As I replied to the Peggy Noonan commentary link Jim Treacher posted on his Face Book status I realized my multiple comments were pretty much my own commentary in progress, so I went with it…
As we approach the most important election of this nation’s history those that praised Obama in 2008, some that grace our TV screens and print media that bought into the unicorn dust and Messiah imagery, find themselves astonished Obama not only isn’t what they thought he was … but that he is exactly what WE warned he was, and would be, and what he would do to our country. Writer Peggy Noonan is one as she wakes up and realizes: Not-So-Smooth Operator Obama increasingly comes across as devious and dishonest.
Something’s happening to President Obama’s relationship with those who are inclined not to like his policies. They are now inclined not to like him. His supporters would say, “Nothing new there,” but actually I think there is. I’m referring to the broad, stable, nonradical, non-birther right. Among them the level of dislike for the president has ratcheted up sharply the past few months.
It’s not due to the election, and it’s not because the Republican candidates are so compelling and making such brilliant cases against him. That, actually, isn’t happening.
What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who’s not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it’s his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it’s a big fault.
The shift started on Jan. 20, with the mandate that agencies of the Catholic Church would have to provide services the church finds morally repugnant. The public reaction? “You’re kidding me. That’s not just bad judgment and a lack of civic tact, it’s not even constitutional!” Faced with the blowback, the president offered a so-called accommodation that even its supporters recognized as devious. Not ill-advised, devious. Then his operatives flooded the airwaves with dishonest—not wrongheaded, dishonest—charges that those who defend the church’s religious liberties are trying to take away your contraceptives.
What a sour taste this all left. How shocking it was, including for those in the church who’d been in touch with the administration and were murmuring about having been misled.