Monday, November 22, 2010
By Rich Galen
If you live in Washington, DC and follow the local Major League Baseball team - the Nationals - you know a little something about slumps.
You know how you can deny that one of their players is heading into one; you can deny he's in the midst of one; and then you celebrate when he comes out the other side - in spite of the previous denials.
President Obama is in a real, hit-into-a-double-play-with-no-one-on-base slump.
We know about the mid-terms which even he claimed was a "shellacking" even though he didn't take any responsibility for opening the can or wielding the brush.
Then the South Koreans told him to pound kimchi when he tried to negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement.
That was followed by the G-20 wagging its collective finger in his face for demanding they scold China for currency manipulation only to be scolded himself for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's plan to inject another $600 billion into the U.S. Economy.
This past weekend Mr. Obama attended a NATO meeting to discuss Afghanistan (which is officially a NATO activity) in Portugal which is in the same financial shape as Greece, Ireland, and California.
At the end of that meeting, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, according to the London Telegraph newspaper, got together and
"Urged [U.S. Senate] Republicans to support a new sweeping arms control treaty between the two countries after the pair held an impromptu meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit."
That is the equivalent of bunting for a base hit to break out of a slump.
I've never understood what goes on in the mind of your average U.S. Senator, but I'm pretty sure bringing the Russian President onstage to demand Republicans approve the START treaty will not be seen as a sign of strength by the GOP, and probably not by most Democrats in the Senate.
In fact, whining about the lack of support in the Senate for the treaty while overseas is not likely to improve relations on opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Telegraph reporters Alex Spillius and Praveen Swami made Obama sound wimpy when they wrote:
"Sounding frustrated on the last day of the summit in Lisbon, Mr. Obama said military officials, senior members of past Republican administrations and European states backed the treaty with Russia."
Sounds like a 10-year-old complaining that "all the other moms are letting their kids go."
The President has provided so little leadership on the tax cut issue that headline after headline has words like "Democrats in Disarray" on the issue. Where's he going to hide during the post-Thanksgiving lame duck session?
In all of that, the biggest problem looming for President Obama got buried in the small type in the financial sections last week.
An organization called the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an outfit made up of 33 nations which looks after economic data across the globe.
The OECD released a report projecting that the U.S. economy would slow from 2.7 percent this year to 2.2 percent in 2011 and only grow to 3.1 percent in 2012.
Not only that, but Reuters reported
The OECD estimated that the 16-nation euro zone economy would grow 1.7 percent in both 2010 and 2011 as governments tighten strained budgets and peripheral members including Greece and Ireland battle crippling debt burdens.
Why is this such a big deal? Because 2.2 percent growth in the world's largest economy isn't enough to reduce 9.6 percent unemployment. A growth rate of 3.1 percent will only make a dent - if that.
So, the President will be heading into his re-election campaign at the helm of a recession (in effect, if not in fact) which will be in its fifth year.
None of this bodes well for President Obama to be able to lord his "I won, get over it" attitude over a rejuvenated and already feisty Republican Congressional delegation beginning on January 5, 2011.
This may be a one-term slump for Obama.
To read another article by Rich Galen, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:36 PM