Another “wheels coming off the wagon” week for Obama
The Democratic party dedicated vast amounts of convention time in Charlotte to polishing President Obama’s national security credentials by featuring Sen. John Kerry as a convention speaker and repeatedly bringing up the death of Osama bin Laden. If this seemed a little bit obnoxious set against the backdrop of a chaotic floor vote rebuking decades of consensus American foreign policy, now it seems downright ridiculous after the start of another week characterized by discord on several fronts.
Monday marked the start of an ongoing teachers’ strike in urban Chicago. The strike has left Obama in a precarious position as it is his former White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, that the Chicago Teachers’ Union is picketing. Republicans have made a point of standing with Rahm Emanuel against the union. Meanwhile, President Obama needs both the support of unions for assistance in getting out the vote and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel due to his status as one of the top Democratic SuperPAC fundraisers. It doesn’t help matters any that Obama is very closely associated with the Chicago political machine: his presidential campaign is still headquartered there, and current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is the former Chicago Chief of Schools. Voters in the region will now be left with the image of 350,000 students mostly from low-income families being locked out of class indefinitely as a result of a conflict between a left-leaning special interest group and one of Obama’s most high profile supporters. While the story is already old news in Arizona, voters in Wisconsin and Ohio are probably going to hear a lot about it.
Tuesday brought the news that President Obama had refused to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister. In the light of last week’s serious unforced error at the DNC convention, this seems like an extremely amateurish mistake to make. Netanyahu then alluded to the incident when he stated, “Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel”. That sounds like a warning coming from a nation normally considered an ally of the United States.
Then of course, Wednesday was marked by tragedy in Libya and dishonor in Egypt. While Obama is no more directly responsible for Ambassador Stevens’s death than he is for Bin Laden’s, it certainly is not an event that will help him to sell his record on national security issues to voters. Now it appears that Thursday is beginning with mobs of protesters storming the embassy in Yemen.
Hold onto your hats, because it’s going to be a wild ride from here on out. The wheels are coming off the wagon, and there’s no sign that anybody in Washington is holding the reins. Mitt Romney may not be the most personable man in the world, but it’s hard to imagine someone with his organizational talents making these type of mistakes.