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Obama's first year: Lofty goals, worrisome pattern

Democrat president Barack Obama on the phone feet on the historic desk in the Oval Offfice 06-09

Our longtime print colleague and one of the most-respected writers in Washington (it must be the handsome beard), Doyle McManus, wrote a first year-end print analysis of Democrat President Obama the other day.

As usual, Doyle's thoughtful perspectives make readers think beyond the today. So we decided to share it with worldwide Ticket readers who may have missed it while exchanging or buying or consuming holiday gifts. Or keeping up with the official doings of Charlie Sheen.

Doyle's analysis carries particular weight heading into this brand-new year because 2010 means midterm election time, a time when, historically, freshmen presidents not named George W. Bush or FDR have experienced serious losses in their party's congressional seats. In 1994, some may remember, after Bill Clinton's aborted healthcare reforms, voters even turned both houses of Congress over to GOP control for the next 12 years.

Here's the McManus guest post:

-- Andrew Malcolm

Speaking of posts, don't miss any. Click here to get Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Follow us @latimestot. We're also over on Facebook. And the new Facebook FAN page is right here.

Barack Obama arrived at the White House with a daunting to-do list.

He promised to save the economy from ruin, redesign the healthcare system, reregulate the financial industry, retool energy policy, slow global warming, reform education, write a new immigration law and serve as midwife to a new era of bipartisan cooperation.

He said he would close the prison camp at Guantanamo, organize an orderly withdrawal from Iraq, stave off defeat in Afghanistan, negotiate with Iran, make progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace, convince the world's Muslims that America was their friend, launch a new drive toward global nuclear disarmament -- and, while he was at it, bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.

All those goals were worthy. Some were responses to crises that couldn't be ducked. But....
... others were electives added by the president. And the agenda quickly proved longer and more ambitious than either Congress or President Obama's executive branch could handle.

Obama turned out to be masterful at launching new policies but inconsistent at getting them to work. His presidency threatened to fall into a worrisome pattern: the announcement of a lofty goal, the delegation of implementation to second-rank officials, a missed deadline or two, last-minute intervention by the president to rescue the effort from collapse, and, finally, mixed results -- followed by a statement claiming victory.

Take the $787-billion economic stimulus plan that Obama muscled through Congress as his first item of business in February. It was big, bold and ambitious -- but in political terms, it's been a failure. Most economists say the stimulus has saved at least half a million jobs, but Obama hasn't convinced most voters that the impact isMcManusDoyletiny real.

A program to save homeowners from foreclosure has mostly been a bust. The most visibly successful piece of the administration's economic rescue plan has been its bailout of Wall Street -- a favor investment bankers repaid by awarding themselves huge bonuses.

A Pew poll this month (Dec.) found that only 30% of respondents believed Obama's policies had made the economy better. A president who made his name as a gifted speechmaker has fallen into a spectacular failure in communicating. He might have served himself better by making fewer trips to Scandinavia and more to construction sites in Middle America.

There's been an important spillover effect: Obama's other policies -- on healthcare and energy, for example -- have lost popular support along with his economic plan. Despite the depth of the economic crisis, the public isn't clamoring for more federal intervention; quite the contrary. That means Obama hasn't succeeded in building a strong constituency for his overall philosophy of government, a shortfall that will limit what he can achieve from here on.

By historical standards, Obama's first year wasn't bad at all. He stopped an economic free fall and got most of the way to a healthcare plan of historic proportions. In foreign policy, he made credible starts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffered no outright disasters -- a statement several of his predecessors would envy.

But graded against his own ambitions, he fell short. And by scattering his focus, those outsized ambitions paradoxically diluted the impact of the success he did enjoy.

-- Doyle McManus

Photos: Los Angeles Times (McManus); Pete Souza / White House.

Comments () | Archives (40)

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Very perceptive description of the pattern of this administration. It points to the observaton that a good motivator often is not equally good developer or administrator. Might we not have all guessed this would be the case from the resume? As my spouse points out, "...the thinker needs the doer" or nothing gets done!

Are you Serious, How can anyone proclaim the past year as a success in political, economic or legal terms >? Obama The Affirmative Action President is an empty suit who has never been honestly vetted by the Press or anyone else. His resume was crafted, his transcripts/birth history locked down or obfuscated, his published 'books' clearly written by others.
His Socialist ACORN Activist agenda is not popular to mainstream America, the Apology for America tours, removal of Christian God heritage quotations from our Historical sites, Expensive Vacations and his overexposed blatherings make him an embarassment like the Emperor with no clothes. I cannot wait for this self important ego tripping narcissist finally gets exposed + the comeupance he so richly deserves.

Nice piece. But...when it comes to this president writers have shown us a worrisome pattern as well. So let me get this have a problem with this president because he's ambitious? What you guys really want to do is blast this guy, find fault and criticize his every move. Whatever you have to do to sell newspapers I guess but this line really says it all to me...

"By historical standards, Obama's first year wasn't bad at all. He stopped an economic free fall and got most of the way to a healthcare plan of historic proportions. In foreign policy, he made credible starts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffered no outright disasters -- a statement several of his predecessors would envy."

As if that isn't enough for one year!?? At least you mention some facts but you missed a few.. How about winning the Nobel Peace Prize? This was a show of support from the world community welcoming us back into the fold of civility after an 8 year hiatus with the Bush Administration. He was criticized by our own people and many writers for accepting it.

It's true that his standards are set impossibly high which is certainly at contrast to the standards of our last administration for sure. But setting low goals is not something we should make a habit of. What it says to me is that we finally have a president who has the courage to set a lofty agenda for this country and by falling short, he's still able to accomplish great things. Go ahead and criticize him all you want but make no mistake...this guy is the real deal. I guess people would rather see him crash and burn which is why I guess you feel compelled to write a piece like this..

What a great article about what has ACTUALLY happened within Obama's first year in office. Although I don't agree with the message of the article as a whole. Do we honestly expect politicians to fulfill all of their ambitious goals? We all know that they say what we as Americans want to hear, this is nothing new. Yea, Obama made promises he couldn't exactly keep, but that doesn't mean he intends to abandoned those promises yet. In my eyes, Obama hasn't done anything any other president has done...get over ambitious and then realize where his priorities are once he is in office. I support our president and look forward to the rest of his presidency.

The two most important things about any incoming new president is: does he learn on the job, and how quickly.
I am not a big fan of the Clinton presidency but he scored well on both.
Interestingly, although I am definitely a fan of the current administration, I don' think Mr. Obama scores well on either, at least so far he doesn't.
And therein lies the real problem.

An astute analysis to say the least Doyle. However , a more complete look at Obama's presidency is in order:

Buyers remorse. The American people had NO idea who and what they were voting into office. We can thank the media DIRECTLY for this sham.

The American people are not stupid. If given all the facts , without hyperbole , they can and often do make the right decision. In the case of our mystery president however , the media undertook a concerted and deliberate effort to hide critical analysis about Obama .
What ever happened to INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM ? Where the hell was Woodward and Bernstein when we needed them most? Where was our fifth column of protection ? Where? They were firmly circled around the mystery candidate - protecting him , deflecting criticism of him , making CERTAIN that anyone who questioned his motives , history , colleagues and mentors was labeled "racist" or some other nonsensical title.

Well... congrats main stream media! You did it! Congratulations on fooling the American people into electing a socialist/communist ( anyone question that at THIS point?) community organizer with ZERO executive experience of any kind.

My faith in the American people remains unshaken... but a little stirred. They have "woken up" to the reality of this president. They realize now that they have no idea who he is , where he came from.... that he lies easily to us , effortlessly really, and that he will lead us down the path of destruction if 'We The People' don't start putting the brakes on this run-away train NOW.

It's the media folks. They've screwed the American people hard on this one and they must be made to pay a heavy price for their treachery .
I'll admit - I have no idea how to accomplish this but some of you must have a plan. This CANNOT go unpunished . Otherwise , the media will simply decide who THEY want as our next president and manipulate the message getting out to accomplish their task. AGAIN!

We might be able to convince the Muslims that we are alright, but we would have to deport all the Christians and Jews to Siberia before that could happen.

I understand Islam considers Jews and Christians to be infidels and that infidels should all be murdered.

This might be a problem.

History will remember President Obama as 1) the first black President - an historic achievement, and 2) as a candidate who dishonestly sold himself as a moderate then governed as a left-wing ideologue - bitterly dividing this country.


Obama has wasted an entire year trying to take over the health care system, and neglected financial reform. Consequently, the banks are in worse condition than last year. You wouldn't know that from the reading the news, but you would if you actually studied the numbers coming from the financial sector. It's a good thing that the Homer Simpson's of America are so clueless on financial matters.

You say that he's ambitious? No he isn't. He may think he is but that is a corrupt statement. Obama has shut down the leading companies in our country, such as- oil industries, internet in people's homes, nuclear waste facilities, etc.. And you think he's ambitious!? Maybe to ruin our country. It does not add up. This health care thing, will force my family to shut down our trucking company, wanna know why? Because it will require my daddy to have benefits for our drivers, (semi truck driving) and right now, we can't afford it for ourselves. He's an indocrinating far left democrat. That's what he is. He is not ambitious. And to make those secret service men go to Hawaii with him and not be able to spend time with their family?!!! MESSED UPPPP. Do yourself a favor and watch fox news. :]

Well that was an interesting rant Max.

You rambled on for 6 paragraphs about how the media lied to the American people and protected Obama, but didn't even attempt to provide a single example.

What is it the media didn't tell us about? Specifically, which policies is this administration carrying out that the media hid from us?

As far as I can tell, whether you agree with his policies or not (and I certainly disagree with many of them), Obama is doing EXACTLY what he said he was going to do when he was running for President. And he won 53% of the vote based on those campaign pledges.

The few things that are different is because he doesn't run congress, he has to meet them half-way. For example, the public option that he wanted but that Congress won't accept.

I'll wait for some examples, thanks. Perhaps you can make your next post more intelligible and I won't regret wasting a minute of my life after reading it.

Obama's biggest problem is winning the election. Prior to that the Democrats, the Media and Academia could have great fun trashing the US Government and US Society. People in other countries loved the show and chimed in that they think the US is trash too. What's not to like if you aren't American. Weakening the country may not have been the primary goal, but it sure worked. However self-loathing sometimes blows up in your face. At the recent Copenhagen climate talks China disrespected the US and Obama. How could we object if the same people at Copenhagen had spent decades saying we are trash and the cause of the world's problems. Ditto in Iran, Afghanistan and other places.
The goals of the new Administration were longtime liberal goals. But wishing and all the commentary in the world won't solve them. They have tradeoffs. Moreover, the habit of dismissing opposition with streams of invective somehow didn't convince the opponents to fall into line. There was no credible reason that everything has to be done right now and the hardest parts remain to be done. The numbers quoted of a half-million jobs saved is not a consensus amongst economists, and certainly has an "the operation was a success but the patient died" overtone amongst the ten plus percent unemployed.
Obama hasn't succeeded during his first year, but he hasn't failed either. Critical tests are still to come, an number of which will be this year. I pray for his success but fear for the directions of some of his policies.

Obama was elected because of the Bush backlash. He' seemed different from the status quo and promised the now worn out word CHANGE! Well I said from the inception he's a smart guy that has been indoctrinated in the Chicago way of doing things. He has surrounded himself with Chicago politicos and put them in key positions. This will be his undoing. Chicago is a dictatorship that functions because of high tax's graft and corruption, its who you know and who your backing. Our motto is "Ubi est mea" translated to wheres mine? Forcing a municipality into submission is far different than doing the same to the nation.

"He stopped an economic free fall..." The Fed stepped in when? and with TARP funding approved when? and who orchestrated the bailouts? "...credible starts in Iraq and Afghanistan?" Was this the possible troop reduction in Iraq made possible by the apparent success of the "surge" which he was against or the additional troops to Afghanistan after how many months of waiting and what changes in Afghan governance? Let's hope he has at least learned to make the decisions which need to be made, when they need to be made, and brings in the dedicated professionals he needs (and he needs legions, outside his clique) to accomplish something positive in his sophomore year.

It was too much to expect Obama to solve all the mess left by George W. Bush in one year. Furthermore no one is perfect. Having said that I agree that Obama is a disappointment. He has expanded the war in Afghanistan and does not seem to have a clear agenda.

Finally, Max Leygrume is wrong. The American people ARE stupid. How else could you explain their electing Bush the second time? Or Nixon? Compare the kind of presidents this country had when the people did not chose them directly--Washington, Jefferson, even Lincoln was not picked by all the people who can vote now.

Or to rephrase McManus' closing, President Obama was unfocused and suffered from delusions of grandur. His few "successes" are still untested and minor in the scheme of things.

Change you can count on?

Obama is the best President I have ever known in my 61 years. I couldn't be prouder. Obama sets high goals, speaks comprehensibly, solicits cooperation, and has compassion for all. His accomplishments reflect our country and our democracy--the good, the bad, and the ugly. He doesn't operate in a vacuum.

Our collective good begins with the Man in the Mirror--all of us responsible.
Obama proceeds with caring, compassion, deliberation, and intelligence.

Easy to take pot shots. Harder to carry the responsibility. Obama carries his responsibility with authenticity, honesty, and honor. A big thumbs up to President Obama, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and Bo.

The agenda of seizing control of other people's lives is hardly admirable. I would greatly appreciate a president that enforced the laws, stopped meddling in other nations affairs, and left the populace to "the pursuit of happiness." Government is designed to safeguard our freedom, not usurp it. That means the less government, the better. Want to live in a commune? No problem. Go live anywhere you want, but stop mucking with our freedoms by growing the invasive tentacles of a federal government grown bloated, and corrupt, and feeding off our hard earned tax dollars.

I disagree. Obama is attempting to pass things that the majority of voters do not want. Rather than persuading voters that his socialist and quasi-socialist palliatives "might" just work, he pontificates based on spurious and even unproven "data". He possesses an arrogance and haughty professorial demeanor derived from the Hollywood concept of "professor". Real professors (those not blinded by the light of "the One") find such pretense insulting. I know I do.

"A program to save homeowners from foreclosure has mostly been a bust. The most visibly successful piece of the administration's economic rescue plan has been its bailout of Wall Street -- a favor investment bankers repaid by awarding themselves huge bonus"

Here's a thought. Pay those banker's bonuses to homeowners facing foreclosure, in the form of reducing mortgages to reflect their true and current fair market value.

Whhattaymean, no disasters? Obama himself is a 'man-made disaster!"

"Every" credible economist? Your reading list is very limited, my friend. And if things are working out well in Iraq, shhhhhhh, lets not mention that it's 'he-who-shall-not-be-named's " fault.

Lets face it, the only reason that this guy is POTUS (along with his TOTUS) is because guy's like you hid the real BHO from the American public's view. Now it will take a WOMAN to undo the damage, cuz no man is tough enough.

Sorry, but I am tired of "ambitious" Presidents and politicians who seek to make monuments to themselves instead of rationally solving problems.

And side note, "Most economists say the stimulus helped save half a million jobs" (with no citations to boot). So it saved one month's job losses (at the current rate) worth of jobs? Good job, guys.

McManus :"Most economists say the stimulus has saved at least a half a million j0bs..."

Oh, really? I ask Mr. McManus to list names of prominent economists who publicly say that.

Newspapers, cable news outlets and blogs from coast to coast have recently reported on the ridiculous and utterly impossible Obama Administration claims of jobs saved, numbers that were seemingly made up out of thin air.

Even if each those jobs were truly saved, nearly all were in government and each cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars-sometimes $500 K or more. Each of those government jobs saved is a continuing cost to taxpayers with an uncertain benefit. The Administration's own estimates of cost per job are several times what it costs to create a job -- held by a taxpaying citizen -- in private industry.

The $787-billion stimulus bill, which our feckless Congress passed without even reading, was a corrupt and extremely inefficient transfer of tax dollars from present and future taxpayers to selected interest groups.

There has not been and there will never be any economic benefit from this stimulus disaster to the general public...just a huge and growing public debt with huge tax hikes needed to service that debt. That translates into a diminished economic future for all of us, especially the young.

But it was a good deal for favored special interest groups, which was probably the idea.

I find Obama absolutely fascinating. He's either seven steps ahead of everybody else or he's leading the Democratic Party over cliff to political oblivion.

I guess we'll find out which in November.

Perhaps Obama's greatest achievement (with strong help from Reid and Pelosi) will be the removal of Democrats from power for a long long time.

It might have been worth it.

Where does this "gifted speechmaker" myth come from? He spoke well at a Democratic convention long ago. After that, he has convinced no one--not Americans, not our allies, not our enemies-- to do anything. But the media continues this meme.

"Take the $787-billion economic stimulus plan that Obama muscled through Congress as his first item of business in February. It was big, bold and ambitious -- but in political terms, it's been a failure. Most economists say the stimulus has saved at least half a million jobs, but Obama hasn't convinced most voters that the impact is real. "

Think about that.

787 Billion divided by half a million. Thats $1,574,000 per job saved. One Million, Five Hundred Seventy Four Thousand dollars per job saved.

"...but Obama hasn't convinced most voters that the impact is real." Gosh, I wonder why?

A man and his administration that is a mile wide and inch deep...." But graded against his own ambitions, he fell short. And by scattering his focus, those outsized ambitions paradoxically diluted the impact of the success he did enjoy."

Forgive me, but you are far more informed than I am and must know plenty I don't know. My economic indicators have not had any economic improvement on the level I live on. There are many people who have fallen off the welfare roles that are in extreme poverty. This surge in employment in November and December is, but a Holiday Blip.

Another LIE. So my real look at Obama as of this date has been one of inuendo, lies, more lies and a Healthcare bill that looks a lot like the old HMO it's replacing and a dark secret section that might contain the real aganda. So please; don't paint rosy pictures on the dead grass in Mrs. Ronaldo's back yard.


"Obama is the best President I have ever known in my 61 years."

Really? Better than Eisenhower? Better than Kennedy? Better than Reagan? Better than G. W. Bush who successfully prevented another Islamofascist attack on this country for the rest of his term after 9/11?

What kind of pixie dust are you snorting? Whatever that stuff is, it's definitely affected the portions of your brain used for reasoning and logical thinking.

"Most economists" say the stimulus has saved jobs? Hardly. Even Obama advisor Christina Romer has published work showing that every dollar of Federal spending pulls $2.5 out of GDP.

Obama came into office with a populist mandate, and promises for more transparency in government, support of gay marriage, eliminating "don't ask, don't tell", closing Gitmo, and dozens of other unfulfilled promises. About all he's done is to stall recovery, increase the debt to astronomical levels, allow Fannie Mae to take on even more leverage than they had pre-collapse, and pretty much guarantee high inflation in the near future.

It's as if for the first time in your lives you see how most businesses or governments work. Your article seems rather infantile, as if any business or government works wonders in its projects from the getgo.

This is not in support of Obama, whom I figured would be too inexperienced from the start. This article seems to mirror what I'm finding quite disturbing in political blogs and journalism; a type of insularity when in comes to the real world and shock - shock! when the real world comes to past. And reading other comments here, it's nice to know I am not the only one with this opinion

Also, this is Obama's first year. He's actually following the path of Clinton, and based on what I hear from conservative blogs, O will have to deal with a more mixed Congress come Christmas and he will either take a more moderate route or he will be isolated in the White House until the end of his first term.

The first year. Too much reading from a teleprompter, too many czars, too much traveling, too many bows, too much trashing america, too much spending, too few jobs, too little concern about terrorism, too much force for healthcare, too many lies, too much of getting nothing done for americans, and too much hidden background, with no scrutnity by the news media. America doesn't really know who or what is in charge.

Even mainstream media liberals have to admit the tide has turned on the hope and change president. Just try to spin his performance to too much ambition or failure to communicate the benefits of his programs.

The reality is that Obama has added $2.5T to the federal debt in 2009 and has budgeted an additional $4.9T of debt over the next 7 yrs. We are headed towards a deficit cliff.

The auto bailouts, stimulus , the health-care bill , and cap & trade are socialist piles of garbage that will not improve our economy or employment; but they do fit the statist's goal of central planning and control of large parts of our economy to create dependency at the expense of our liberties.

Only solution to to vote out every democrat running in 2010 . The party is ruled by their left base, and the health-care bill proves there is no such thing as a "blue dog". Vote in fiscally conservative republicans and tea party candidates and begin to bring some fiscal sanity and adherence to the constitution.

I can see that even ultra-liberal LA Times is catching on. This is good. But still, more to be desired. For example, what the hell is this - "Take the $787-billion economic stimulus plan that Obama muscled through Congress as his first item of business in February...Most economists say the stimulus has saved at least half a million jobs..."

First of all, it's a bad journalistic practice use unnamed "most economists". Secondly, simple math shows that one "saved job" costs 1.3 million dollars. It's only fair to ask - what is the future cost of this - or, more simply, how many jobs will the economy lose or fail to create due to stimulus package? I believe "most economists" say that the stimulus package hurt our economy in the long run...

The next part was even worse, since the journo forgot to analyze the things he is praising.

"The most visibly successful piece of the administration's economic rescue plan has been its bailout of Wall Street -- a favor investment bankers repaid by awarding themselves huge bonuses." So, let me get this straight - who is responsible for TARP? Everytime it is found out that TARP money is misused, the Obama administration replies that it is Bush's program. But this article claims that it's part of the Obama administration plan. So, which is it? Was the bail out of banks the result of Bush's actions of Obama's? And the last passage is just laughable...

"He [Obama] stopped an economic free fall and got most of the way to a healthcare plan of historic proportions."

How and when he stopped the free fall? The healthcare is a very expensive piece of legislation, but is it is a good legislation? Even if this bill is historic - still, is it good or bad?

"In foreign policy, he made credible starts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffered no outright disasters -- a statement several of his predecessors would envy."

What exactly did he do in Iraq in 2009? And what are his achievements in Afghanistan in 2009? Iraq is seemingly winding down on the auto-pilot, given that Bush won the war in 2007-2008. But after Obama's election in 2008, Afghanistant got much worse, so at best, you can say that Obama wasted 2009 to fix Afghanistan. And Iran got much closer to a nuclear bomb, which as you remember, was unacceptable to Obama.

So, all in all, bad year for America, and bad year for Obama.

In Bernie Madoff's first year he also may have "got most of the way to a ... plan of historic proportions. " Begs the question of whether or not Obama's resulting healthcare plan is any less a ponzi scheme than Bernie Madoff's.

$787billion / 500,000 supposed new jobs = $1.5 million per job.

Not something for Obama to crow about.

As usual we see a mainstream media figure claiming to present an objective and balanced view of Obama's first year but instead becoming an unabashed apologist for Obama's failures.

"Most economists" is the sort of weaselly verbage that is used to disguise reality. Obama's OWN "economists" cannot plausibly make a claim of "saving or creating" half a million jobs. What ANY intelligent person can see in the stimulus bill is a revolting bucket of pork coupled with an obvious repayment of political favors. Which is PRECISELY what Obama PROMISED to end.

(Au contraire. No claim of objectivity here. This is a blog and that was an editorial column.)

Which takes us to the REAL analysis of Obama's first year. The year of broken promises. Is it even necessary to post the list? No new taxes? Closing Gitmo by end of year? Abandoning Iraq to Iranian backed terrorists? Transparency? Publishing bills before signing them? Not hiring lobbyists?

What a joke. Obama's first year is historic in its hypocrisy, its arrogance, its blatant dislike of American history, its monumental tin ear for diplomacy and its complete incompetence in running this country.

The bill will be coming due.

Having polite society at Davos conferences "love us" because we have a Black President is about as valuable to the American people as an episode of "24."

Obama presided over a Private Sector job loss that started in 2007, with 115 million jobs, to down to 100 million. Over the same time period, the US went from 55 million Public Sector (Government) jobs to about 54.5 million (a loss of 1% or so).

The stimulus has spent about $4 billion out of nearly $800 billion on infrastructure, almost all of it has been allocated to block grants to States to increase Health, Education, and Welfare payments. States that took the money (nearly every one did except Indiana and Texas) are now on the hook in a recession to keep MASSIVE increases in mandatory (terms of accepting the stimulus money) Health, Education, and Welfare spending.

Which means in turn, MASSIVE state tax increases. California faces for example about another $4 billion in spending requirements on top of the existing $6 billion budget that can only be done by truly MASSIVE tax increases. Fees at every level during a recession.

Obama's own economic advisor Larry Summers predicts a decade or more of unemployment at 10-12% officially and more like 20%+ unofficially. At any event it will take MORE than six years of steady, 4% annual growth in private sector jobs JUST TO RETURN TO WHERE WE WERE BEFORE.

Obama has no plan for growth. Merely "Green Jobs" fantasies, shown to be useless (about 1% of total California jobs in the past decade), with a massive and unsustainable expansion of government without punitive (75%) taxation on the middle and working class.

Failures at the Post Office, TSA, CIA, FBI, and other agencies in Iran (Obama now believes the 2007 NIE that stated Iran is not working for nukes to be wrong), airplane security (Obama and Napolitano were specifically briefed (pardon the pun) by Saudi Intel on underwear bombing plots aimed at the US from Yemen, and the involvement of a Nigerian), and more have painted a picture of near-total failure of Government competency.

Americans are interested in results, not "Bush did it" or "Bush is responsible."

Obama cannot and is uninterested in delivering economic growth, instead the same clowns that can't keep an underwear bomber off a plane, and insist on abusive flight rules instead of profiling Muslims, and full body scans, want to run health care (something the American people don't want or need). The program kicks in with taxes immediately followed by benefits in 2014.

Obama has guaranteed huge tax increases at the federal and state level to keep his supporters in Government unions happy.

Obama has been inept and PC-driven in responding to terror attacks (we shouldn't "rush to judgment on Major Hassan" and the President can't interrupt his golf game in Hawaii to address the nation about the Christmas Day Jihad). He's done the bare minimum in Afghanistan and Iraq, and been AWOL on Iranian nukes.

Against this, he's the first Black President, and delivered a lot of speeches.

Obama is David Dinkins meets Deval Patrick and David Paterson level of competence and achievement. Obama cannot even deliver Bush levels of competence and economic growth. He is like Dinkins, Patrick, and Paterson an affirmative action disaster, other than being Black offering nothing to voters.


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A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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