1. It's been so bad that the media dropped their erstwhile foible of talking about everything that happens in terms of what it means for Obama. And here it is, the first lap of his new term, when there's more reason than usual to talk about how things are working out for the President.
2. Obama made gun control his big issue leading into the new term. He tried so hard to deploy his speaking skills to channel the nation's emotion after the Sandy Hook massacre, and in the end he couldn't even wrangle all of the Democrats in the Senate, and he was reduced yesterday to surrounding himself with human vessels of tragedy and "a scowling Vice President Biden" and pronounce it "all in all... a pretty shameful day for Washington." The media offered weak support by describing him as passionately angry, but I watched the video and found it surprising dull. I couldn't motivate myself to go over to my computer to blog about it last night. Obama knew he was going to lose. The theater of sympathy and outrage had gone on far too long, the show was a flop, and the leading man was obliged to take his curtain call.
3. North Korea apparently has a nuclear weapon and the nerve to use it (or to pose as if it does), and the new Secretary of State, the exceedingly dreary John Kerry, is sojourning in the general area nattering about global warming — "the Foreign Minister and I agreed to raise the initiative above the level that it is today" — and meanwhile, back in the United States, it's really cold.
4. Obama's efforts to get some lightweight good press over basketball failed. His bracket was busted, and a cutesy photo-op produced an embarrassing video in which he went 2 for 22. That he could play basketball was an element of his legend, and now it's that video that comes to mind when we think of Obama and basketball. Does he even have another sport? Golf? Golf, unlike basketball, never worked as an element of the Obama legend.
5. He shut off White House tours, presumably on the theory that it would spark outrage at the sequester (and those terrible Republicans), but that gesture clashed with his own fun in the White House. Ordinary kids had their field trips canceled, while Obama's daughters got Justin Timberlake to come to the White House and perform right in front of them. It was another of the many parties. Wasn't Beyonce just there? And then she and Jay-Z went to Cuba, and, when criticized, Jay-Z put out a pissy rap tune that (I think) insulted Obama.
6. George Bush is making a comeback, with some charming new elements: He's a granddad and he paints pictures of dogs. The big library is opening. And then there's the new disaster in Waco, just 45 miles from his Crawford ranch, giving Bush reason to do a low-profile but touching trip to comfort the injured and the bereaved. So now does that mean Obama has to go to Texas? He's already going to Boston for a memorial service. How can he not go to Texas? But Texas is not comfortable territory for Obama.
7. Margaret Thatcher up and died. What rotten luck! What a platform for the promoters of the ideology in opposition to his! And then idiots take to the streets with all that "Ding, Dong the Witch Is Dead" childishness and disrespect, damaging the left-wing brand. Should Obama attend the funeral? Ah, at least send the Vice President. At least send somebody! No. He sends nobody.
8. What's the legislative agenda? Immigration reform? WaPo headlines: "Obama isn’t leading on immigration, and that’s a good thing." The media's attempts to help are getting really embarrassing. He's not leading, but, see, that's a good thing. Let us explain why: "Presidential leadership is a polarizing force...." Blah blah blah. What really matters are the 2014 elections. Just hang back and wait. Nothing but weakness and failure might just be a devious strategy for winning 565 days from now.
9. What's happening with Obamacare? That was the achievement of Obama's first term. If there's one thing he ought to do with this second term, it's make sure that thing gets implemented in a way that works with some degree of smoothness, at least enough that — when people finally notice what's been in the works for so long — we don't freak out entirely. But: "A senior Democratic senator who helped write President Barack Obama’s health care law stunned administration officials Wednesday, saying openly he thinks it’s headed for a 'train wreck' because of bumbling implementation.'"
10. The trial of Kermit Gosnell is fogging up the clarity achieved in 2012 victory in the War on Women.