The BBC’s US President editor (“North America editor” is a misnomer, as Mardell never discusses – with the lone exception of the heroic Pvt. Manning – anything other than US politics and things which affect the President) wrapped up 2011 with an assessment of where things stand for Him as we head into the election year. Mardell actually writes critically of Him, admitting that things haven’t gone so brilliantly, but manages to avoid blaming Him for any of it. It’s really an amusing bit of sleight-of-hand.
Before any defenders of the indefensible chime in with “There’s no pleasing some people: even when the BBC criticizes the President you’re still unhappy,” let me explain what he’s done here, and how this Mardell is writing from a partisan position.
The headline is a bit OTT, and can actually be interpreted as a sign that it’s not His fault:
This notion is supported a couple of times when Mardell states that the President was “dealt such a poor hand”, and how the economy will doom Him. None of it is His fault, you see. So let’s look at each of Mardell’s pretend criticisms and see how he doesn’t actually blame the President for anything.
Whoever wins the election in November, the result will leave the losers with a sour taste. The US could be a fractious, jittery place by the end of the year.s
And it’s not fractious now? Haven’t we’ve been hearing how bitterly divided we’ve become from the Left and the BBC ever since the Tea Party movement rose to prominence? The country is already divided. What does Mardell think the 2010 midterm elections were about? The only question is what the percentages are now. By saying this, Mardell is shifting blame away from the President for the fact that the country isn’t as united as we were promised. Any real problems will be due to sour grapes, nothing to do with His divisive rhetoric.
Mardell then lays out what he sees as the two major factors in the President’s chances of re-election. Whoever becomes the Republican nominee will largely determine His fate. Personally, I don’t see any of them winning against the overwhelming combination of the mainstream media, Hollywood, and Wall Street money. Romney might do better than the rest, but I’m not sure he’ll excite enough of the non-Left or the Reagan Democrats to bother doing anything other than a protest vote for some fringe party. So that’s one factor which is going to benefit the President no matter which way it goes, I think.
The other factor, of course, is the economy. Here’s where the blame-shifting really begins.
There are glints of light, indications it is getting a little better. But another set-back in Europe could blow the US further off course. And whatever story of slight optimism the statistics tell, most Americans won’t be bathed in the glow of a feel-good factor.
It all started in Europe now? See, if things go south, it won’t be His fault. Not a single mention of any of His policies which might have contributed to where we are now. Nothing about the failed Stimulus, nothing about the crushing regulations of the EPA or the looming 16-ton weight of ObamaCare or the $4.7 billion thrown down the Green Energy toilet. Worst of all, no mention of the fact that we haven’t had a budget passed since He took office. Whose fault is that, Mark? Can’t blame Europe or 2008 for that one. So he keeps silent. In fact, neither Mardell nor anyone else at the BBC has ever even mentioned it.
Any reader who relies on the BBC for information will have no idea, and so will buy into the “Trapped in a world He never made” Narrative. Which sets things up nicely for the one genuine criticism:
It is hard not to look back on the mood in 2008 without shaking your head slightly. There is little doubt President Obama has been a disappointment. He has disappointed many supporters, disappointed those in the middle ground, and even, curiously, disappointed his enemies.
The disappointment, of course, is that He hasn’t completely transformed the country as He promised, and as the far-Left hoped He would. But as we’ll see in a moment, that’s not His fault. Mardell has admitted elsewhere that he, too, bought into the hype, although he didn’t quite spell it out. The middle ground voters who bought into the hype will be genuinely disappointed, but as I’ve said, I don’t see too many Reagan Democrats voting against Him. Many of them still share Mardell’s mindset of “It’s not His fault”. As for the bit about the President having “disappointed his enemies”, I have no idea what that means. Who thinks He’s worse than expected? He’s been exactly as awful as I predicted.
In any case, Mardell’s choice to use the term “enemies” merely serves to further set Him up as a victim. The less emotive “opponents” or “critics” would have been better.
Obama loyalists will point out that no mortal could have lived up to the expectations heaped upon his head, especially when he had been dealt such a poor hand. They argue that he has saved the country from ruin, while accepting no-one gets credit for preventing disasters.
There you go: nobody could have lived up to the hype, so any disappointment among His followers – or even among the middle ground who took a chance – is not His fault. We read that His worshipers claim that He saved the country, although I guess this piece isn’t the time or place for substance.
But it is also true that many of those who strongly backed him, and will still back him, think he has not been bold enough and has not confronted those who were always going to tear him down.
“But”? Usually, beginning a sentence with this conjunction leads to a conflicting idea. Yet it really doesn’t. Instead, it’s more of how worshipers will still support Him. And there’s more emotive terminology from Mardell: “those who were always going to tear Him down”, further contributing to the victim portrayal. Does he think there’s any possibility that someone could have a legitimate criticism of Him from the other side? It appears not. No, anyone who opposed Him was always going to, no matter what He did. It’s not His fault, you see.
Now it’s back to avoiding blame:
Many in the less ideological middle ground have the opposite complaint. They are often disappointed that instead of the dawn of a new politics, there has been a exacerbation of politics as usual.
One of Obama’s key appeals was as a healer, a bridge as one biography put it. He preached a future where Americans would work together, reaching across party divides. Instead, the bitterness, distrust, and gridlock have grown worse.
Whose fault is that, Mark? Perhaps we got a clue during the first week in office of President “I won”? Who allowed the Democrat leaders in Congress to write their dream legislation without bothering to reach across the aisle? Whose leadership is responsible for that? Mardell isn’t forthcoming. Instead, we just get a “things are worse”, with the expectation that He’ll be unfairly blamed for that as well. In case you had any lingering thoughts of blame, though:
While he talked of changing the way politics was done, we have seen the same old Washington grow in strength and obstructionism, more broken, even less desirous of reaching solutions than before. Maybe that is not his fault. But it is not his triumph either. The obstacles have been piled higher, not blown out of the way.
Again, we’re told that it’s more of a failure to change the world – an impossible task for which no one can seriously hold Him accountable – than anything He actually did. Not a single word about what the President might have done to contribute to this situation. What about the two years of Democrat super-majority where He was able – or rather the Dems were able while He sat back and watched – to ram legislation through Congress without real bi-partisanship? Was that out of His control as well? What about all the class war rhetoric in His speeches? What about all those lame “car in the ditch” metaphors? Has nothing He’s done contributed in any way to the gridlock and bitterness?
Nope. You all know the drill. Say it with me: Republican intransigence. Now for some more of that victimizing language:
His enemies were never going to like what he was about, and what he stands for. They would never applaud his economics or his foreign policy.
Enemies. What He stands for. Again with this. So what’s your point, Mark?
But the best politicians earn a sneaking admiration for their skills even from those who detest what they do with their talents.
So what? You’ve just reminded us for the third time that His enemies would never vote for Him no matter what, so who cares whether or not there’s a hint of admiration? The whole point is that He needs to keep the middle ground interested.
Mrs Thatcher did. Tony Blair did. FDR did. (It’s probably true Reagan didn’t.)
Reagan didn’t? What about all those Reagan Democrats, Mark? And please don’t expect me to believe that the virulent hatred for Thatcher – among her enemies at the BBC, for example – is any less than that of Reagan among the US equivalent. Not a bit of it. But again, so what?
But Republicans think Obama has handled the politics badly, and Congress worse. He has been politically clumsy handing both allies and opponents.
Hey, at long last, an actual criticism. But it’s a bit late in the game. Who could have imagined such behavior from a neophyte who had never handled major administrative tasks or been a real leader or had to actually work with anyone or done anything other than expect to get His way no matter what? Not Mardell, that’s for sure. Which is a shame, as he’s supposed to be such an expert political junkie. It just shows how much he bought into the illusion of Him, and how blind he’s been to reality the whole time.
So the charge sheet against him is long.
Nearly all of which Mardell just told us isn’t really His fault, or avoided placing any blame. Not a single reference to any actual criticism of Him or His policies from the other side. Only statements about “enemies” who always wanted to “tear Him down” no matter what. And there’s so much of His “rap sheet” left unmentioned: the ATF scandal and Solyndra, for example. Oh, that’s right, the BBC has barely mentioned any of that, so most of Mardell’s readers will have no idea. Equally, many on the far-Left are unhappy with His ramping up of Bush’s war policies: eternal rendition without charge or trial, and the worldwide drone apparatus allowing Him to do targeted assassinations of anyone He pleases, US citizens included. Oops, I forgot: the BBC has censored all of that stuff, too.
The odds are about even. So much depends on his opponent, the economy and his strategy. I will be following all three very closely, and you can read about it first here.
I think he’s a little scared. But we all know what the strategy is going to be: The Republicans will ruin everything, give the country back to the evil rich, and we need four more years to achieve all the Hope and Change. And the BBC US President editor will be right there to encourage all of it.