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July 29, 2013 3:14 PM More Heads We Win, Tails You Lose

By Ed Kilgore

After months and even years of blaming the president for lack of progress on the economy on every day he doesn’t talk about it obsessively, conservative and MSM gabbers are taking a rather different tack now that Obama is delivering serial speeches on the economy. Many, as discussed here last week, complain he is failing to articulate “new ideas.” But leave it to Peggy Noonan: on a Sunday show she came up with a plenary attribution of preemptive blame if Obama’s speeches don’t move mountains:

[W]hen the White House calls it a pivot, somebody counted it up and said it’s probably the tenth pivot to the economy the president has done since he came in.
I noticed that in one of the speeches, it went over an hour. There was a heck of a lot jammed in. That tells me something. It said we’re not sure exactly what to say, so we’re going to say everything, but a speech about everything is a speech about nothing. Beyond that, I think every president in the intense media environment we have now, certainly every two-term president, gets to a point where the American people stop listening, stop leaning forward hungrily for information. I think this president got there earlier than most presidents. And I think he’s in that time now.

So having insufficiently tried to exert magical rhetorical powers on the economy, Obama has pre-failed in doing so now, because those who like Noonan have stopped “leaning forward hungrily for information” (presumably information on which of his policies he’s abandoning or which conservative policy he is adopting) have tuned out.

I’m sure Peggy’s intention here is to suggest Obama will spend the balance of his second term in futility with his approval ratings eroding, like George W. Bush. But consciously or not, she’s made a pretty good case for going on a very long vacation herself.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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