Did you feel it? The political ground shifting beneath President Barack Obama since his speech last week to Congress? It’s been downhill since and I’m not referring mainly to the Dow Jones record-setting dive. The pivot point of the shift was the speech, or rather what the speech did to the evolving public narrative of Obama.
The case Mr. Tapscott tries to make seems a little forced to me - at this point. Here are a few of his bullets:
1. Increased audiences for Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
2. Some Democrats in Congress bailing on the omnibus spending package and the tax increases in Obama’s budget.
3. A coherent conservative critique appears to be emerging. As evidence, Tapscott points to two excellent articles this week that provide plenty of logical conservative ammunition to critics.
Paralleling these developments, a potentially devastatng conservative case against Obama is coming together rapidly. Two influential columns this week tell the tale: On Thursday, Daniel Henninger offers this crucial observation in a WSJ piece otherwise devoted to asking why Republicans aren’t more eagerly and quickly taking advantage of the fact the Obama Democrats have all but declared war on the 75 percent of the U.S. economy that is private and therefore productive of the nation’s wealth:
“Beyond the stock market, there is a reason why, despite much goodwill toward his presidency, the Obama response to the faltering economy has left many feeling undone. There isn’t much in his plan to stir the national soul. It’s about ’sacrifice’ now so that we can live for a future of small electric cars and windmills. This may move the Democratic Party’s faith communities, but it cannot revive a great nation. If the Democrats want to embrace market failure as a basis for their ideology, let them have it. As politics, it’s a downer.”
The second column appeared today in The Washington Post and was written by Charles Krauthammer. Obama’s mastery of public speaking has heretofore served to deflect attention away from the details of what he is actually proposing. And there is in those details, according to Krauthammer, a fundamental deception: Obama summons visions of catastrophe that are the result of too little government regulation of the financial markets and he offers as a solution vastly more government regulation of …. health care, energy and education.
“The ‘day of reckoning’ has now arrived. And because ‘it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament,’ Obama has come to redeem us with his far-seeing program of universal, heavily nationalized health care; a cap-and-trade tax on energy; and a major federalization of education with universal access to college as the goal.
“Amazing. As an explanation of our current economic difficulties, this is total fantasy. As a cure for rapidly growing joblessness, a massive destruction of wealth, a deepening worldwide recession, this is perhaps the greatest non sequitur ever foisted upon the American people,” Krauthammer said.
I think Mark is getting a little ahead of himself - as are many conservatives - who see the entire narrative, so carefully constructed over these many months by the media about Obama, suddenly shifting to reflect the realities of what the president is proposing as well as the myths surrounding his brilliance, his competence, and even his work ethic.
Wall Street is making its judgement as we speak. They cannot afford to listen to spin or engage in the kind of pretense about the Obama administration many Democrats are currently trying to foist upon us. They, like us, realize that the president’s personnel shop is in shambles, that his Treasury Secretary is the most spectacularly underperforming cabinet member in American history (given the fact that we were told the economic recovery depended on us ignoring the fact that he is a tax criminal and confirming him anyway), that there is no plan at all to deal with the banking crisis that worsens as you read this, that his foreign policy gaffes continue to make the United States look weak, indecisive, and ridiculous, and that in the midst of the worse economic crisis in a generation, the White House has chosen to waste time and effort to demonize a talk show host and try to paint his face on the Republican party.
We know all this. But the idea that these facts have altered or are even in the process of altering the fundamental narrative about Obama and his Administration is premature and borders on wishful thinking. As long as the Democrats can keep this a Republican economy, Obama will remain relatively unscathed. Defections from Democratic ranks on his budget will be few and given their huge majority in the House, insignificant. Even the declining stock market will be spun as sour grapes by the rich who don’t want to see their taxes raised.
Expectations on recovery are so low at this point that they will be able to spin any rise in job creation as occurring as a result of their porkulus package - even if, as most economists predict, the overall jobless rate will continue to climb. And as long as Republicans fail to offer anything remotely resembling an alternative to Obama’s ruinously transformative spending plans, the Democrats can paint the opposition to Obama as being obstructionist. (Adopting some of Newt Gingirich’s 12 points to recovery would be a nice start).
I think Tapscott is right about a consensus forming among the right regarding how to go about criticizing the president. Lord knows there’s enough ammo. The problem is getting by the major gatekeepers in the media who are still in a full blown Obama swoon. Some of the puff pieces on this guy and his family have been incredible. He buys his kids a new swingset and that rates cutsie article in AP. Some sex therapist writes on NBC’s website about the “5 Love Lessons” we can get from watching the Obama’s. No thanks, they appear much too demure for my tastes. As I have written previously, “I like my sports violent and my sex hot, sweaty, and loud.” The Obama’s strike me as a couple that would enjoy reading “The Kama Sutra” in the original Sanskrit or whatever while I prefer classic porn of the Debbie Does Dallas era.
Sorry, but in order to get beyond a narrative that holds up the first couple as idealized, perfect sex partners worthy of being imitated, we have some work to do. And I don’t think altering the narrative will happen in one “Eureka!” moment but rather a gradual chipping away at the myths, the lies, the spin, and the sleight of hand Democrats will use to distract people from the truly awful results that will occur when Obama’s policies come a cropper.
Unless I miss my guess, that day is coming sooner than the Democrats or Obama could possibly dream.