Watching the evening network newscasts one night in the
midst of the Vietnam War morass,
President Lyndon Johnson witnessed a withering
assault on his policies by none other than CBC News anchorman Walter Cronkite.
LBJ sighed, wearily shut off the Oval Office TV set and famously quipped, “If
I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost the nation.” And, sure enough LBJ had lost
the legendary Cronkite and, in turn, the entire nation. He scored poorly in a
few early 1968 Democratic presidential primaries and decided not to run for
Now, fast forward to the ides of June, 2010. President
Barack Obama is himself experiencing a later-day LBJ-Cronkite experience. In
the immediate aftermath of Obama’ televised Oval Office address Wednesday night
on the BP oil spill, both the lead Times
editorial as well as the rhetoric of its resident, caustic, left-wing liberal
columnist, Maureen Dowd’s positively savaged ‘The One’s’ indecisiveness.
This is Obama’s Vietnam moment. With Dowd, et al in the role
of Cronkite. If the President has lost the Times, then he’s most certainly lost the nation. Looking ahead to
2012, and borrowing a phrase from the upcoming Wimbledon Tennis Tournament,
it’s ‘Game. Set. Match’ for Mr. Obama. I can already visualize the January 2013
O’Dwyer’s headline reading, ‘Former President joins Edelman’s public
affairs office. Obama to counsel high-level clients on crisis issues. Joins
endless array of other erstwhile Capitol Hill power brokers to provide senior
So, what went so terribly wrong?
Unlike W. and Cheney, who shot first and asked questions
later, Obama vacillates to a fault. He waits. He ponders. He evaluates. He
fiddles while Rome, or in this case, Rome, Louisiana, burns. Obama’s Oval
Office speech was deemed a rhetoric-pocked, action-lacking failure by left-wind
pundits, And, if Dowd and company are unimpressed, god knows what the likes of
O’Reilly, Limbaugh and that ultimate pit bull, Glenn Beck, are saying (note:
for reason pertaining to my personal health and well-being, I will not watch
Mr. Beck. He not only baits in Josef Goebbels-like ways, he also bears an
uncanny physical resemblance to one of the worst clients in Peppercom history.
Note: think purple).
Like many moderates and liberals, I’d hoped that Barack
Obama’s ascendance signaled a new era in politics. I answered the clarion call
of change and voted for B.O. who, sadly, is literally living up to his initials
and stinking up the place.
The BP oil spill and Gulf disaster are the Teapot Dome and
Credit Mobilier of our era. One can also throw in Watergate, Iran-Contra and
Monica Lewinsky’s beret, for good measure. It’s been building to a slow
crescendo since his swearing in, but Barack Obama has clearly self-destructed
in the past few weeks.
I’m now convinced he’s a one-term President. That said,
who’s waiting in the wings? Weird Al Yankowicz?
The combination of a relentless 24×7, news beast salivating
at the thought of savaging any new candidate, along with the limitless personal
wealth available in the private sector, has scared away America’s most talented
managers. What’s left is a dog’s breakfast of dysfunctional miscreants
and career mediocrities who can neither talk nor shoot straight.
It’s enough to make a blogger ask for a third round of
Sancerre and go gently into that good (and oil-riddled) night. As former New
York Mets Manager Casey Stengel asked of his horrific 1962 squad: “Can anyone
here play the game?”