I'M SHOCKED, SHOCKED, TO FIND THERE'S NOTICING GOING ON – AT 11:56 A.M. ET: What is happening at the AP? Has there been a religious experience? In 48 hours the Associated Press has noticed fully two major facts that we've been discussing for a very long time.
First, as we breathlessly reported yesterday, the AP noticed that Al Qaeda is targeting the West. And now, prayerfully, there's this:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- He says ''the buck stops with me,'' but nearly a year into office, President Barack Obama is still blaming a lot of the nation's troubles -- the economy, terrorism, health care -- on George W. Bush.
Thanks, fellas. Glad you figured it out. Were there big staff meetings involved?
Over and over, Obama keeps reminding Americans of the mess he inherited and all he's doing to fix it. A sharper, give-me-some-credit tone has emerged in his language as he bemoans people's fleeting memory about what life was like way back in 2008, particularly on the economy.
It is, after all, what amateurs do.
While candid about what he called his team's ''screw-up'' in the botched Christmas airliner attack, Obama has made a point of underlining all the good he believes his government has done, too.
''Our progress has been unmistakable,'' Obama said as the new year began. ''We've disrupted terrorist financing, cutting off recruiting chains, inflicted major losses on al-Qaida's leadership, thwarted plots here in the United States and saved countless American lives.''
Yeah, and the Titanic made it more than halfway across.
They sure thwarted that Fort Hood plot. And, if I recall, the airline bomber was thwarted by other passengers.
On terrorism, Americans are less concerned about quiet successes than troubling failures, especially one that evoked harrowing memories of Sept. 11, 2001.
On the economy, people prefer good news now, not updates on how things are gradually getting less bad.
Yup. If there's a Pulitzer for noticing, AP gets it.
"I think we have been successful in averting disaster,'' Obama said on Dec. 16 about righting the economy. ''You know, you don't get a lot of credit for that, because nobody knows how bad it could have been.''
"You know, President Roosevelt, the Japanese could have sunk even more battleships."
''The president himself, not surprisingly, may feel quite satisfied with accomplishments in his first year,'' said Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll. ''But we don't see signs that the American public is positive.''
I believe they call that the bottom line.
January 9, 2010