Recently, President Barack Obama has started to slide in the U.S. national opinion polls. His health care overhaul is sagging under the shadow of a more than one trillion dollar price tag. The U.S. economy continues to stagger along, shedding more and more workers. His own secretary of the treasury said unemployment will peak in the second half of next year. His rhetorical about-face on the Iranian Election turmoil made him no friends, save the despots in Tehran, who needed the time granted by his shilly-shallying to crush the protesters. His insistence on being a lapdog for Hugo Chavez and the Castro brothers during the still-developing Honduran Presidential crisis has exhibited his swooning for all things dictatorial. Still, I have to admit, he is the most cheerful Marxist I know. He's much more chipper than the dour Daniel Ortega, more lively than the moribund Castro brothers, and more suave than the loopy Hugo Chavez.
So I must say I was a bit shocked by his rhetorical hit job on the Cambridge police during the Gates fracas. Why was he so harsh when the president admitted he didn't know what was going on? Some have suggested that he needs to hit the reset button on his presidency — to start over. Perhaps this now trumped-up racial incident was just that: an attempt to reset a Presidency that is gradually sliding from a showy burst of optimism to turgid mediocrity or worse.
The president has declared this media event a "teachable moment." Well, what does this teach us about Barack Obama? When does Obama talk of race? He spoke about it in the campaign, when things seemed to get bumpy or when he needed a lift. When Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire in the Democratic primary, she and hubby Bill were blasted as racists over remarks that could only be construed as racist if you had some network news pundit tell you they were. This helped Obama big time, as Hillary Clinton could never shed the label of racist throughout the rest of the campaign. It hung around like a bad smell.