« Rand Paul: I Did Not Have Aqua Buddha Relations With That Woman, The Chick From The Swim Team | Main | Primaries, Polls »
August 10, 2010

Who is the Bully Behind the Pulpit?

Earlier today, President Obama engaged in one of his favorite activities. He stepped in front of television cameras and talked. The message was the usual mix of scaremongering, untruths, demagoguery and, of course, cheap shots aimed at the GOP.

Now, this proposal is fully paid for, in part by closing tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship American jobs overseas. So it will not add to our deficit. And the money will only go toward saving the jobs of teachers and other essential professionals.

It should not be a partisan issue. I heard the Republican Leader in the House say the other day that this is a special interest bill. And I suppose if America’s children and the safety of our communities are your special interests, then it is a special interest bill. But I think those interests are widely shared throughout this country -- a challenge that affects parents, children and citizens in almost every community in America should not be a Democratic problem or a Republican problem. It is an American problem.

The transcript is from the White House website. As JackM pointed out earlier, Obama is not entirely telling the truth about this money "only" saving jobs:
$10 billion of this money goes to the unions. Before the money gets to the "teachers" the unions skim off their share of mandatory "contributions".

The money skimmed by the unions goes directly into the union political advocacy/footsoldier network to get out votes for Dems.

The second part of the statement is the usual "for the children" pablum issued by Democrat politicians every time one of their most important constituencies needs a payoff. What struck me when I heard him criticize the GOP was how unnecessary it was, given the partisan makeup of the House. When he made this statement, Obama knew he had the votes to pass this bill. He doesn't need the GOP. Basically, he took the cheap shot because he could and it's all he has left.

The White House knows what's coming in November, and instead of acknowledging the political reality and changing tactics, the president and his advisers have decided their best course of action is to make the GOP less popular than the administration. As a co-blogger pointed out during an email discussion, this is similar to how Bill Clinton responded to his party's loss in the 1994 election.

Unlike Obama, however, Clinton took a two-pronged approach: attacking the GOP was one part. Pursuing center-right policies was the other. I don't think Obama has the ability or interest in pursuing centrism, so attacks are all he has. I'm not sure it will work as well for Obama as it did for Clinton.


One, there's no Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole, who made great foils. I like Newt Gingrich, but he couldn't compete with Clinton's oily charm. When interviewed, he had the tendency to come across as a bit condescending. Gingrich didn't help matters any by telling a roomful of reporters that he forced the government shutdown of 1995 because Clinton made him sit in the back of Air Force One. This, I think, is when the GOP revolution of 1994 lost its momentum and Clinton easily won re-election two years later.

As much as he's tried to create one, Obama has no Gingrich. The GOP leadership may irritate us at times, but they do manage to come across mostly as affable, well-meaning public servants to the average voter. One of Obama's most visible GOP opponents is Rep. Paul Ryan, whose soft-spoken voice of fiscal sanity is a marked contrast to Obama's partisan bomb-throwing.

In addition, Obama doesn't have Clinton's ability to charm a crowd. Or if he does, he doesn't communicate it well. He's a Frankenstein monster made up of the preachy sanctimoniousness of Al Gore, the elite snobbery of John Kerry and the ultra-partisanship of Nancy Pelosi. A perfect storm of economic chaos, media cheerleading and an awful GOP presidential candidate made Obama's election possible. That storm has passed, and in its wake, the true nature of our president is starting to become evident.

Not to get too psychoanalyz-ey, but for all of the "no drama Obama" hype we heard during the campaign, it's pretty clear to me that the president isn't comfortable in his own skin, because who he pretends to be and who he really is are not the same person. What he presented during the 2008 campaign was all construct and he's constantly engaged in an internal struggle. On the one hand, he wants to recapture the spirit of 2008 and live up to that construct, but on the other, he wants to be himself. In the past year and a half, the American people have caught glimpses of who he really is and it's not pretty.

Obama has at times revealed himself to be petty, whiny and generally unlikeable. I think a lot of those who voted for him have seen the mask slip, which is why he is not likely to get those voters back. People can forgive bad policy decisions, but they're less likely to forgive betrayal. In some ways, Obama is unlike any president in the modern era. Americans expect candidates to fib on the campaign trail, but few are revealed to be completely fictional creations.

I've been re-watching my "Sopranos" DVDs lately. In the episode "College," Tony Soprano studies a great quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne that describes Obama's dilemma well: "No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true."

As the November election approaches, I think the multitudes are going to get more glimpses of the true Barack Obama. The question is, will they like what they see?

digg this
posted by Slublog at 07:06 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
Hadrian the Seventh: " [i] Wow. Listening to the 1805 version of Beetho ..."

bluebell ~ get cooking, Horde!: "Aw, Salty - how nice! I get it about the language ..."

Cosmic Charlie: "Is Everyrhing Bach done yet? ..."

Side draft: "Someone upthread said that President Trump probabl ..."

Fritz: "hmm.  Why does the NFL continue to injure tho ..."

filbert: "[i] Someone upthread said that President Trump pro ..."

Your Decidedly Devious Uncle Palpatine, Booking Agent, Aero Pinochet: "302. How do you think she got outta the pen so fas ..."

ScoggDog: "[i]Pretty unbelievable stuff and if you can stomac ..."

Miklos Molnar, on the 49 meter band: "If that's the case we owe you 37 cents. Posted ..."

garrett: "The Rock stars in TRIPLE EXTANT ..."

Bruce: "Funny. they only fit a '49 Hudson Commodore. Post ..."

andycanuck: "I like andouille sausage in jambalaya though I hav ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64