Second Excerpt

10 August 2011

The second excerpt from The Handbook appeared in the Guardian online on Tuesday

Obama must be feeling like the only friend he has these days is Bo. His speech the other day was a disaster, as bad as Bush’s post 9/11 ‘Go Shoppin’ fiasco. Remember that one? The American people were ready to sacrifice. We were primed for a “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” moment, and what we got was a President who asked us to……’go shoppin’.

And go shopping we did. Man, did we ever.

The speech was delayed an hour, and it’s easy to imagine O’s aides arguing over what the content should be, or whether he should give one at all. There is no greater agony for a leader than to have his counselors at odds with each other over the Way Forward. But is there one? It’s hard to see how Obama is going to avoid the fate his ill-wisher, Rush, wished on him at his inauguration (“I hope he fails!” When I heard that I remember thinking how much Rush reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the West interrupting the Munchkins celebration of her sisters demise). Obama has already walked into a no-win situation when, in November, the Twelve Wise Men will try to agree on a second round of deficit cutting measures.

Or not. Why in the world would the Republicans agree to a dime of revenue increases when, if they do nothing, which they are exceptionally good at (I finally figured out this is what Rush means when he refers to ‘American Exceptionalism’), the default will be massive spending cuts in Defense and Social Programs. The economy will further tank, and Obama will go into the election with north of 10% unemployment.

If there is a way out of this box, I don’t see it. I hope, for Obama’s sake, he does.

Rupert Scofield


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