Jewish World Review June 25, 2010 13 Tamuz 5770
Has Obama Run Out of Luck?
By Roger Simon
Barack Obama used to be one lucky guy. His rise to power was nothing less than meteoric. In 1997, he was serving as a state senator from Illinois. By 2009, he was president of the United States.
Twelve years from the dusty prairie outpost of Springfield to the marbled hallways of the center of the free world? That ain't half bad.
Obama did it with intelligence, excellent management skills, a genuine sense of vision, and the ability to reach out to people and persuade them he was a true agent of change.
He was also darn lucky. He got past things that might have sunk an ordinary candidate, including his ties to Chicago crook Tony Rezko, '60s radical William Ayers and firebrand preacher Jeremiah Wright, as well as some mediocre debate performances and the loss of New Hampshire in the primaries.
But if luck is defined as what happens when hard work meets opportunity, then Obama was lucky. He was a superior candidate with a superior organization, and he couldn't have been luckier than running on a platform of change against John McCain and his platform of experience at a time when people were sick and tired of insiders and their same old ways.
According to Time magazine in June 2008, "Amongst the things that Barack Obama carries for good luck are a bracelet belonging to a soldier deployed in Iraq, a gambler's lucky chit, a tiny monkey god, and a tiny Madonna and child."
Some months later, somebody must have picked his pocket because, as president, he has run into the buzz saws of near economic collapse, worsening unemployment, a belligerent Iran, a confrontational North Korea, an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and a runaway general who never should have gotten his promotion in Afghanistan and then was forced to give it up, which is just what we needed in a war that looks more unwinnable every day.
Not even Obama's successes seem to get him much. This is from my June 11 Oval Office interview with him:
"You passed health care reform. It was historic. No president had ever done it. There could have been ticker-tape parades. They could have put you on a postage stamp," I said with a certain amount of hyperbole, and the president smiled. "Instead, there seems to be a sort of low-level anger and irritation; your poll numbers dropped. Do you ever ask yourself, 'What is it that these people want?'"
Obama gave a lengthy answer saying that even though the economy was improving, people were still worried about their jobs and wages.
"I guess what I'm saying here, Roger," he said, "is, over the last year and a half, we've had to do more than one thing at a time. We've had to save the economy immediately, but we've also had to make sure that we are solving some chronic problems. ... And you're not always going to get compliments for that when people have something that they're dealing with immediately in front of them."
"Do we expect too much from our presidents?" I asked him. "You not only have to run the country, win wars, protect the nation from terrorism and improve the economy, now you have to fix oil spills. Do we have an 'Iron Man' view of the presidency?"
"Look, I think that it is an enormous privilege to be elected president of the United States," he said. "And when you run and you win, one of the things that you should understand is that if there's a problem out there somewhere, directly or indirectly, people are going to hold you responsible at some level. So not only do I not mind that, but I welcome it.
"As Michelle always reminds me, I volunteered for this job."
He did. And he got it. And now all he needs is a little bit of luck.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
© 2009, Creators Syndicate