Roger Simon said, “If Obama can’t sell government as a force for good that is who he is, and if he can’t sell that then he can’t sell his presidency.”
Before President Obama made his media blitz this past Sunday he went on the road. He played host in small towns and hamlets to audiences that regaled him. The crowds listened to the President recount how one voice began the rally cry "fired up and ready to go!" He shook his head and laughed at himself as he recalled his displeasure to find he was soaking wet in front of an audience of twenty people. But it was that atypical setting where he got the word and found his candidate voice. Obama hoped that the magic and the fire would return by, well, if he retold how he found it in the first place. Those who sat close to the fire of his speech were warmed by it; however the crowds outside held up clear signs of the times that could not be ignored. Somebody was fired up this time – the right.
I watched three interviews and felt talked down to in all of them. But I was not outside among the fired up nor among those who cat-called “communist.” Socialism was the mortar but the rocks of the five interviews — the Carter comments about overwhelming racism behind the ugly mocking of Obama and health care reform. In the Meet the Press interview when asked about Carter’s contention, Obama calmly disagreed. He stated that for the media race and controversy was “catnip.” He repeated this at each interview, which was as homogenous as the nightly news that racism was not solely behind the outrage.
While the President was right to defuse the reminder that he was black, he missed an important opportunity to talk to the people. Instead he talked down to them. His only specific was the “3 principles” he mentioned on This Week: 1) affordable health insurance (if you don’t have) 2) reforms will give you more security (If you do have insurance) 3) deficit-neutral spending while driving down costs in the long term. How can a complex overhaul of a thousand pages be boiled down to a couple of sentences? President Obama put away Professor Obama when he needed him most.
George Stephanopoulos challenged the President most when he cited the dictionary definition of “tax,” and secondly when he closed the interview with the Kennedy-Khrushchev meeting debacle. He asked Obama had he met with a similar brick wall. Obama answered with “somehow I am not breaking through.” I felt Obama's discomfort with the analogy because he said he was not having problems on the foreign policy front, but on the home front with health care. Truly he was not breaking through the brick wall of his own making. However, This Week’s Roundtable summed it up nicely: Those who are insured don’t get it. So, why health care reform now?
On Face the Nation Obama pressed the padded-profits button and overcharges by insurance groups. He argued that they passed the costs on directly to consumers who were overcharged by 14%. Michael Steele made a few cogent remarks in his Republican rebuttal for Face the Nation. He was clear: Taxes will be greatly increased on the middle class—bottom line. The Right was squeamish about a massive tax and spend that loomed and was inherent (they argue) in health care reform.
Children of the ACORN
What were the right talkers up to while Obama shelled out five network interviews? Fox News Sunday and Glenn Beck (Saturday) were shut out completely. So FOX covered the big cauldron that ACORN fell into with a discussion of the advice-to-the-pimp video LOL. Fox had a black guest but it was not Obama, it was Bertha Lewis, CEO of ACORN. The buzz, and it’s getting louder, was that their funding from the feds was slated to be cut. The lack of transparency through the ACORN umbrella stuck to the wall: the non-profit taxable status of the parent organization — the only one in the country! This was news to me.
FOX Sunday played the video and Ms. Lewis’ reply was that it was indefensible and that those folks were terminated immediately and the “couple” was thrown out (too funny). Why would any legitimate organization entertain such questions in the first place? Some questions have no real answers.
Finally, Glenn Beck’s guest climbed up a royal tree and outlined Obama’s ties to “communists.” And how he came to power because he was guided to move to Chicago where the needed connections would be found.
With five fiery interviews the President needed to close the deal and save his presidency. He needed most to shut down the populist backlash. Members of his own party told him to forget it — we don’t need their support. We will go it alone and get it done. That’s a wonder in itself. The opposition voiced concern that a veritable Colossus of Barack was planned, and that the power of the President’s persuasive speeches and appearances created a temple to his personality.
The Democrats have rightly worried that a rapid reform bill would become the hanging gardens around the neck of the left, or the dreaded great pyramid scheme of illegal aliens. The media blitz over and with 142 interviews behind him can Obama rest now? It was obvious that he knew a herculean task laid before him — that of cleaning out the stables amidst wild horses. This time President Obama had to take down the fired up.