- - Thursday, July 10, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

If you watched the MSNBC show “The Daily Rundown” on Monday, you might have been shocked to hear a panel of liberal journalists say some uncomplimentary things about Barack Obama’s presidency.

With his job-approval polls falling, the economy in first gear, incomes in decline, inflation on the rise, good jobs in short supply and a thicket of administration scandals, the news media have begun to turn against President Obama, and it isn’t mincing words.

Carolyn Ryan, The New York Times’ Washington bureau chief, bluntly talked about “the national funk we’re in, the sort of national malaise,” as in Jimmy Carter-type malaise.

The foreign-policy debacle in Iraq, where well-armed terrorist armies are close to bringing down its government, and “this crisis on the [Texas] border does go to this question of competence,” Ms. Ryan said.

“I feel like it can be a negative for President Obama, where it seems like so many things in this country just aren’t working,” she added.

NBC’s chief political analyst Chuck Todd, the host of MSNBC’s morning program, readily agreed. “Boy, you can see that 30-second TV ad, right? You start with the health care rollout, you go to the VA, you go to Syria, you go to Iraq, and you can go to the border. You can draw a straight line,” he said.

Veteran USA Today analyst Susan Page said the tens of thousands of children coming into the country illegally from Central America threaten to hurt Mr. Obama with his core constituencies, especially Hispanics, if he deals with the problem through mass deportations.

“This is a kind of a lose-lose for him, politically speaking,” Ms. Page said.

Mr. Obama traveled to Texas on Wednesday — raising millions for his party’s 2014 races — where he met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, in Dallas, but decided not to go to the border to inspect the crisis firsthand, which angered Democrats.

“This is a Katrina moment, right?” Ms. Page said. “You’re going to a fundraiser, and you’re not going to the border where there’s this crisis?”

Washington Post chief political analyst Dan Balz said the crisis at the border was bad news for Mr. Obama and for Democrats. “When we have seen these mass arrivals, it’s hurt the party that’s been in the White House, badly.”

The Washington news media has become increasingly critical of Mr. Obama lately and the multiple troubles that have engulfed his presidency in his second term.

“The notion of Obama’s incompetence in matters both foreign and domestic is really beginning to sink in with the press,” writes longtime media critics L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham on their CNSNews.com website.

“Try as they might in their daily attempts to sugarcoat the bad news and/or blame it all on the Republicans, even the liberal news media can read the tea leaves,” they said.

It wasn’t only the media that were criticizing Mr. Obama, though. Democrats were doing it, too, over his decision not to visit the scene of the crisis for which he was asking taxpayers to cough up nearly $4 billion.

Mr. Obama’s whirlwind fundraising tour not only took him to Dallas and Austin, a short flight from the border, but also to Denver, where he drank beer and shot some pool with Colorado’s Democratic governor.

“If he had time, with all due respect, to have a beer and play pool … in Colorado, then I think after the fundraisers he should go down there,” Rep. Henry Cuellar, Texas Democrat, told CNN.

Meantime, let’s dispel the notion once and for all presented by the White House that this crisis has taken Mr. Obama by surprise.

Mr. Perry wrote Mr. Obama two years ago about growing numbers of unaccompanied children pouring across the U.S. border, demanding that he do something about it.

“By failing to take immediate action to return these minors to their countries of origin and prevent and discourage others from coming here, the federal government is perpetuating the problem,” Mr. Perry told the president in May 2012.

Mr. Obama has based his entire presidency on hiding the truth about one issue after another — from “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” to “al Qaeda is on the run and their leadership is decimated.”

Six million Americans had their health insurance plans canceled owing to Obamacare. Al Qaeda’s armies are now stronger and more lethal than ever before, spreading across Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and at least a half-dozen other nations in the Middle East and North Africa.

The threat of terrorist attacks in the United States has grown far more serious this year, intelligence officials report.

This week, Mr. Obama was running around the country in an effort to stop his slide in the polls, declaring that under his presidency, the economy has “made enormous strides.”

Much of the news media went into a feeding frenzy over the 288,000 net new jobs that were created last month, declaring once more that it pointed to an “economic rebound.”

Buried beneath the government’s ballyhooed figures were statistics showing that Mr. Obama’s “Swiss cheese” jobs report was loaded with low-paying, part-time employment. In a nation that hungers for well-paid full-time jobs, June’s figures showed that the number of people working 35 hours or less leaped by more than 1 million, to 27 million.

“What we’re seeing is a growing trend of low-quality, part-time jobs,” says Carrie Gleason who heads up the Fair Work Week Initiative, which is lobbying for change in the nation’s labor policies.

The rise in part-time work in the past half-dozen years has for the most part been involuntary, as businesses cut payroll hours in response to Obamacare or other factors. Near the end of George W. Bush’s administration, only 4.4 million Americans fell into this category. The number grew by 275,000 last month to 7.5 million.

Mr. Obama thought he could distract our attention from all this by creating the issue of “economic inequality,” another kind of class warfare. Advisers say he’s dropped that card trick because it drove down his poll numbers.

The American people were not fooled.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.

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