In 2008, David Brooks of The New York Times played the sycophant when he admired the crease in Mr. Obama's pants and concluded that it was a sign he would be "a very good president." Last Thursday, Dana Milbank of The Washington Post wrote a scathing column, the headline of which suggests the media worm may have begun to turn: "Skip the falsehoods, Mr. President, and give us a plan."
Boring was one of the kinder things said about Mr. Obama's speech, which rivaled Bill Clinton's address to the 1988 Democratic National Convention.
In his Ohio speech, President Obama failed to offer a new formula to increase employment and repair the economy, which he as a candidate promised to do, saying that if he failed, his would be a one-term presidency. Instead, he doubled down on class warfare that has solved nothing. He blamed gridlock for stifling progress toward a better economy, but he was no more successful at repairing the economy when Democrats held both houses of Congress. Unlike Clinton, who claimed to have heard the message from voters when Democrats lost the House in 1994 and moved to the center, President Obama seems clueless about the message voters sent in the 2010 election that they are unhappy with his leadership and with where the country is headed.
On liberal MSNBC, Jonathan Alter called Mr. Obama's Ohio speech, "one of the worst speeches I've ever heard Barack Obama make." That network's Mike O'Brien tweeted before the speech was over, begging the president to stop. ABC News reporter Devin Dwyer tweeted that the speech was "more lecture or courtroom arg than rally."
There was no humility in the speech, no reaching out to Republicans, no sense that "we're all in this together," just the boilerplate narcissism and hubris that defines this president and his presidency.
The White House advertised the Ohio speech as major and significant. It was major in terms of length, but it was insignificant in terms of content. His solution to everything continues to be raising taxes on the successful. Though the national debt is $15 trillion and climbing, the president maintains that $1.9 trillion in new taxes on the "rich" will put things right. Even a poor math student can subtract the smaller number from the larger one and be left with a difference of $13 trillion.
While the media and the political left may dislike Mr. Obama's performance in Ohio, their greater concern is loss of the White House and Congress to those "extremist" Republicans. They fear a President Mitt Romney would put two or three conservative members on the Supreme Court, shifting the divided court to the right.
Perhaps fear will drive more Democrats to the polls in November, but fear is not a policy, and Mr. Obama's policies are not working. As Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg wrote in a memo to fellow Democrats, the president needs a "new narrative" that "focuses on what we will do to make a better future for the middle class."
He can't, because he is an ideologue steeped in the philosophy of "Rules for Radicals" author Saul Alinsky, the prisoner of an ideological "cult" that cannot broker any belief but its own.
Here's Bill Clinton in 2010, trying to persuade voters not to vote Democrats out of their congressional majority: "Give us two more years. If it doesn't work, you have another election in just two years. You can vote us out then."
That's good advice to follow.