Charles Blow is depressed, for he has joined the ranks of the defeatists. Or perhaps Blow has joined the depressed because of an underlying defeatist complex--the helpless sort of woe-is-us mentality that has plagued so much of the center left throughout so much of Obama's presidential tenure.
This POTUS, according to the Blow/center-left's brooding, is but a defenseless voice in the savage wilderness of the omnipotent "right-wing media machine," represented in Blow's latest column by--who else?--the all-powerful Fox News. "We seem to be drifting inexorably toward escalating our fight" with ISIS, writes Blow, for two reasons: "alarm at the speed and efficiency with which ISIS ... has made gains in northern Iraq," and "the tremendous political pressure coming from the screeching of war hawks and an anxious and frightened public, weighted most heavily among Republicans and exacerbated by the right-wing media machine."
Again, by the "machine" Blow means Fox, even though, as Frank Rich rightly pointed out in February ("Stop Beating a Dead Fox"), with the network's "median viewer age now at 68..., Fox is in essence a retirement community" of merely a "million or so"--out of more than 300 million Americans. Those who watch Fox listen to Limbaugh, whose auditors also listen to Levin, whose own auditors also watch Fox, and so on, or rather round and round it goes. The overlap in the far right's anti-Obama hysteria isn't much greater percentage-wise than the number of paranoid crackpots who thought FDR a Jewish socialist or JFK a tool of the Vatican.
From this fragile web of right-wing frenzy Blow suggestively weaves his argument: Two-thirds of us now see "ISIS as a major threat to the United States," according to Pew Research; voila, this public-opinion development must surely be the result of a Fox News' host telling us "that [we] need to be afraid" of, as Blow puts it, the president's "fecklessness in dealing with ISIS," and because Republican pols appearing on Fox are trying to "scare the public into supporting more action."
Blow's transcendently depressed and utterly defeatist conclusion? "The president is trying to take a deliberative approach, but he may be drowned out by the drums of war and the chants for blood."
The way in which Blow constructs that contrast clearly upends his usage of "drowned out." What Blow is instead suggesting is that the president may be bullied into an unwanted escalation--that Obama is but an object ball on a billiard table, one subject to the violent and chaotic blows of jingoistic GOPers and a nasty, dyspeptic media.
In short, Blow is suggesting that President Obama is essentially helpless, that he possesses no power to influence the "narrative" on this or any other issue, and that--paranoid-style-like--only the right's all-powerful supermen are endowed with such influence. Blow's is a depressingly defeatist attitude that has taken hold among much of the center left as a way to explain away Obama's many frustrations and thwartings. Predictably enough, Blow's broadly shared attitude has served to only further weaken this president.