Question: Is there a disconnect between President Obama and the American public?
The following article and/or blog post reveals that President Obama and the public seem to be on different pages, if not in different books-You Decide:
Health Connection: Sales Pitch Begins, as Public Makes Judgments–Posted On ABC Note-By Rick Klein-On January 15, 2010:
These are pertient excerpts from this ABC Note:
“Nothing gets the compromise juices flowing like the prospect of a 41st Republican senator.
The health care deal may still be in the process of getting worked out—but the battle to define and sell has been raging for months, with neither side clear on how it’s all going to shake out.
The support of Big Labor is critical but not unexpected—and not a guarantee of broader backing on the left.
And whatever gets sold to the Democratic caucus goes on the line just four days from now, when a Senate race takes place that could throw off every careful calculation of the past six months. (Forget the August break, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or State of the Union: a certification in Massachusetts might be a real deadline.)
In a broad sense—and probably regardless of what happens in the Bay State—perceptions grow of voters’ judgments are already being rendered. And the picture isn’t pretty.
“We’re at the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and the slug, the word that captures its essence, is ‘Disconnect,’ ” Peggy Noonan writes her Wall Street Journal column. “There is a disconnect, a detachment, a distance between the president’s preoccupations and the concerns of the people. There’s a disconnect between his policy proposals and the people’s sense, as expressed in polls, of what the immediate problems are.”
“Nearly a year after Obama’s inauguration, judging by where the Democrats stand today, it’s clear that they have made a colossal miscalculation,” Charlie Cook writes for National Journal. “Obama and his party have no doubt taken on big and important fights. But given the nation’s tremendous economic troubles, they don’t seem to have picked the most urgent ones.”
“Slick campaigns and dazzling speeches can work for a while, but the magic always wears off,” Charles Krauthammer writes in his Washington Post column. “Hence the resistance. Hence the fall. The system may not always work, but it does take its revenge.”
Swinging back—and framing 2010 — it’s David Axelrod, taking on Karl Rove: “To put the breathtaking scope of this irresponsibility in perspective, the Bush administration’s swing from surpluses to deficits added more debt in its eight years than all the previous administrations in the history of our republic combined,” Axelrod writes in a Washington Post op-ed. “There’s an old saying that everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts. The next time Karl Rove would like to offer us some advice, I’d urge him to take that to heart.”
Campaigning was in the air Thursday afternoon, when President Obama rallied House Democrats: “That’s why I’ll be out there waging a great campaign from one end of the country to the other, telling Americans with insurance or without what they stand to gain about the arsenal of consumer protections; about the long-awaited stability that they’re going to begin to experience.”
(At which end of the country is Massachusetts, again? “If Obama visits Massachusetts and Coakley loses, it would signal that Obama’s ability to motivate rank-and-file Democrats has slipped,” The Boston Globe’s Susan Milligan reports. “It would buoy Republican efforts to take back the House and Senate this fall. And it could fuel criticism that he made a political trip while pressing issues awaited in Washington.”)
(And Rep. John B. Larson, D-Conn, a member of House leadership: “Look, as important as health care is, and as front and center as it is in the Beltway, when I go home . . . they care about health care, but they’re focused on jobs,” Larson told The Washington Post’s Perry Bacon Jr.) If there’s no bumper sticker quite yet—at least the White House knows it will be affixed to labor bumpers.
But it lands with a dream headline for the GOP—since those famous C-SPAN cameras were nowhere close to the rooms that mattered: “Unions Cut Special Deal on Health Taxes.”
“Democratic negotiators acceded to union demands for a scaled-back tax on high-end health-insurance plans, exempting union contracts from the tax until 2018, five years beyond the start date for other workers,” Laura Meckler and Naftali Bendavid report in The Wall Street Journal. “The deal helped Democrats clear a key hurdle, but the reduced tax added to the pressure to find new revenue to pay for their health bill, which is designed to give coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans. Negotiators were considering increasing the financial hit on drug makers, nursing homes and medical-device makers, according to people familiar with the discussions.”
“For a day at least, the White House could claim a significant victory on the road toward passing a health care reform bill, with a deal that averts a standoff on one of the most contentious issues standing in the way of a final compromise,” Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown writes.
The Cadillac cave? “Unions have long opposed such a tax, arguing that many of their members have accepted generous health insurance in lieu of wage increases in the past, and that the proposal – which in the Senate bill would impact family plans costing more than $23,000, and individual plans costing more than $8,500 – would be a harsh tax increase on their middle class members,” ABC’s Jake Tapper reports.
Kind of important: “A White House official, speaking to journalists on condition of anonymity, said he did not know how much revenue would be lost as a result of the changes,” Robert Pear and Steven Greenhouse report in The New York Times.
“The president’s commitment to having a bill that reduces the deficit, that doesn’t add a penny to the deficit, remains consistent,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told reporters.
“While the deal amounts to a [significant] breakthrough, there remain many other issues to be worked out—among them, such thorny questions as abortion,” Time’s Karen Tumulty writes. “And any final bill still must be ‘scored’ by the Congressional Budget Office, a process that is expected to take a week or more. As a result, sources on Capitol Hill say it is likely that any bill will not reach Obama’s desk until mid-February at the earliest.”
And, of course, it all may be a moot point if Democrat Martha Coakley can’t pull off the Senate race in Massachusetts on Tuesday.
Don’t take it from the pundits—take it from the president: “It’s clear now that the outcome of these and other fights probably rest on one vote in the United States Senate,” Obama says in a video message recorded for Coakley.
A frenzy—guaranteed: “It’s a Brown-out,” Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos tells the Boston Herald.
Or—not. “We don’t know it’s close—I just disagree that the polls are accurate,” Coakley told ABC’s John Berman, as featured on “Top Line” Thursday.
On Friday, Coakley gets a boost from former President Bill Clinton—campaigning in the Bay State despite the Haiti disaster that’s got him otherwise occupied.
Camp Coakley thinks it’s got some daylight on the bank bonus tax. Friday’s message, per a national Democratic official: “We believe Scott Brown revealed his true colors by walking in lockstep with national Republicans and that this issue provides a strong contrast between a candidate who stands with corporate interests vs. a candidate who stands-up for taxpayers. The White House couldn’t have set up a better Wall St. vs. Main St. litmus test, and Brown couldn’t have fallen for it any faster.”
The boosts, mostly, have been on the other side: “National GOP strategists say that the unexpected tightening in the Massachusetts Senate race has demonstrated the potency of the electorate’s antipathy for the Democratic health care legislation, and that Republican Scott Brown’s campaign could become a template for Republican challengers across the country in this year’s midterm elections,” Lisa Wangsness writes in The Boston Globe.
The most important sentence you might read Friday: “Secretary of State William F. Galvin has said he will follow the law, which requires him to wait 10 days to certify the election to ensure the counting of absentee military ballots from military personnel stationed overseas.”
Two sentences that could make that last one more important: “The election comes the day after the three-day Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Snow is also forecast for Monday, and many locals often head south for warmer weather or north to go skiing during the shortened work week,” the AP’s Glen Johnson reports.
Politico’s Alex Isenstadt: “For many of Brown’s fellow GOP candidates, the Jan. 19 Massachusetts special election is turning into an extension of their own campaigns, a chance to offer full-throated support for the party cause—not to mention advance their own political fortunes.” (And should we have been watching the Kennedy in the race all along? As in Joseph L. Kennedy, the Libertarian on the ballot who, with any other last name, would be expected to skim votes from the Republican, but with this particular moniker in this particular race … )
The counter-spin: “This is nothing but good news,” Democratic consultant John Sasso tells Bloomberg’s Heidi Przybyla. “If any Democrats stay home, they’re out of their minds.”
(“Scott Brown and Martha Coakley are taking votes from Joe Kennedy!” Kennedy tells The New York Times’ Michael Cooper.)
In Texas—finally, they meet: “Taxes and testiness dominated the first debate between the Republican candidates for governor, as Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison each suggested the other had lost contact with the truth,” Christy Hoppe and Gromer Jeffers Jr. report in The Dallas Morning News.
In New York—framing Ford: “Potential Senate candidate Harold Ford is neither pro-choice nor anti-choice – he’s multiple-choice, crusaders on both sides of the abortion divide contend,” David Saltonstall and Michael Saul write in the New York Daily News.
Taegan Goddard floats an intriguing possibility, at Political Wire—an indie run: “If New York Republicans run a weak candidate, he could essentially follow the Joe Lieberman path to the Senate. An interesting side note: Both Lieberman and Ford were heads of the Democratic Leadership Council.”
“It will send a clear message that champions should be chosen on the field and not in pre-arranged agreements.”—Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, urging President Obama to invite undefeated Boise State to the White House in addition to BCS champion Alabama (not likely).
“Achievement.”—Topic of Sarah Palin’s speech on the “Get Motivated” lecture circuit, per Politico’s Ben Smith.”
Note: The following articles and/or blog posts and videos relate to and/or support the above ABC Note-You Decide:
Video: Congresswoman Agrees With Obama on Debt Ceiling Debate and Social Security Threat!–Posted on The Blaze-By Naked Emperor News-On July 18, 2011:
Slug the Obama Story ‘Disconnect’: “Obama and the public are on different pages, if not different in books”-Posted On The Wall Street Journal-On January 14, 2010:
These are pertinent excerpts from this article and/or blog post:
“The first thing I learned in journalism is that every story has a name. At WEEI News Radio in Boston, the editor would label each story with one word, called a “slug,” and assign a writer to write it for air. This week’s devastating earthquake would be slugged “Haiti.” A story about a gruesome murder might be “Nightmare.”
We’re at the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and the slug, the word that captures its essence, is “Disconnect.”
This is, still, a surprising word to use about the canny operatives who so perfectly judged the public mood in 2008. But they haven’t connected There is a disconnect, a detachment, a distance between the president’s preoccupations and the concerns of the people. There’s a disconnect between his policy proposals and the people’s sense, as expressed in polls, of what the immediate problems are.
I’m not referring to what is being called the president’s rhetorical disconnect. In this criticism, he is not emotional enough when he speaks, he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, he is aloof, like a lab technician observing the movements within a petri dish called America. It may be true that this doesn’t help him, but so what? In a successful presidency, his cool demeanor would be called an interesting facet, not a problem. And we don’t really need presidents to move us, when you think about it. We need them to lead, and in the right direction.
Nor am I referring to an iconic disconnect. In this criticism, the president refuses to or is unable to act as a paternal figure. “A president is a father,” say these critics. “He must comfort us.” But, actually, your father is your father. Voters didn’t hire Mr. Obama to play the old dad in the MGM movie. In any case he always seemed like the bright older brother, not the father. At the end of the day you, being a grown-up, don’t need him to be your daddy, do you?
You want a competent chief executive with a deep and shrewd sense of the people. Americans want him to be on the same page as they are. But he’s on a different page, and he may in fact be reading a different book.
Thus the latest Quinnipiac poll, which puts his approval/disapproval at a descending 45% to 45%. Pure hunch: The approval number is probably slightly high because people don’t want to disapprove of their new president—the stakes are so high!—and don’t like telling pollsters they disapprove of him.
The real story is that his rhetorical and iconic detachment are harped on because they reflect a deeper disconnect, the truly problematic one, and that is over policy. It doesn’t really matter how he sounds. It matters, in a time of crisis, what he does. That’s where the lack of connection comes in.
The people are here, and he is there. The popularity of his health care plan is very low, at 35% support. Someone on television the other day noted it is as low as George Bush’s popularity ratings in 2008.
Yet—and this is the key part—the president does not seem to see or hear. He does not respond. He is not supple, able to hear reservations and see opposition and change tack. He has a grim determination to bull this thing through. He negotiates each day with Congress, not with the people. But the people hate Congress! Has he not noticed?
The people have come alive on the issue of spending—it’s too high, it threatens us! He spends more. Everywhere I go, I hear talk of “hidden taxes” and a certainty that state and federal levies will go up, putting a squeeze on a middle and upper middle classes that have been squeezed like oranges and are beginning to see themselves as tired old rinds. Mr. Obama seems at best disconnected from this anxiety.
The disconnect harms him politically, but more important it suggests a deepening gulf between the people and their government, which only adds to growling, chafing national discontent. It also put the president in the position, only one year in, only 12 months into a brand-new glistening presidency, of seeming like the same old same old. There’s something tired in all this disconnect, something old-fashioned, something sclerotic and 1970’s about it.
And of course the public is reacting. All politicians are canaries in coal mines, they’re always the first to feel the political atmosphere. It was significant when the Democrats lost the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey two months ago. It is significant that a handful of House and Senate Democrats have decided not to run this year. And it is deeply significant that a Republican state senator in Massachusetts, Scott Brown, may topple the Democratic nominee to fill Ted Kennedy’s former seat, Martha Coakley. In a way, the Republicans have already won—it’s a real race, it’s close, and in “Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts”!
Mr. Brown’s whole story right now is not about disconnect but connect. Massachusetts has an 8.8% unemployment rate, and graduates of the commonwealth’s great universities can’t find work. An old Boston Republican hand said of the race, “It’s 100% percent about policies—health care, taxes, what’s the plan on the economy?” Mr. Brown charges that Ms. Coakley’s support for cap and trade and health care will amount to $2 trillion in taxes in the next five years.
Ms. Coakley has the advantage—Massachusetts is the heart of blue-state America—but in a way her advantage is her curse. Because she is the candidate of a party that for 40 years has been used to winning, reigning and winning again, she looks like the same old same old, a standard old-line liberal, the front woman for a machine, a yes woman for the Obama-Pelosi era.
It is interesting that Ms. Coakley, too, has been told by pundits the past week that her problem is that she’s not emotional enough. She should show passion and fire! She should cry like Hillary!
This comes not only from pundits but normal people, and if you contemplate the meaning it is, weirdly: You’re not good enough at manipulating us! We want more theatrics!
Both national parties are trying to pour in money and resources, but the most obnoxious intrusion must have been the fund-raising letter this week from New York’s Sen. Charles Schumer, who tried to rouse the troops by calling Mr. Brown a “far-right teabagger.” Does that kind of thing even work anymore? Doesn’t name calling put off anyone not already predisposed to agree with it?
In a time when the people of Massachusetts have real concerns about their ability to make a living, stuff like the Schumer letter is just more evidence of a party’s disconnect.
Politics is about policy. It’s not about who’s emotional and who cries or makes you cry. It’s not about big political parties and the victories they need in order to rule. It’s not about going on some ideological toot, which is what the health-care bill is, hoping the people will someday see and appreciate your higher wisdom.
In a way, Mr. Obama’s disconnection is a sign of the times. We are living in the age of breakup, with so many of the ties that held us together loosening and fraying. If the president wants to lead toward something better, he should try listening. If you can’t connect through the words you speak, at least you can do it through your ability to hear.”
Colossal Miscalculation On Health Care: “OBAMA AND HILL DEMOCRATS SHOULD HAVE FOCUSED MUCH MORE ON THE ECONOMY”–Posted on NationalJournal.Com-By Charlie Cook-On January 16, 2010:
The Fall of Obama-Posted On The Real Clear Politics-By Charles Krauthammer-On January 15, 2010:
Campaign visit to Bay State by Obama a tricky prospect: “If Coakley loses, president could be seen as weak”-Posted On Boston.Com-By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff-On January 15, 2010:
Obama pledges campaign for health-care bill and Democrats–Posted On The Washington Post-By Perry Bacon Jr., Washington Post Staff Writer-On January 15, 2010:
Taxing Banks for the Bailout-Posted On The New York Times-By By JACKIE CALMES-On January 14, 2010:
Morning Bell: Bank Tax Misses the Real Bailout Deadbeats in Detroit and DC–Posted On The Heritage Foundation-On January 15, 2010:
Obama’s Second Stimulus : A Looming Disaster–Posted On ExposeObama.Com-By By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown, Cagle Cartoons-On January 15, 2010:
Note: DO NOT MISS YOUR CHANCE TO CAST YOUR VOTE: Finally, a chance to vote on President Obama’s performance with regard to the economy and where he is taking our nation.
This totally non-partisan poll asks but one question. The question is stated very simply and to the point. No tricks. No hidden messages. JUST ONE SINGLE, SIMPLE QUESTION. I don’t know why this hasn’t been done before… I’m impressed with the fact that the question is NOT “phrased” in a way that it can be interpreted or misrepresented later… to fit someone else’s desired answer-You Decide:
After you vote, you will see a second page that shows the running total, to include what other voter’s opinions are.
Note: The above articles and/or blog posts and videos relate to and/or support my following blog posts-You Decide:
Behind Closed Doors, Unions Win, You Lose!
Positive Political Change In The Air For 2010!
A Nation Adrift Theme and Disclaimer:
“Food For Thought”
“God Bless & Keep Our USA Safe”