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Paul Hayden

How Do You Like Him Now, Drive-Bys?

February 9, 2009

If the new president is indeed "too big to fail," then based on his performance missteps in just the first two weeks, the drive-by media who so desperately wanted him in the White House have their work cut out for them. It looks like they are going to have to do some first-class hustling to keep that all-important approval rating-already showing alarming signs of erosion-above that of the hated Bush.

Mr. Obama finally took the mask off late last week, ditched the ubiquitous teleprompter and showed another, angrier side than the usual unflappable image he's so carefully crafted. Reminiscent of Bill Clinton when he doesn't get his way, Obama is like the pampered fraternity president who wants a unanimous vote to rescind limits on partying and is sore because a couple of guys in the frat are actually interested in studying sometimes and won't go along.

It matters not to the president that he had plenty of votes to pass the bloated "stimulus" measure without a single Republican. To him, it's all about him and his agenda, and the opposition should bend to his every whim by the sheer force of his personality willing them to do so. All of the empty talk about considering Republican ideas went up like the puff of smoke that you could almost see coming out of Obama's ears as he sounded off about how uncooperative they were.

Of course, in his vitriol he conveniently ignored the fact that, in just two short weeks, he's watched the Republicans do most of his bidding. After all, cabinet nominees like Timothy Geithner and Hillary Clinton carried plenty of baggage to their confirmation hearings, and gutsy Republicans (fast becoming an oxymoron) could have had a field day airing the dirty laundry and holding up or even nullifying their appointments. Their decision not to battle on Geithner, Clinton or equally controversial Attorney General selection Eric Holder was a tactical if not strategic error, since Obama then was primed to expect the "bend over" on virtually anything he demands.

Despite the failure to stir up any real dust over the nominations of Geithner, Clinton or Holder, apparently leaving the rookie president in the clear, amazingly enough it wasn't over yet. Obama managed to serve Republicans yet another fat pitch in the person of Tom Daschle, Mr. Limousine Liberal himself, who gave us a real moment of poetic justice with his major tax foibles. Even the Republicans had to lift the bats off their collective shoulders this time, and even the usually arrogant Daschle had to beat a retreat with tail between legs. Watching this was almost as enjoyable as witnessing his Senate defeat a few years ago.

After the Daschle debacle, even some of the drive-bys were working up the nerve to ask their hero real Journalism 101 questions such as, "Are there any other nominees with tax problems?" The response to this tough one was Obama allowing the assembled press to view his backside as he beat it out of the room.

The above hijinks would be funny if they weren't damaging the country. And unfortunately, there's going to be lots more of them in the coming days. For example, don't expect the specter of universal health care to diminish with the fall of the disgraced Daschle. Obama will have little trouble finding another useful idiot to promote this gruesome overhaul in short order.

Obama is in essence betting a lot of his political capital on this so-called stimulus package. But if the stimulus money is spent in foolish ways such as "green, renewable (and the unmentioned, unworkable and ultimately unaffordable) energy," then it might as well just be carried from the printing press directly to the commode for flushing.

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