Heading into the Fourth of July holiday, President Obama has seen better days. While he received the seemingly good news that Al Franken is finally recognized as the senator from Minnesota -- giving Democrats a theoretical filibuster-breaking 60th vote in the Senate -- the rest of the week wasn't so great.
The administration condemned the ousting of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya -- even though close inspection revealed that the action wasn't quite the same as actual military coups in Latin America's past. The Honduran Army acted in concert with the country's Supreme Court, which agreed with the legislature that Zelaya had overstepped his bounds in trying to impose a referendum that would have allowed him to bypass the country's term limits. Zelaya's successor -- from the same party -- has already announced that this year's elections will go on as scheduled. Unfortunately, the Obama White House decided to adopt the old Latin American script of "if the military is involved, it must be a coup."
Then, later in the week, the press -- accused of being too solicitous of Obama and Co. continued its recent pushback. CBS's Chip Reid and Helen Thomas -- still a White House reporter after more than five decades -- accused Press Secretary Robert Gibbs of "trying to control the press." Part of this goes back to the flap from last weekend when the Washington Post's Dana Milbank accused the White House of "planting" (in the last news conference) a question from the liberal Huffington Post in the last presidential news conference. That was followed by Wednesday's health-care reform "town hall" meeting -- which had more than a few "ringers," i.e. DNC and other partisan individuals who asked questions designed to get favorable responses from the president:
The president called randomly on three audience members. All turned out to be members of groups with close ties to his administration: the Service Employees International Union, Health Care for America Now, and Organizing for America, which is a part of the Democratic National Committee. White House officials said that was a coincidence.
Thomas followed up her intense questioning with an interview where she declared that the current administration was attempting things that not even Nixon tried. Ouch.
Finally, if the recession is easing, it's not seen in the job area: The yearly unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent in June, as the economy shed another 467,000 jobs. While it is true that job creation is a lagging indicator in a recession, a near half-million jobs disappearing is not an indicator that the end of the recession is around the corner (regardless of what the president says with his rose-colored lenses on).
Six months into the job, this is Barack Obama's economy now. And after spending trillions over that period, if new jobs aren't yet materializing, public support -- especially for new, expensive, government programs -- will shrivel up pretty quickly.
Not exactly the "good news" that a president likes to hear as he starts the holiday weekend.