Hugh Hewitt: Looking back on the president’s year of failure

President Barack Obama’s year of blunders is ending with the worst failure yet by the president and his team: An Islamist terrorist penetrated the United States and came very close to perpetrating the greatest mass casualty attack within the U.S. since 9/11.

The president’s first year in office has been marked by a string of pratfalls.

President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus didn’t work.

His hasty takeover of GM didn’t restore confidence in the brand or faith in the company’s executive team or future.

Obamacare has failed to persuade even 40 percent of the American people of its merits, and depends upon the enthusiasm of such brilliant lights as Barbara Boxer, Al Franken and Bernie Sanders to pass.

The president’s rhetoric about restraining spending has been washed away in a flood of red ink far vaster than all that has gone before it.

And despite this profligate hemorrhaging of money the country doesn’t have, unemployment is in the double digits and key industries like homebuilding remain moribund.

Obama’s repeated appeals to the radical mullahs of Iran have not only failed to launch any sort of constructive engagement, but a year into his “new diplomacy” the radical Islamists atop the power structure in Tehran are mowing down dissidents in the streets.

And now at least one foreign-born terrorist has breached American security — despite a specific warning given by the terrorist’s father to American officials six months ago — only weeks after the worst domestic Islamist terror act since the war began.
The president is abandoning Iraq and his dithering on Afghanistan has launched a necessary surge, but attached an expiration date to it.

Perhaps the close call over the approach to Detroit will wake up the responsible members of the president’s party, and perhaps they will ask for a meeting in which they can lay out the obvious truths:

The president should spend more time and effort helping the CIA stop terrorists abroad than pursuing investigations into CIA personnel who have kept us safe in the past.

The president should stop spending so much time and effort removing terrorists from Gitmo, arranging their trials in New York and their imprisonment in Illinois, and instead spend much more time arranging for more terrorists to spend time in Gitmo’s secure confines.
The president should spend less time in Copenhagen seeking Olympic games and global warming fame and more time at home demanding more vigilance from his woeful Homeland Security staff.

And the president should spend more time encouraging and consulting with our allies like Great Britain and Israel than pleading with our enemies in Iran and North Korea for breakthroughs that will not come.

2009 is the worst year for a president since 1978, which began with Jimmy Carter standing by, paralyzed, as the Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran, and ended as Jimmy Carter stood paralyzed while the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

The tale of Obama’s and his team’s incompetence must have come completely into focus even for the MSM when his Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano declared to CNN’s Candy Crowley that the attack on Detroit that failed to kill hundreds only because of the incompetence of the terrorist and the courage of a foreign filmmaker demonstrated that “the system worked.”

This must strike even the president’s network cheerleaders as Orwellian. And chilling.

Obama has proved himself remarkably skilled for the role of celebrity talking-head, and woefully ill-prepared for the job of leader of the free world and defender of American security. He campaigned as the opposite of George W. Bush and he has delivered, as the attack on Detroit demonstrates.

The country cannot afford two years in a row of such incompetence and close calls. Let us hope that senior statesmen in the president’s party summon the courage to demand the changes in staff and policies that halt this accelerating parade of fiascos.

And let’s hope they begin with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, where change must come soon — before less incompetent terrorists make their way into the airspace above America’s great cities.

Examiner columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at

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