July 18

It is a bad sign when your political defense can be summed up with the phrase “things could be worse.” It is a very bad sign when that weak excuse applies to not only an incumbent president’s economic policy but also to his foreign policy.

Job growth is only a mirage and economic growth is anemic at best, but the president and his Democratic allies are still trying to convince us that our economy is in a good place and getting better. Six years after President Obama was elected, Democrats still have to fall back on reminding us that we were in a recession when he was elected. Incredibly, just yesterday, as the president proceeded with his prepared cheerleading speech on the economy despite the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine, he took the opportunity to remind us that, “we’re doing a whole lot better now than we were when I came into office.”

This morning, I read Fareed Zakaria’s Post column, “Not the worst of times.”  That headline sums up my point. Again, the main talking point these days seems to be, “things could be worse.” Fareed is forthright with his core argument: That when compared to the modern world’s worst crises (i.e. Vietnam, where 58,000 Americans died), things today are not as terrible as they look. I think Fareed might be showing symptoms of a particularly virulent strain of amnesia, often accompanied by acute tunnel vision, that afflicts Obama apologists and wannabe Administration insiders.  But even the most compliant of Obama’s foreign policy apologists are increasingly having a hard time defending this administration’s actions and not sounding the alarm.

In March, Fareed had called for the president to “rally the world” in defense of Ukraine and to “show the strength and skill to resolve” the crisis. Well, the president has done nothing of the sort. In fact, President Obama has consistently done too little too late. Meanwhile, Europe has charted its own course without much regard for Washington. And the president’s blasé attitude yesterday as news developed in both Ukraine and Israel got him off to a bad start on this latest round of crises.

In an election year, peace and prosperity matter. Right now, we have neither, and we have a growing sense that things are spiraling out of control at home and abroad. Even if the Democrats and their mouthpieces howl, they will have a hard time convincing voters that they should be satisfied with the economy or America’s international posture.

Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.