What was the source of the failure? It was the same at the beginning that it was at the end. Despite his intelligence, erudition, earnestness, and public-relations genius, and the mastery of all the Hollywood-style theatrics of the presidency, Obama’s central problem was his failure to address the driving concern of all of American life: the economic quality of our own lives.
In other words, despite his hope and charm, his highly credentialed brain trust, his prestige cabinet, and all the enthusiasm of his followers, he did not end persistent economic stagnation. The movie has ended. We leave the theater with an empty popcorn-bag, a watery soda, and once again deal with the real world instead of the fantasy we watched on the screen.
Now, you can chalk this up to many factors but let’s just suppose that Obama and his team truly did have the best intentions going into this. What was the missing piece? He never understood economics and he had very little appreciation for the power of freedom to create wealth and prosperity.
The Greenbergs, not intending to make the same point, describe the problem:
His legacy regrettably includes the more than 1,000 Democrats who lost their elections during his two terms. Republicans now have total control in half of America’s states.
Why such political carnage?
Faced with the economy’s potential collapse as he took office, Mr. Obama devoted his presidency to the economic recovery, starting with restoring the financial sector. But he never made wage stagnation and growing inequality central to his economic mission, even though most Americans struggled financially for the whole of his term.
Which is to say that his failed economics agenda drove the party into the ground.
At the same time, Mr. Obama declined to really spend time and capital explaining his initiatives in an effective way. He believed that positive changes on the ground, especially from economic policies and the Affordable Care Act, would succeed, vindicating his judgment and marginalizing his opponents.
He truly did believe it would work, whereas anyone with basic economics understanding could foresee that the ACA would fail. Anyone familiar with the history of socialism would know failure was baked into the entire command-and-control apparatus.
Absent a president educating the public about his plans, for voters, the economic recovery effort morphed into bailouts — bank bailouts, auto bailouts, insurance bailouts. By his second year in office, he spotlighted the creation of new jobs and urged Democrats to defend our “progress.”
When President Obama began focusing on those “left behind” by the recovery, he called for building “ladders of opportunity.” That communicated that the president believed the country’s main challenges were unrealized opportunity for a newly ascendant, multicultural America, rather than the continuing economic struggle experienced by a majority of Americans.
Which is to say that he took wealth creation for granted, as if it were a machine that would run on its own without necessary fuel. His administration saw its job as the one the media and academic elite cheered on: achieving cosmetic gains for the gauzy causes of social justice, cultural inclusion, and progressive government management. To be sure, there are policy changes that could have been pursued on this front – such as ending the drug war and penal reform – but these were both too little and too late.
Full article: The Reason Barack Obama Failed | Intellectual Takeout