What we have here is a failure to communicate

by Russ Roberts on January 21, 2010

in Hubris and humility

Yes, it was just a messaging problem. From the Washington Post:

President Obama on Wednesday blamed the Democrats’ stunning loss of their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate on his administration’s failure to give voice to the economic frustrations of the middle class, a disconnect that White House aides vowed to quickly address as they continue to work to advance the president’s agenda.

Obama said the relentless pursuit of his domestic policies — and a failure to adequately explain their virtues — had left Americans with a “feeling of remoteness and detachment” from the flurry of government actions in Washington.

That’s right. It has nothing to do with the bloated budget, the payoffs to political friends like the unions in bailing out Detroit and exempting them from health care taxes, the rising debt, the coddling of Wall Street, the stimulus package that didn’t stimulate, the grandiosity of redesigning the health care system and the energy sector. No, it was a feeling of remoteness and detachment. Angst. A failure to connect.

“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,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

Getting stuff done? Like closing Gitmo? You bragged about that promise incessantly then failed to keep it. Like listening to the father of a terrorist worried his son is going to strike? That didn’t get done.

And then there’s the stuff that did get done–shoveling money to the states to shore up public employment while private employment continues to fall. Expanding the debt ceiling. Letting the House and the Senate design the stimulus package and health care. What did you get done? Cash for Clunkers? Near nationalization of the auto industry and the financial sector? You did win the Nobel Prize. Congratulations.

And yes, you did lose a “sense of speaking directly to the American people” about our core values. When was your last press conference, Mr. President?

The admission came as the president’s top aides sought to come to terms with political disaster in the aftermath of the GOP‘s Senate victory in Massachusetts.

Unfortunately, it’s the wrong admission. And yes, I know it’s all spin. But the answer is a lot simpler. The dogs don’t like the food you’re dishing out.

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