Storm clouds are appearing on the horizon. When your friends start worrying about the way you are conducting your presidency, it’s time to take notice.
This morning the Huffington Post sounded a somber note about the Obama presidency.
HuffPost explained that Obama’s legacy depends on his ability to produce economic growth and prosperity.
His first term has certainly not been a boon for the American middle class, and sooner or later people are going to start holding him accountable.
The HuffPost reports on the results of Obama’s first term:
The arithmetic is stark. Median household income is lower than when Obama took office, according to Census Bureau data -- lower even than when President Bill Clinton left office in 2001. The middle 60 percent of households -- those earning between $20,262 and $101,582 -- captured a smaller share of aggregate income in 2011 than they did in 2009, while the top fifth, which already made more than the other groups combined, captured more. Surveys of public opinion reveal a middle class that is smaller, poorer and less optimistic than ever. And although the unemployment rate fitfully has fallen below 8 percent for the first time since Obama's 2009 inauguration, most new jobs are too low-paying to sustain middle-class families.
There is more to the plight of the American middle class than numbers can express -- and a greater threat to the country than economists can quantify.
Democracy, after all, can't thrive without a broad, strong, educated core of citizens. But today they find themselves buffeted by the remorseless dictates of global capital, the need for evermore education and training and the burdens of higher taxes to pay for social programs they need, such as health care.
Not a very good track record.
For the moment Obama seems to have decided that if a bad economic record did not hurt him in the election, then he should just do what he is good at: playing politics by demagoguing issues.
It’s reasonable to say that Obama, given his mindset, does not know how to help the economy to recover.
Whatever the reason, Obama has decided that his political fortunes still lie in his ability to beat up on Republicans.
His two highest legislative priorities for his second term are now gun control and immigration. Presumably, he believes that they play to his political advantage. When it comes to immigration, he is surely right.
In an article that is more than sympathetic to the president, The HuffPost demurs:
The administration has said that its top two priorities at the outset of its second term are immigration reform and gun control. Despite an ongoing jobs crisis, creating quality jobs seems to have fallen a few slots on the president's to-do list.
Overjoyed with an election victory that he probably did not expect to have, President Obama seems to have taken his eye off the ball.
Some will say that Obama is so self-absorbed that he never had his eye on the ball. If pressed, I would concur.
For all of the political gamesmanship, at some point reality is going to bite the Obama presidency. If reality is a stagnant economy and a large class of people that has been consigned to permanent unemployment, then political gamesmanship might not do the trick.
At least, one likes to hope.