“Presidents,” wrote Douglass Cater, “like great French restaurants, have an ambiance all their own.” Each year does, too: 2009’s, annus horibilus. Seldom have so many failed at so much.
Tiger Woods met a fire hydrant — and the hydrant won. Michael Jackson’s memorial service starred narcissism meets exhibitionism. Hollywood excused director Roman Polanski for raping a 13-year-old. Barack Obama’s change we can believe in became change that defied below. Below, a year sadly impossible to forget:
Faux Messiah award. Vowing to part waters, Obama instead drowned, falling from 70 to 43 percent Rasmussen poll approval: worst first-year rating of any President. Whyfores included 10 percent unemployment, 3.4 million jobs lost, and ObamaCare one columnist dubs “a political suicide pact.”
The Audacity of Debt, as The Wall Street Journal wags. The 2009 deficit and national debt ceiling hit a nonpareil $1.4 trillion and $14 trillion, respectively. The Left rightly scored smaller 2001-08 GOP debt. Now it mimes Alfred E. Newman’s “What we worry?” Worrying: the next generation, drowning in red ink.
Single Glove, Double Vision: His Michaelness. On July 7, climaxing what one paper called “an orgy of obsession,” 31.1 million watched Jackson’s nationally televised memorial. What exactly did they celebrate, apart from me, myself, and I? Lingering: a child dangling from the man child’s ledge.
Big Spender: Peggy Lee vowed to “show you a good time.” Congress’s means a $787 billion stimulus; $410 billion bailout: $1-2 trillion health care scam; and $3.9 trillion in new spending. Former Clinton official Len Burman fears “a catastrophic budget failure.” It is easy to see why.
Thou Wilt Not Whine. Ike inherited Korea; Richard Nixon, Viet Nam; Ronald Reagan, malaise. None adolescently smeared his predecessor. Obama even blames George W. Bush for sending 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. “[W.’s] mistake,” he said, “is to have a triumphant sense of war” — victory. Grant, TR, and FDR shared that sense. Maybe Obama can start blaming them.
Thomas E. Dewey award. New York’s 1943-55 mustached Governor balanced each budget, forged the first state civil rights law, and built the New York State Thruway and State University system. Shaving, current Governor David Paterson remains less lame luck than gone goose. Clothes don’t make the man. Neither does a razor.
Tiger In the Tank. In a month, Woods’s Gallup approval rating has slid 55 percentage point, matching W.’s worst-ever fall. Long ago Tiger threw clubs, regularly swore around children, and treated journalists like chattel. Why was he once deemed a role model, not rogue?
Grading on a Curve. Obama apes the duffer, shooting 185, proud that he beat 210. He gives himself a “good, solid B+.” Compared to whom? James Buchanan? Andrew Johnson? Jimmy Carter? Forty percent in one survey wish that W. were still President! A Pew poll says only singles, secularists, the poor, and young back him By contrast, the Silent Majority can’t wait till November 2010. Grade: F.
Roman Polanski: pop, hip, and camp intelligentsia. In 1977, the director pled guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old. Fleeing America, he is now being extradited. You and I call this rape, Polanski getting what he deserves. Hollywood excused “a so-called crime,” wanting the rapist to get off free.
Anglophobia award: Obama, trashing our closest ally at Normandy, Korea, and now Afghanistan. Personalizing everything, he apparently loathes Great Britain’s suppressing the 1950s Mau Mau Rebellion, jailing Kenyans, including his grandfather. To our Juvenile-In-Chief, America is about him. In fact, it’s about America.
Wait Till Next Year. The post-1992 Pittsburgh Pirates have been sub-.500 each year. Anyone can have a slump. The Buffalo Bills are in their tenth year of a five-year plan. Anyone can have a bad decade. The Chicago Cubs last won a World Series in 1908. Anyone can have a bad century.
Al Sharpton award: liberal bigotry. Mormons are blackballed for backing California’s Proposition 8. The Left smears Christmas, observed by more than 9 in 10 Americans, unlike Ramadan, Kwanza, or Hanukkah, celebrated by less than 1. Marjorie Rosen’s book Boom Town attacks rural Arkansas — “emphatically Christian,” she curses — for “intolerance,” showing hers. Psychiatry terms this projection. Most people call it sick.
Bowl Full of Jelly: Republicans In Name Only (RINO). A recent photo shows distraught GOP New York State Senator James Alesi, head in hands, voting against gay wedlock. “I live in a political world. It’s not about courage,” he said, blaming his right-center district. Perhaps Alesi should change parties, even as same-sex marriage tanks in liberal California, New York, and Maine. Its boat is sinking, as Alesi apparently pants to board.
What’s My Line? Sarah Palin. Does she want the Presidency? Is her message right? (Likely) Is she the right messenger? (Unlikely) Who knows? Stay tuned.
Above all, Happy New Year. After all, 2010 can’t possibly be worse. Or can it? As Democratic pollster Don Campbell says, “It’s hard to be optimistic when you can’t even pay your bills.”
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