MICHAEL GOODWIN: Slick Talk Aside, Obama's Not Up to the Job

His message is wrong. He's not showing enough anger. He's lost control of the narrative. He's a vic tim of bad luck and big oil.

It's excuse time in the fudge factory. President Obama is getting lots of cover and advice from his left-leaning media friends. Their ideas run the gamut from public relations to, well, public relations.
Beyond the irony of journalists urging more spin from a politician, the really remarkable fact is that none dare consider the possibility that Obama is simply not up to the job. It is a scary thought, but evidence of consistent failure is overwhelming.

The high point of his presidency came the day he took office. Since then, a majority of Americans has opposed virtually all his major policies and he has prevailed on several only because of large Democratic congressional advantages.

The problems are growing, but he's not. If he were, we'd see green shoots of improvement.
Instead, the White House is going backwards at home and abroad and shows no ability to adjust. Like a cult, it interprets every reversal as proof of its righteousness and of others' malignancy.

What started out as a whiff of rookie incompetence has become a suffocating odor. It's hard to find a single area where Obama's policies are a convincing success.

Friday's poor jobs report, showing only 41,000 private-sector jobs added in May, helped send the stock market into a tailspin. Equally important to the actual number was the expectation it would be as high as 190,000.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden fed the expectation by predicting the report would be a good one. It was -- if you count Census jobs. There were 400,000 of those, or about 90 percent of the total, suggesting Obama and Biden see no difference between a temporary government job and a permanent, private one.

They ought to finally hear what employers have been telling them: Washington's taxing, spending, borrowing and red tape are holding back job creation. Nearly 5 million Americans have been out of work for more than a year, a dismal record of long-term unemployment.

But listening is not high on the White House agenda. Two people who have frequent contact with the administration told me recently that between Obama's "arrogance," as one put it, and his near-total reliance on his Chicago inner circle, as the other said, there is no welcome mat for dissent or fresh ideas.

One was talking about the White House view of Israel, the other about its handling of terrorism. Both policies are a mess and have added to the danger of war in the Mideast and attacks at home.

Meanwhile, over-promising and under-delivering is an administration habit. Russia and China, we've repeatedly been assured, have agreed to new sanctions on Iran, only they have not. And so the mad mullahs march unmolested toward The Bomb, the president's internationalist engagement bid a certifiable bust.

How about the pledge to be transparent and end politics as usual? The modified limited hangout on the unseemly job offers to Democratic primary candidates in Pennsylvania and Colorado marks the official death of those promises.

The Gulf oil disaster is the clearest sign of an unsteady hand. While Obama can't be blamed for the gushing well, he showed late and halfhearted recognition of the human and environmental cost, and still takes a distant approach. His three visits were little more than photo ops designed to quell criticism he's too detached.

A real leader would take control because that's what a leader does. Yet even now, on the 47th day after the fire and explosion, BP remains responsible not only for plugging the leak, but also for protecting and cleaning the marshes, beaches and wildlife.

The federal government should have assumed command and control of everything except the well, and billed BP for the cost. It didn't because Obama doesn't want to, or doesn't realize he should. Either way, he's not behaving like a president who gets it.

There were warnings that Obama wasn't prepared for the job.

"The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training," a campaign rival said. That was Joe Biden.

Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. To continue reading his column, click here

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