Friday, November 5, 2010

Who's The Boss?

I just listened to an NPR pod of President Obama's press conference from November 3.  If you want you can find the audio here or the transcript here. I don't recommend either experience, so I'll do you a favor and present an abridged version:

THE PRESIDENT:  So with that, let me take some questions.  I’m going to start off with Ben Feller at AP.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Are you willing to concede at all that what happened last night was not just an expression of frustration about the economy, but a fundamental rejection of your agenda?...


Actually, he didn't answer the question with "no," I made that up.  What he did do was drone for more than 50 minutes something along the lines of "working together," and I think I heard a few "the American people expect us to cooperate" or whatever.  He wrapped it up with a Reaganesque twinkle-in-the-eye bit on how he's optimistic about the American people. Well, we are a cute bunch, aren't we?

At some point the same day Obama made a call to and urged them to stay the course:

"We always knew bringing about change in Washington wouldn’t be easy, and it might get tougher in the days ahead.  The message I took away from the elections is very simple: The American people are still frustrated. They still want change; we just have to work harder to deliver the change the American people want....To those who began the journey with me almost four years ago, think about how far we’ve come. Think about the ups and downs we went through during the course of the campaign. There were times when folks counted us out and we always came back. The same thing is going to happen over the next two years, and the next six years.”

Later in the week he got with the crew at 60 Minutes and conceded that, well, he has been a bit too busy ramming crap down our throats to keep up with some of the finer points of governing:

"...I think that, over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that, we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone."

I take away from all this that the President is saying he's bummed his party lost so many elections, but he's going to keep on keepin' on and do his best to get more of that hope and change that all of us want, because his party only lost so many elections because we didn't get enough of that hope and change fast enough because he wasn't out there communicating enough...

Okay, I understand--the President doesn't get it.  A huge part of the electorate have voted against his agenda in every way they could, from Congress to the statehouses, yet he concludes that what they really want is for him to do a little more elbow rubbing with the Republicans, and maybe we need to see more of him on TV.

So he does a press conference to convince us he understands our anger and genuflects with a mea culpa for 60 Minutes, not sounding very sincere at any point.  In between he makes a call to an important group of leftist apparatchiks and urges that they be patient, that they may have lost the battle, but they'll win the war.

I have to wonder which constituency is more important to him--the mass of voters who just sent his party to the doghouse, or the small minority that share his "progressive" ideology.


  1. The Republicans took the House. The Democrats retained the Senate. There was no mandate for anyone. If the Republicans had not run so many fruitcakes for Senate, they may have won the Senate as well. They did not win the Senate, so their message and point is now muted. President Obama is now well within his rights to call for consensus and cooperation, because the message he received was not nearly as clear as you want to believe it was. Oh, well, such is politics.

  2. Oh please, this was biggest political convulsion in Congress in 70 years. What could be clearer?