I feel your pain? Not so much.

The Washington Post's Michael Gerson picks up on a remark made by President Obama at a rally in Boston last week, claiming that it Obama and Patrickfurther demonstrates the president is out of touch with average Americans. Campaigning for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Obama said that, "Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now,and facts and science and argument [do] not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country is scared." Gerson claims that what Obama means is that those who disagree with his policies are not thinking rationally, perhaps due to the fear that accompanies high unemployment and foreclosure, the ever incendiary Tea Party, and a general feeling across the nation that things just haven't gotten better.

Has Gerson hit on something? Obama's foes are increasingly angry, and his supporters are increasingly disillusioned. Battered from the right, which thinks he is reshaping America too radically, and the left, which feels the president has failed to deliver on many campaign promises, Obama sticks to his they-just-don't-understand defense. Once promising to raise the national discourse above politics as usual, Obama now seems to have risen so far above the fray that he can't seem to grasp why a scared electorate might have something to teach him. Do we need another I-feel-your-pain president? Probably not, but there is something to be gained from listening to people on the ground, on both sides of the debate, who still don't see the promises they were made two years ago coming to fruition.

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7 years ago
President Obama & his party have spent millions, if not billions, of dollars trying to convince Americans that first, huge government spending and "comprehensive reform" of every major sector of American economic life was necessary and his plan the ONLY plan, and that the opponents of the President, primarily the Tea Partiers are a racist, destructive force in American life.  They have failed miserably in both endeavors.

The President should have listened from day one.  He didn't and allowed himself to be pushed into a corner by his very liberal and very inept Congressional leaders Pelosi & Reid.  When the Tea Party grew louder, they attacked with the viciousness of zealots.  They have failed. 

check out this report on the so-called "racist Tea Party" from that notorious right-wing rag, the Washington Post.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/13/AR2010101303634.html

The "they're just scared and irrational" theme is one the President has trumped since his infamous campaign fundraiser with billionares in San Francisco.  I'm sure he really believes that believe "cling" to "time-worn values" only when they're scared, but he would be best served by not saying so in public.  Scorn is the last thing you want to heap on a disgruntled electorate.
Marie Rehbein
7 years ago
I suspect that some people heard empathy in comments acknowledging fear.  The middle is still bigger than the left or the right, even if it is not louder.   

Furthermore, when someone is elected, he has to hit the ground running.  There isn't time to listen and think of appealing answers.  This was particularly true given how quickly the economy was slipping.

If the tea party is trying to say something to the rest of us, the President, and Congress, WHAT IS IT?  The only thing I keep hearing is that they want to take the government apart and start over as if this country were back in the Colonial era, trying to figure out how to fund things, whether states rights supercede federal authority, and whether there should be a treasury department.
7 years ago
"The middle is still bigger than the left or the right, even if it is not louder."
- And the middle is trending Republican big time right now.

"Furthermore, when someone is elected, he has to hit the ground running.  There isn't time to listen and think of appealing answers. "
- But isn't this precisely what Pres. Obama promised?  I thought he promised to listen to different ideas, change Washington and find bi-partisan solutions all on C-SPAN.  Instead Pelosi/Reid highjacked nearly every bill and shut out the Republicans.  And Pres. Obama just lectured.

"The only thing I keep hearing is that they want to take the government apart and start over as if this country were back in the Colonial era, trying to figure out how to fund things, whether states rights supercede federal authority, and whether there should be a treasury department."
- They want to restore the notion that ours is a LIMITED government; that just because someone cries doesn't require a FEDERAL RESPONSE.  That while limited government is needed in flush times, that with the looming fiscal crisis of entitlements, it is an absolute necessity.  Maybe try listening with more open ears without judging.  Start with the Washington Post article.


7 years ago
This President makes the mistake of saying what many on the left are thinking: that the people in this country are simple-minded, not very bright, and need the government to take care of them.  It's a mistake because most people in this country believe themselves to be intelligent, independent, and self-sufficent.  For those on the left seeking government intervention, they do not perceive themselves as seeking help, but demanding rights.

What bigger insult can you make to any American, left or right, than calling him "scared" and "clingy"? 
Marie Rehbein
7 years ago
Jeff,

So, what is limited in a limited government?  No more education department?  No more agriculture department?  No FEMA?  No FDA?  No Social Security?  No Medicare, Medicaid?  What? 
7 years ago
The Tea Party folks are mostly just like the people you have dinner with at a summer BBQ.  I have been to a couple events and each had lots of friendly folks, a lot of women and here in New York a fair number of blacks.  This is also what I see in the pictures posted on the internet.  


I would suggest to anyone that they go to a local Tea Party event just as a social experiment to meet the people there.  You do not have to agree with them but go see for yourself who they are.  Don't let the media cherry pick what they want to show you.
Stanley Kopacz
7 years ago
Marie,

It all works out fine.  No FDA means no meat inspection.  We rugged individualists will have to inspect our own meat for salmonella.  That means we have to buy salmonella detection kits, probably from the same people who are giving us salmonella. 

We should get rid of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), too.  So when somebody sells you a pound of something,  it's whatever they say a pound is.  This eliminates cost of living allowances, because the cost of a pound of anything doesn't have to go up because the pound can get smaller.  Goodbye, inflation.

We know that inspection and regulation of oil and gas drilling is a joke anyway.  After they frack up our water supply in northeast Pennsylvania in the quest to squeeze gas out of the rocks, they can sell us filtered water.

Unregulated capitalism is just one great system.  Small government, big corporations, little us.
7 years ago
Well it certainly is not billions of dollar sprinkled here and there.  And I would gather some Gulf Coast residents wouldn't weep over FEMA's demise.  And what, exactly, is the purpose of the education department?  We know have something like hundreds of agriculture department bureaucrats for ever ONE farmer.  As Milton Friedman once observed, you can literally take any 3 letters of the alphabet & put them together and have the name of some government agency doing something or other.

I'm not against government in itself.  I'm FOR efficient, effective, competent government and I believe that is most directly achieved by keeping the source of power close to the electorate.  If you think we have anything close to approaching an effective efficient government I have some oceanfront property in Arizona I'd like to sell you.  Its troubling to me that people get so nervous and angry when the founding principles of our nation are invoked.
7 years ago
''Just because the tea party people are nice-ish does not mean that they know what they are doing.''


That is quite a condescending comment.  I am sure that most of them know what they are doing. They are above average in intelligence and economic and academic achievement.


We elected a president in 2008 who had never done anything of consequence in his life who seems to look down on those who disagree with him.  I made the statement before on this blog, what had he done positive before he was elected to deserve the vote of so many Americans. No one has given an answer yet.  I would say that those who voted for him are the ones who did not know what they were doing. 
Marie Rehbein
7 years ago
JR Cosgrove,

Just because the tea party people are nice-ish does not mean that they know what they are doing.
Marie Rehbein
7 years ago
Jr Cosgrove,

I don't see where questioning the compentency of the tea party to transform the government into a vision of efficiency and fairness is condescending.  That they believe that finding fault is the equivalent of creating something better leads me to question their competency.

I believe the answer to your question about President Obama's accomplishments before being elected can be found in his community organizing activities, his teaching experience, and his education as a lawyer.  I would say those who voted for him voted against the policies of the previous eight years and the potential for enlightened leadership in Barack Obama.


Jeff,

I don't see how be against waste and for efficiency equates to specific changes.  I don't see any specifics coming from the tea party.  Changing government is different from destroying government every two years by electing people who don't know anything about how the system works and who begin campaigning again as soon as they are elected.  The only thing that comes from that is pandering to the loudest with insubstantial and misrepresented legislation. 

Were it not for the civil servants who carry on despite who is elected, the result would be chaos.  However, not electing people every two years is even more dangerous in that criminals would become entrenched.  It's not the politicians or the civil servants who are to blame for government inefficiency so much as the greed in those who always see government as fair game for exploitation.    
7 years ago
For those interested in understanding what the Tea Party is and the attitudes that people have about it, here are two links that may help.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Party_movement
 
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704631504575531913602803980.html 

7 years ago
President Obama, both on the campaign trail & in established the debt commission, promised to go "line by line" through the budget and excise spending.  He didn't have "specific" cuts that he named & to date has not named any.  I didn't hear liberals crying foul in that situation (probably because they rightly understand the President's words to be hollow), yet somehow because the Tea Party hasn't named specific programs it would cut, this is a disqualifying feature?  If you think electing political novices is "destroying" government, then you really are out of town with the ideal of the "citizen legislator" that the Founders assumed.  Your assertion that somehow this leads to "pandering" or "bad legislation" is unfounded.  After all, it was Ted Stevens, a Senator for how many years, who put in the "Bridge to Nowhere".  Your last paragraph makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, so I cannot respond to it.  If you're saying that somehow the incumbents in office are better or more honorable than electing new members, then you are probably the only person in the country who believes that.
7 years ago
I posted this a couple times before and will post it again when it seems appropriate


http://www.wimp.com/budgetcuts/


Cutting the budget is a task that will take a fearless leader.  George Bush tried to address this immediately after he won in 2004 and was instantly vilified by the liberals.  Obama has added about a trillion in new spending.   That is obviously one place for a cut.  


There are only two answers to the entitlement problem and that is cutting back benefits and economic growth.  Additional taxes have the effect of stifling the economy so that would probably result in less taxes instead of more.  The answer is more growth but how.  Any proposal to cut entitlements would be demagogued by interested parties so we need a fearless leader.  There does not appear to be any on the horizon like Reagan was in 1980.  The only one who fits the description now is Chris Christie and he wants no part of it.
Marie Rehbein
7 years ago
I think the liberal use of the designation liberal in assigning blame for what displeases people about their government is indicative of having been watching a lot of Faux Noos.
ed gleason
7 years ago
How about the great news on the Obamarket? Dow up 72%  6500 to 112000.. ?
No Great Depression as Bush's advisors predicted. Will somebdy spell that out slowly to the Tea Party economists if there are any..
7 years ago
The problem of September 2008 was a credit problem.  It was mainly solved by November 2008 or early December before Bush left office.  No one knew it at the time since all the numbers were not in for few months.


The other problem which we still have with us is the housing problem of the high number of foreclosures and the fact that about 25% of homes are underwater.  The GSE's held most of the bad debt and still do hold a lot of it.  Associated with this is a third problem of confidence that is preventing people and business from spending.  They have no ideas what the future will bring because of all the confusing political issues in Washington.  No one knows the tax rates just 12 weeks from today or next year's budget.


The stock market rise is due to two things, the pairing down of costs by many companies and thus their profits are much higher than expected and that the market has factored in the inflating of the currency that the Fed is engaged in.  The Fed just recently agreed to put another trillion dollars into the economy.  A further thing boosting the stock market is that a lot of the rest of the world has recovered from 2008 and many of the companies have good non US sales.  People have to put their money someplace and the stock market received a good chunk because of the lack of good alternatives.

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