And even while he says he gets it, the president doesn’t realize how out of touch he is:
“If there’s one thing that I regret this year is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values.”
Speaking to the American people. Not listening to the American people.
Which explains his determination to plow ahead with bailing out banks, insurance companies, mortgage lenders, and auto makers, remaking health care, and saving the world from climate change in opposition to the will of 60% of the American people.
Almost breathtaking in its arrogance is the stated belief of this administration that our opposition to health care reform is rooted in Republican-induced fear — as if we’re too stupid to think beyond 20-second sound bites or take marching orders from Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity.
The problem, as he sees it, is simply that the president’s team was out-communicated by Republicans.
Well, it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?
In his first six months, he gave three times as many interviews as George W. Bush, four times as many prime-time news conferences as Bill Clinton, and more interviews than both combined: 93 for Obama and 61 for his two immediate predecessors. He appeared on five Sunday talk shows on the same morning, followed the next day by David Letterman, the first-ever presidential appearance on a nighttime comedy show. In another week, he squeezed in addresses to the U.S. Climate Change Summit, the U.N. General Assembly, the U.N. Security Council, and a variety of press conferences.
His promiscuity on TV has made him seem as if he is still a candidate instead of president and commander in chief.
I submit that the changing poll numbers on health care reform, which reflect an opposition that has grown as we’ve learned more about the proposals working through Congress, are the result of being “talked to” by President Obama and his allies in Congress.
As Mort Zuckerman notes in the piece cited above, it doesn’t help that the president’s “reliance on a teleprompter for flawless delivery made for boring and unemotional TV, compounding his cerebral and unemotional style.” President Obama appears distant and detached. When Bill Clinton said he felt our pain, we believed him; Barack Obama appears not to know what pain feels like. (And Michelle’s $540 sneakers don’t help his case.)
Now, please listen to us, Mr. President: open up competition between the insurance companies, a provision stripped from the Senate bill as part of Sen. Ben Nelson’s Cornhusker Kickback. Cut out the special favors for organized labor. Quit pandering to Wall Street. And if you really want to bring jobs back to places like the town in Ohio where you spoke yesterday, quit talking tough on trade and actually do something to protect American workers. If the world screams “protectionism”, tough.
Until I see one or more of those actions above, then President Obama shows that he’s nothing more than an empty suit.