Free Markets, Free People

Does Obama get it yet?

I‘m not sure he does if his press conference yesterday was any indication. He handled it all right, I suppose, but his basic message was that he didn’t communicate his basic message. Not that his agenda had been rejected or that his policies were at fault. It was simply a matter of the poor dumb public not understanding what he was about and what he was doing. Victor Davis Hanson does a good job of dissecting the press conference (so I don’t have too) and states the problem I saw pretty darn well:

President Obama came close, but he still just cannot admit that his radical policies and their effects on the economy are the cause of his devastating political rebuke. For most of his press conference, an oddly depressed Obama voted present, as he all but said that the problems are mostly ours, not his — or at least not his agenda but perhaps an occasional inadequate communication.

In clingers fashion, he once more is talking down to us, explaining that we confused his necessary solutions with a bogeyman increase in big government, and so typically, in fright and ignorance, lashed out at his party. He is claiming the outrage grew from the same frustration that elected him, rather than arising precisely because of him and his agenda. In short, we are angry because his EU-socialist agenda is progressing too slowly and hasn’t delivered as promised — as it will in time. Perhaps then we will thank him for his proper big-government, big-spending solution.

The reasons this is so are many, but primarily they are because Obama doesn’t consider his ideas as radical or "big government" or, except out of an emergency necessity, "big spending." But obviously, given his year long focus on health care reform that involves much more government than ever before, he does think government is just not doing enough and is the solution for the majority of our problems. How he’s unable to reconcile that with not being a "big-government", "big-spending" type is left between he and his psychiatrist as the CEO of NPR might put it.

He seems bewildered (for the first time?) that his popularity as a campaign rhetorician did not last when he became responsible for actual governance. For most of the press conference, a humbled but deer-in-the-headlights Obama half-heartedly argued that the populist outrage against his own massive debt, huge wasteful government, and elitism was really outrage against the economy he inherited, an outrage that he shares. We don’t know it, the president hints, but we are still angry at the Bush years, and yesterday mistakenly took our wrath out on Obama’s methodical, albeit too slow, efforts at recovery. In short, there was little admission whatsoever that Obama’s message and the way he pushed it turned off millions — there was no repentant Clinton, circa autumn 1994, here; instead, a shocked Obama who seems hurt that we do not appreciate him.

That was pretty much my reaction as I watched him navigate the session (which, btw, was a press conference for only a selected number of journalists, called by name – the rest could have stayed home).  While he offered some hint he might be willing to compromise, the ideologue in him made it clear that such compromise would only take place at the margins.  When asked about the possibility of health care compromise to save it from repeal, Obama brought up the 1099 issue (something which has little if anything to do with health care but was a provision of the health care bill) as an example of something he might be willing to consider compromise on.  But it was clear there’d be none on the major provisions of the monstrosity passed by his administration.

He admitted he was insulated (a danger for all presidents).  He said “getting out” was good for him, implying that if he just did more of it, this pesky communication problem would clear itself up and all would be right with the “Hope and Change Express”. 

Except it won’t.  Even when he “gets out” he goes to carefully staged and managed events.  How he can think that he’s getting the true feelings of Americans out there after Tuesday night remains a mystery.  As Hanson says, he seemed bemused and bewildered by what had gone down.  He finally, well into the presser, called it properly a “shellacking”.

He mused about how it was the public’s perceptions about what he’d done in an “emergency” which was part of the problem and the other was the economy he inherited.  However he didn’t seem to understand that the public’s perception rests on how he reacted to the crisis – by expanding government and government spending.  And at almost light speed.    How he thinks he can now lay any legitimate claim to wanting to reduce the deficit after driving it to historic highs in each of first few budgets is beyond most.  But apparently he thinks all he has to do is communicate properly.

He threw out the usual platitudes about being the president and thus being responsible for what happened Tuesday, but you got the impression he really didn’t mean it.  He really didn’t think he or his policies were at fault.  Instead you felt he thought it was the voter’s fault for not being collectively bright enough to understand all the wonderful things he’d done.  All in all, despite some of his rhetoric, he seemed very disinclined to change his ways.

Hanson throws a little reality check the GOP’s way in his piece as well:

Some things also have to change on the conservative side. Congress must not remain hostage to farm-state representatives and senators, for whom the huge agricultural subsidy programs are sacrosanct; a decade ago, we went from “eliminating” those programs via the “Freedom to Farm” Act to calling farm pork a post-9/11 matter of national security. On the budget front, I doubt we will hear much talk, at least in the short term, of massive tax cuts that eventually will result in greater supply-side growth and thus greater revenue. Instead, I assume that any Republican tax-cut attempt will have to be matched in the here and now by a commensurate cut in spending, dollar for dollar — or rather, given the deficits, one dollar in tax cuts, two dollars in spending cuts. I also don’t think we will see representatives bragging of the new pork-barrel community centers they brought home, with their own names plastered on them — at least for a while.

If Boehner, et. al, don’t have a detailed plan in hand that address subsidies, corporate welfare and a number of other spending cuts when they take over this next January, they’re in for a 2 year run.  There are any number of recommendations for them out there they can incorporate into such a plan.  They had better show up serious about spending cuts or as I say, their days are numbered.  I don’t give a rip what Obama may do with the veto pen – the point is make him do it.  The can has been kicked as far down the road as possible.  Time to man up and live up to the principles the party claims it holds.

Meanwhile, expect Obama to cluelessly continue to try to polish up his message. As far as he’s concerned, the agenda is okey-dokey and he intends to proceed as if it is.


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32 Responses to Does Obama get it yet?

  • If Boehner, et. al, don’t have a detailed plan in hand that address subsidies, corporate welfare and a number of other spending cuts when they take over this next January, they’re in for a 2 year run. 

    >>>>>  Just remember, even if he does, he’ll get 0.00% of it past the Senate or veto pen

  • The press conference was a weird and disgraceful performance, yet fascinating. I’ve never seen Obama so subdued and literally downcast.

    This is the first major setback in Obama’s life. It’s not surprising that after a lifetime of routine adulation that Obama does not handle it well. In addition to lacking executive experience, Obama lacks life experience.

    I doubt that Obama is going to “get it” politically or personally in the next two years. I doubt he ever will. I imagine he’ll become another bitter ghost like Carter roaming the world, explaining himself.

    • “In addition to lacking executive experience, Obama lacks life experience.”

      He has also never had to defend his idealogy.  His entire life has been in a leftist cocoon.   He is like the ‘journalist’ who was quoted as wondering how Nixon could have won, since noone she(?) knew voted for him.

      It is extremely difficult to overcome a lifetime of conditioning and  in two years. I don’t think he can do it either, since he surrounds himself with people who will only reenforce that conditioning.

      I miss Slick Willie. At least he had a sense of humor.

  • I didn’t see the presser myself, but I’m told that the MiniTru people were remarkably and surprisingly aggressive.  True?  If so, then The Dear Golfer is in for a VERY bumpy ride.

    huxleyI doubt that Obama is going to “get it” politically or personally in the next two years. I doubt he ever will. I imagine he’ll become another bitter ghost like Carter roaming the world, explaining himself.

    Maybe he can get Ayers to write another book for him, as well.  I’m guessing that he’ll plump for Secretary General of the UN.  Good place for him, really: a corrupt organization that does nothing but bash the United States and Israel.

    • SG of the UN makes some sense, but it is a step down from real power like POTUS. I can’t imagine Obama settling for anything less than Ruler of the World, and that, being unavailable, means that he will become some sort of rogue ambassador for the BHO legacy and stealth socialism.

      BTW, how in the world can Obama get away with this India trip involving 40 planes, 3000 people and costing $200 million/day?

      • “BTW, how in the world can Obama get away with this India trip involving 40 planes, 3000 people and costing $200 million/day?”
        Don’t forget pulling a Navy CTF off station somewhere else to cruise up and down the Indian Coast.

        • Why all the military hardware ?  Is India going to surrender ?
          Maybe instead of bowing this time, Obama will surrender.

      • huxley[H]ow in the world can Obama get away with this India trip involving 40 planes, 3000 people and costing $200 million/day?

        A few thoughts:

        1.  He saw Michelle get away with her trip to Spain and figured he could get away with this, too.

        2.  The president taking trips abroad is nothing new; he’s probably counting on nobody counting up the number of people and the costs.  If they do, he can count on MiniTru to cast it as a “goodwill” trip or some such.  You know: repairing our reputation around the world after all the damage done to it by Bushitler.

        3.  I really wonder what the Indians will think of this.  I’ve read here and there that furriners don’t especially like it when the US president – ANY US president – comes to town, because the sheer size and scope of the visit (security detail, staff, handlers, medical team, etc., etc.) seems more like an invasion than a visit.  “He has to bring all this to visit our country???”  It comes across as (dare I write it?) arrogant.  And for The Dear Golfer to bring thousands of people, stay in the VERY best hotels, AND bring his f*cking TOTUS to the Indian parliament where such a device has NEVER been used… Bah.  Doesn’t exactly make him or our country look good.

  • Does Obama get it yet?
    In a word, no.   His problem yesterday was he just didn’t explained it well.

    • His admission that he is “insulated” seems pretty accurate.  Inexcusable for a President, but accurate nonetheless.  He seemed stunned that the elections swung the way they did, in spite of months of warning that this is what would happen.  He and his staff did not seem prepared to offer an explanation.  Even his narrative– that he has done as much as he could in a bad situation, and that things will turn out well if we just hang in there a bit longer– could have been delivered in a much more confident and determined manner.  It wouldn’t have changed many minds, but his posture and demeanor and message simply remind us of what Bruce has said repeatedly: this man is not a leader.  He does not know how to lead.

      • I keep having this vision of the US economy stuck in a ditch .. with a cliff to the LEFT of the ditch.

      • Months ago over at neo-neocon the posters were sure that somehow had Obama and the Dem leadership had it all figured out how to finesse this election through fraud, legalizing immigrants or maybe even an outright coup.

        Turns out that Obama & Co. had simply rationalized their problems away. The economy would recover, the voters would come to like Obamacare, the Tea Party was just a few racist astroturfers, etc. They didn’t realize that a mighty judgment was coming in the midterm elections and by the time they noticed it was entirely too late.

    • the “vestigial racism” excuse

      I said give it 48 hours and this election would all be about racism.

  • “Does Obama get it yet?”
    NO.  The man is a narcissist!  He could not possibly be at fault on any level.
    He is a Collectivist.  The tenets of the Collective cannot be wrong, or even mistaken.  Not until you come to the Castro Paradigm, and Obama is too young and too blind.

  • “a shocked Obama who seems hurt that we do not appreciate him.”

    I am sure that Jimmy Carter could offer him some advice on how to cope with that.

  • In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

    I’m firmly convinced that Obama doesn’t have a clue who James Madison is, let alone ever read Federalist #51

  • It’s not just Obama.

    Most Democrats, liberals, academics, progressives, etc. don’t get it. They are all so well insulated from reality that they could not see this shellackin’ a-comin’. Looking around the liberal blogs and sources, for the most part, I see that in their view the problem boils down to much of what Obama said — they couldn’t get their message out properly to voters, the voters were irrational, and Congress Republican were entirely obstructionist.

    It certainly couldn’t be the liberal agenda, which aside from some warts due to Republican obstructionism and Sarah Palin hysteria, was fine and good and what Americans want if their minds weren’t being fogged by the Right Wing Noise Machine.

    • So…prepare yourself  as they go into super overdrive to ‘get their message out’ to all the dumbasses in the country.
      Maybe if they call us stupid just a few more times we’ll vote for them.

      • However, they have all been saying it’s a messaging problem for the past year, and each time they vow that they are going to do better, much as Obama kept saying yesterday like a man in a trance, “I’ve got to do better…”

        But if that has been the prescription all along what is left for them to try? Is there some special Acme closet where on the top shelf they store the real Super-Duper-Ultra-Strong-Messaging-Ray-Gun? And now that they have lost the House by 60+ seats, yes, now it is finally time to pull that sucker down and start spraying America with super-duper-ultra-strong messages?

        They don’t know what they are going to do. They are still in shock, like victims of an auto accident. This could not, should not, could not have possibly happened to their beautiful liberal movement — so much smarter and more moral than the malevolent Republicans and the stupid Tea Partiers — and with a scary smart black messiah president leading them. Really, how could this have happened?

        What they want to do is to change channels and go back to watching “West Wing.”

        • Oh, I’m with you, they’ve been using the patented DOOM I BFG 9000 on us for almost 2 years…we GET the message.
          But since they’re convinced that it’s NOT the message that’s the problem, and that’s it’s the means they’ve used to get it to us – you can indeed expect them to think of pulling out whatever the equivalent is of the Super-Duper-Ultra-Strong-Messaging-Ray-Gun.
          That means if Law & Order has to change it’s name to Law and Order for the Conservatively Stupid, they will.    NCIS rounding up Naval personal murdering Tea Partiers and solving crimes committed by Conservatives trying to undermine the Department of the Navy and the United States.    Criminal Minds delving into the aberrations of mass murdering conservatives and how their ‘fear’ of immigrants, or gays, or people who don’t look like them, or pray like them, caused them to do it.   If they have to throw in plugs in every television show they can for how evil Conservatives serve roast kittens for hors d oeuvres with a small child entree and a side salad of endangered lettuce at their Republicorp luncheons, they will.
          More news broadcasts reminding us of Republican evil, Republican plans to kill granny, Republican plans to crucify immigrants and Republican ideas of turning social moral control over to a Christian Fundamentalist Inquisition, especially important, all the good the Republicans STOPPED, and all the evil skat they suggested that the noble Democrats prevented them from doing….(Are Republicans planning on rounding up immigrants and waterboarding them?  News at 10:00!)
          More visits by Barry to prime-time television shows to help restore our sanity and our need for hopey change.   More of Everything They’ve Already Done, multiplied, and branched out into whatever area they think they were weak in this last time around.

          • Well, those are depressing thoughts!

            I predict that they will be shell-shocked and paralyzed until the new Congress appears next year, and then we will back to the Two-Minute Hate — morning, noon, and night — like during the Bush years. It won’t be improved messaging at all.

            But I don’t think it will work as it did during the Bush years. Obama will become an albatross to the leftists for whom he won’t be bold enough and to the media some of whom will be striving to recover shreds of credibility. And the rest of the country will remember that they’ve seen this movie before and won’t give the hate narrative or the media much credence this time around.

            Plus, I have a bad Han Solo feeling that there is more bad news, maybe very, very bad news, around the corner. A feckless, grandiose president like Obama practically demands it.

    • With a few days to go and all signs pointing at moderate-to-large Republican gains, a friend who is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal lamented the lack of intellect of the unenlightened.  I was not really surprised, but still felt some disappointment at the level of self-delusion that some people will apply when things don’t go as they would hope.  The same self-proclaimed elites who lauded the electorate for its understanding and vision just two years ago, now wonder if they simply gave those poor dumb rubes too much credit.

    • And…ALWAYS REMEMBER…the Collective has decreed (right, Erp) that Conservatives are mentally deranged.
      Oh, AND evil, too.
      Hence, they CANNOT get it…whenever “it” is a fact, opinion, or action that is anti-Collective.

  • True Believers will never “get it”, otherwise they wouldn’t make very good True Believers, would they?