops. If you're out there on the line day in and day out and putting your life at risk on a voluntary basis for the nation and you see the commander-in-chief unable or appearing to be unable to make a decision about the way forward here, that raises serious doubts.

Nobody wants to volunteer to participate in that kind of operation.

There's more of that on this video, and Cheney also calls the Fort Hood shootings terrorism outright. But that's not the only....

...incoming fire the president is taking now. Here's a piece of what Huffington just posted:

"There's a Category 5 storm about to make landfall, and the president and the officials in charge of preparing for the approaching disaster don't seem to be particularly worried. Sound familiar?

"Just as Katrina exposed critical weaknesses in the priorities and competence of the Bush administration, the unfolding unemployment disaster is threatening to do the same for the Obama White House."

Now, here's Gelb, who's worked for Democratic presidents, writing on the Daily Beast:

The trip’s limited value per day of presidential effort suggests a disturbing amateurishness in managing America’s power.

On top of the inexcusably clumsy review of Afghan policy and the fumbling of Mideast negotiations, the message for Mr. Obama should be clear: He should stare hard at the skills of his foreign-policy team and, more so, at his own dominant role in decision-making. Something is awry somewhere, and he’s got to fix it...

...the Asia trip presented an important opportunity to carve out a new American leadership role in the world’s most dynamic economic region, and Mr. Obama missed it.

Other than that, it should be a good game.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Obama bows to China Premier Wen Jiabao. Credit: David Gray / Reuters

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