With President Obama taking some well deserved vacation on Martha's Vineyard, that well known summer playground of the rich and famous, it might be a good time to evaluate the current state of the Obama Phenomenon.
By the time of the November 2008 election the country had became so angry at the failures of the Bush administration and of Republicans in general that John McCain was doomed. Fiscal mismanagement, a crumbling economy, rising unemployment and war seemingly without end, was just too much weight for the old fighter jock McCain to carry.
Republican congressmen, senators and pundits like to lay all the blame for their descent into the minority on George Bush's presidency and John McCain's campaign, conveniently forgetting that their own arrogance, lust for power and spendthrift ways had a lot to do with it.
The American humorist of the 1930s and 40s, Franklin Pierce Adams once said, "Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody." And Barack Obama is no exception.
But that lesson was lost on the Obama folks almost from day one. They did what all politicians and their supporters do after a big victory-- completely misread the mood of the electorate interpreting their victory as a mandate to radically reshape American society. They actually believed in their "Yes We Can" agenda -- and with their amen corner in the mainstream media calling him the greatest leader since FDR who could blame them?
But from where I sit, Barack Obama is a"post turtle." What is a"post turtle" you urbane urbanites and city slickers might ask?
Well one day an old cowboy was out ridin' fence and he saw a turtle balanced on top of a fence post. When he got back to the bunkhouse he told the other fellas that he saw a "post turtle". They all asked, "What the hell is a 'post Turtle'? And he said it was a turtle settin' on top of a post! He then went on to explain that "you know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there and you just wonder what kind of dang fool put him up there to begin with!"
Obama was never really vetted by the adoring media, he has never had his nose bloodied in a real political fight, in the Senate he perfected voting "present" to an art form, he has no real understanding or knowledge of the struggles of his countrymen, and he has had no real hard life experiences that are the hot steel needed to forge and shape leadership qualities.
During the campaign when he made the comments about some Americans"clinging to their guns and their religion" to a crowd of well-heeled San Francisco Democrats, it was almost as if he was giving them an anthropological lecture on the people of the rest of America. What he said demonstrated a total lack of understanding of his fellow citizens, but the way he said it was worse. It was as if he was saying, "You know I just returned from the hinterlands and I would like to tell you about the strange natives and their quaint customs I encountered in my travels."
And they wonder why health care is in trouble.
There is also a growing perception about Obama being in over his head and that his inexperience, once seen as a not being a problem by his admirers, has become a problem.
Still, Obama appears to enjoy BEING president--throwing out the first pitch of the baseball season, cracking jokes at the White House Correspondents Dinner and having a NASCAR Day at the White House. The more important question is does he really know how to BE president?
Well, over the next few months we are about to find out. His health care plan is in deep trouble, the economy has too much "whoa" and not enough "giddyup," and critical foreign policy questions will need to be answered on Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran -- to name just a few.
He is either going to stand up and grab the standard of leadership or he will show that he really is a "post turtle" after all.
The days of fancy speeches and adoring rallies are over. The American people have been aroused from their infatuation and will now be judging him on cold hard facts not his rhetorical flourishes. It's about to get very interesting.
As Obama's hero old Abe Lincoln said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."
And the American people are showing they ain't no fools.
Patrick Dorinson is a radio talk show host and commentator who goes by the name"The Cowboy Libertarian." He can be heard on a radio program with the same name Saturdays, from 5-6 p.m. PT on Clear Channel's KFBK radio in Sacramento, California.