Final proof at last: Obama *is* Carter II

Posted by: Phineas on April 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Leading from behind??”

The reliably liberal New Yorker magazine isn’t usually in the habit of presenting gifts to the Republican Party, but it has just published three little words that may prove central to the GOP effort to defeat President Obama next year. Those words are “leading from behind,” and they appear at the end of a Ryan Lizza article on Obama’s foreign policy.

Lizza didn’t coin the phrase. “Leading from behind” is a direct quote from of “one of [Obama’s] advisers,” who is describing his boss’ policy on Libya. That same adviser goes on to say that the effort to lead from behind is “so at odds with the John Wayne expectation for what America is in the world. But it’s necessary for shepherding us through this phase.”

And there you have it: the 2012 campaign against Obama’s foreign policy in a nutshell. By the time Election Day rolls around, if the GOP knows what’s good for it, the phrase “leading from behind” will be the “yes, we can” of 2012.

The reason the phrase is so devastating is that “leading from behind” wasn’t intended as criticism but rather as a sympathetic, even proud, defense of the administration’s approach and goals.

Lizza describes it thus: “It’s a different definition of leadership than America is known for, and it comes from two unspoken beliefs: that the relative power of the US is declining, as rivals like China rise, and that the US is reviled in many parts of the world.

Wow. EU-style “soft power” in all its spineless glory. It’s the perfect implementation of a worldview that sees American power as the problem and seeks its deliberate weakening. Only you don’t let on that that’s your plan; rather, you couch it in terms of “inevitable decline” versus the latest threat(1) and the need to make ourselves more liked in the international community (all bow).

Oh, heck, This isn’t just Carter. It’s Carter’s “malaise” speech wrapped up in Dukakis’s tank ride with a bow made from Kerry’s “global test.”

The article is right: if Republicans don’t use this like a club to whack Obama at every opportunity in the coming campaign, they don’t deserve to win.

LINKS: A British view — Obama looks “weak and confused.”


(1)Now it’s China. Remember the 1980s when Japan was going to eat our lunch?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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6 Responses to “Final proof at last: Obama *is* Carter II”


  1. CHOW says:

    Thank You Phineas! I have been trying to remind everybody that japan was supposed to eat our lunch and it did not happen. And Germany, and the European Union, and, well you get the idea.

  2. Neo says:

    The May 10 [2010] edition of the Harvard Business Review includes a post titled “Leading From Behind,” about the impact of today’s economy on leadership styles. Author Linda Hill notes that today’s successful leaders are those who are skilled at “harnessing people’s collective genius.”

    I find it hard to believe that a President, who managed not to ever meet individually with some of his Cabinet members during his first two years, is worried about harnessing their collective genius.

  3. Carlos says:

    Yes, Obhammud can now “advanced to the rear” with all due caution, his hallmark trait in foreign policy, and be covered by the Left Stream Media all the way.

    I would call him and them pig poop, but I’m starting to think that would be offensive to the farm animals…

  4. Graceia says:

    I can see it now, the perfect Republican campaign video: A a dog with Obama as the tail – caption: “Leading From Behind”.

  5. Carlos says:

    Due to the news of the last couple of days, I wish to note that our dear and beloved leader is a RACIST!

    If it were not so, he wouldn’t have scheduled all the tornadoes in the south, would have been down there helping all the poor folk (especially the African-Americans) he says he has compassion for (and we don’t), and wouldn’t be cavorting off to do an Oprah taping and fundraising for his coming campaign.

    At least GW expressed sorrow about the devastation of Katrina. This racist jerk can’t even do that. Just like Jimmuh.

  6. captaingrumpy says:

    Poor America.
    How come you guys can’t look at who you are voting for.
    I know,he lied about EVERYTHING and the ‘feely touchy’ people felt sorry for this “black spot on life.”
    You can use my term for him.