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Obama Fails at Home and Now Screws Up Abroad

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If, like me, you view the Republican candidates for 2012 as variations on the theme of "bad, worse, worser, worsest and worse-issimo," Barack Obama is less an incumbent president than he is a kind of leaky bus shelter where you find refuge on a lonely rural road during a hail storm.

Sure he's imperfect, but better than being pelted with ice. How else can you describe the man who fought to keep Tim Geithner as Treasury secretary even after he torpedoed Obama's plan to break up Citigroup?

But if you want to probe the depths of Obama's shortcomings -- why he may very well be a one-term president -- you have to wander away from domestic policy for a moment. You have to forget about the field of mice who are vying to run against him, and focus on what may be the biggest failing of the Obama presidency: his disastrous handling of the Israel-Palestine dispute.

What you see, when you examine the wreckage of the so-called peace process, is the same inescapable conclusion that you reach when you read Ron Suskind's terrific book "Confidence Men," cataloguing the failure of Obama's economic policies. Our president is simply not a very good manager, and a horror as a negotiator.

What I'm suggesting here may be the only mutually agreed-upon fact that can be found anywhere from the Nile to the Euphrates. Arabs and Israelis disagree about practically everything, from historical minutiae about the flight of refugees in 1948 to who is the proper custodian of that great Middle Eastern source of sustenance, falafel. But one thing that they agree upon is that Obama has been an absolute disaster as a peacemaker.

I know, one has to put scare quotes around "peace process." There just ain't anything like that taking place, as indicated by the resignation last week of Dennis Ross as the president's top Middle East advisor. Sure, the parties themselves get most of the blame for the fact that peacemaking has fizzled to a halt. But I think that much of the onus for that has to fall on Obama, personally, for breaking some fundamental -- not to mention common-sense -- rules of negotiation. At times, Obama has shown less negotiating savvy than that fat kid with the chin hair in Pawn Stars. It seems at times that he (Obama, that is) couldn't be trusted to negotiate for a gold chain.

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