It’s been a rough year so far for the president, and it could get worse:
1. President Obama wound up ratifying all but a sliver of the Bush tax cuts.
2. He exaggerated, got caught exaggerating and lost on the sequestration implementation.
3. Now he’s backing down from the latest punish-the-public gambit. (The Associated Press reports: “Under pressure, the White House signaled Wednesday it might accept legislation eliminating Federal Aviation Administration furloughs blamed for lengthy flight delays for airline passengers, while leaving the rest of $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts in place. The disclosure came as sentiment grew among Senate Democrats as well as Republicans for legislation to ease the impact of the cuts on the FAA, possibly by loosening restrictions on agency spending.”)
4. He lost on gun control.
5. His national-security flops on Benghazi, North Korea, Syria and more still plague him while his secretary of defense is uninspiring and his secretary of state is gaffe-prone. Obama gave lovely speeches after the Boston bombing, but scrutiny is now being focused on potential lapses by the FBI and/or CIA.
6. There is no grand bargain in sight.
7. The economy remains anemic. (Reuters points to the latest bad news: “Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods recorded their biggest drop in seven months in March and a gauge of planned business spending rose only modestly, the latest signs of a slowdown in economic activity. Durable goods orders slumped 5.7 percent as demand fell almost across the board, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.”)
8. Retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) concedes Obamacare is a “train wreck.”
9. A fleet of Senate Democrats have announced retirement rather than face the music in 2014.
10. The one significant legislative achievement is proceeding largely due to the president’s reluctance to engage on the issue, which has to date been a formula for divisiveness.
And to make matters that much more painful for the president and his cheerleaders, his presidency has helped induce a wave of George W. Bush nostalgia, who now according to The Post/ABC New poll is tied with Obama at 47 percent approval. There is a long, long way to go before Obama leaves office. But his lame-duck status in all likelihood will further weaken him as time goes on. Moving left has, in short, been an unmitigated disaster for the president.
In an odd way, the best thing to befall the president may be to let the GOP carry the ball on immigration, muddle along on the budget, lose the Senate and then start making the best of it with a GOP Congress that is longing to leave at least a down payment on the debt and set a course for entitlement reform. He might also consider boosting his standing as commander in chief. For unless he secures WMDs in Syria, disarms the mullahs and puts Kim Jong Un in a box, his domestic policy legacy will be the least of his worries.