Commentary Magazine


Topic: eloquent politician

Not Buying the Democrats’ Excuses

Democrats have two excuses for what has gone so terribly wrong in the last year. The first is the “America is ungovernable” meme. Well, it has been impossible to govern from the Left, certainly. But we have yet to see evidence that a Centrist agenda, fiscal restraint, and pro-growth policies don’t work or can’t pass. Maybe Obama-Reid-Pelosi aren’t capable of formulating or passing broadly popular proposals, but that is different from claiming that there is something broken in our constitutional system or political culture. Let’s see how Govs. Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell do. Then we can revisit whether we have an “ungovernable” problem or a competency and/or extremism problem.

The second excuse is that this is all a communications problem — from the most eloquent politician (we were told) of our time who had a sycophantic media at his feet for the better part of a year. Really, no one is buying this one. Susan Estrich is blunt:

It’s not a communications problem. What’s gone wrong is that people see the country swimming in debt, see the jobs recovery lagging, see friends and neighbors who are not even hanging on, and they just don’t know how this administration is planning to pay for a massive health care reform effort. The appointment of a bipartisan commission on the deficit only underscores the problem and makes it seem that the administration has no answer for it except another new spending program.

Makes complete sense. The White House will ignore it.

Charlie Cook agrees it’s not a communication problem. The usually mild-mannered pollster unloads:

This is a reality problem. And I think they just made some grave miscalculations and as it became more clear that they had screwed up, they just kept doubling down their bet. And so I think, no, this is one of the biggest miscalculations that we’ve seen in modern political history.

Yowser. What’s more, he says it is so bad: “And it’s very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don’t lose the House.” Sounds like more than a communication problem.

If Cook is right, and especially if the Democrats also lose the Senate (or come close to doing so), there will be another round of finger-pointing and excuse-mongering. There might even be some soul-searching. But until the Democrats lose enough bodies, it seems as though they aren’t going to rethink their approach and we aren’t going to get a course correction. That’s why they have elections, after all.

Democrats have two excuses for what has gone so terribly wrong in the last year. The first is the “America is ungovernable” meme. Well, it has been impossible to govern from the Left, certainly. But we have yet to see evidence that a Centrist agenda, fiscal restraint, and pro-growth policies don’t work or can’t pass. Maybe Obama-Reid-Pelosi aren’t capable of formulating or passing broadly popular proposals, but that is different from claiming that there is something broken in our constitutional system or political culture. Let’s see how Govs. Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell do. Then we can revisit whether we have an “ungovernable” problem or a competency and/or extremism problem.

The second excuse is that this is all a communications problem — from the most eloquent politician (we were told) of our time who had a sycophantic media at his feet for the better part of a year. Really, no one is buying this one. Susan Estrich is blunt:

It’s not a communications problem. What’s gone wrong is that people see the country swimming in debt, see the jobs recovery lagging, see friends and neighbors who are not even hanging on, and they just don’t know how this administration is planning to pay for a massive health care reform effort. The appointment of a bipartisan commission on the deficit only underscores the problem and makes it seem that the administration has no answer for it except another new spending program.

Makes complete sense. The White House will ignore it.

Charlie Cook agrees it’s not a communication problem. The usually mild-mannered pollster unloads:

This is a reality problem. And I think they just made some grave miscalculations and as it became more clear that they had screwed up, they just kept doubling down their bet. And so I think, no, this is one of the biggest miscalculations that we’ve seen in modern political history.

Yowser. What’s more, he says it is so bad: “And it’s very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don’t lose the House.” Sounds like more than a communication problem.

If Cook is right, and especially if the Democrats also lose the Senate (or come close to doing so), there will be another round of finger-pointing and excuse-mongering. There might even be some soul-searching. But until the Democrats lose enough bodies, it seems as though they aren’t going to rethink their approach and we aren’t going to get a course correction. That’s why they have elections, after all.

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Gray Lady to Obama: Double-Down!

You wonder how it is that Obama can remain so isolated, so cut off from reality. He just lost his filibuster-proof majority by losing the senate race in Massachusetts for goodness’ sake! Can’t he see that he’s led his party into a ditch? Well, no, he can’t. He talks to his staff, who put ObamaCare at the center of his agenda, and he reads the New York Times, which, with no hint of self-awareness, carries an editorial filled with the sort of self-justification that will only convince the president that, yes, of course, he’s right! The Times editors tell us:

To our minds, it is not remotely a verdict on Mr. Obama’s presidency, nor does it amount to a national referendum on health care reform — even though it has upended the effort to pass a reform bill, which Mr. Obama made the centerpiece of his first year.

Okay, the “to our minds” is the giveaway here. Obama must imagine that the minds of those who populate the Times editorial offices are representative of some significant segment of the electorate. It seems they don’t even represent the views of Massachusetts voters. I suppose if Obama were running for city council from the Upper West Side, the Times would be a good barometer of public opinion, but reading that sort of hooey only reinforces Obama’s worst instincts — arrogance, detachment, stubborness, and hyper-leftism.

The Times does, however, seem to be channeling the Obama spin. (We have here a re-enforcing loop of leftist groupthink, I suspect.) The real issue is the economy or Obama’s failure to talk to us enough about health care. (If he only did six Sunday talk shows!). The editors opine:

Mr. Obama was right to press for health care reform. But he spent too much time talking to reluctant Democrats and Republicans who never had the slightest intention of supporting him. He sat on the sidelines while the Republicans bombarded Americans with false but effective talk of death panels and a government takeover of their doctors’ offices. And he did not make the case strongly enough that the health care system and the economy are deeply interconnected or explain why Americans should care about this huge issue in the midst of a recession: If they lose their jobs, they lose their health insurance.

Got that: his only failure was in not communicating well enough to us. (What happened to the most eloquent politician of our era?) This is preposterous, of course, because Obama exhausted himself and our patience by hundreds of dog-and-pony shows, speeches, interviews, and press conferences. The problem was the the public didn’t buy what he was selling.

Obama has a choice: listen to the Times editorial board or to the voters. Republicans are keeping their fingers crossed that he chooses the former.

You wonder how it is that Obama can remain so isolated, so cut off from reality. He just lost his filibuster-proof majority by losing the senate race in Massachusetts for goodness’ sake! Can’t he see that he’s led his party into a ditch? Well, no, he can’t. He talks to his staff, who put ObamaCare at the center of his agenda, and he reads the New York Times, which, with no hint of self-awareness, carries an editorial filled with the sort of self-justification that will only convince the president that, yes, of course, he’s right! The Times editors tell us:

To our minds, it is not remotely a verdict on Mr. Obama’s presidency, nor does it amount to a national referendum on health care reform — even though it has upended the effort to pass a reform bill, which Mr. Obama made the centerpiece of his first year.

Okay, the “to our minds” is the giveaway here. Obama must imagine that the minds of those who populate the Times editorial offices are representative of some significant segment of the electorate. It seems they don’t even represent the views of Massachusetts voters. I suppose if Obama were running for city council from the Upper West Side, the Times would be a good barometer of public opinion, but reading that sort of hooey only reinforces Obama’s worst instincts — arrogance, detachment, stubborness, and hyper-leftism.

The Times does, however, seem to be channeling the Obama spin. (We have here a re-enforcing loop of leftist groupthink, I suspect.) The real issue is the economy or Obama’s failure to talk to us enough about health care. (If he only did six Sunday talk shows!). The editors opine:

Mr. Obama was right to press for health care reform. But he spent too much time talking to reluctant Democrats and Republicans who never had the slightest intention of supporting him. He sat on the sidelines while the Republicans bombarded Americans with false but effective talk of death panels and a government takeover of their doctors’ offices. And he did not make the case strongly enough that the health care system and the economy are deeply interconnected or explain why Americans should care about this huge issue in the midst of a recession: If they lose their jobs, they lose their health insurance.

Got that: his only failure was in not communicating well enough to us. (What happened to the most eloquent politician of our era?) This is preposterous, of course, because Obama exhausted himself and our patience by hundreds of dog-and-pony shows, speeches, interviews, and press conferences. The problem was the the public didn’t buy what he was selling.

Obama has a choice: listen to the Times editorial board or to the voters. Republicans are keeping their fingers crossed that he chooses the former.

Read Less




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