Monday, December 21, 2009

How Barack Obama undermined the Obama presidency

Via Americablog:

How Barack Obama undermined the Obama presidency:
"NOTE FROM JOHN: Read this essay that Joe links to. I've not ready anything
so spot on about the President, and what makes him tick.

A post at Huffington
Post by Drew Westen
, the political psychologist/neuroscientist, is sure to
cause a stir today. Westen has gained a reputation as one of those scholars as
an expert on political communication. His work in 2008 is often compared to what
George Lakoff did in 2004.

Today, Westen provides a brutal, but
accurate, assessment of the Obama presidency. It's worth a read. But have some
coffee first, but you'll see things you've thought yourself over the past few
months -- and you're going to be annoyed:
Somehow the president has managed to turn a base of new and
progressive voters he himself energized like no one else could in 2008 into the
likely stay-at-home voters of 2010, souring an entire generation of young people
to the political process. It isn't hard for them to see that the winners seem to
be the same no matter who the voters select (Wall Street, big oil, big Pharma,
the insurance industry). In fact, the president's leadership style, combined
with the Democratic Congress's penchant for making its sausage in public and
producing new and usually more tasteless recipes every day, has had a very high
toll far from the left: smack in the center of the political

What's costing the president and courting danger for Democrats
in 2010 isn't a question of left or right, because the president has
accomplished the remarkable feat of both demoralizing the base and completely
turning off voters in the center. If this were an ideological issue, that would
not be the case. He would be holding either the middle or the left, not losing

What's costing the president are three things: a laissez faire
style of leadership that appears weak and removed to everyday Americans, a
failure to articulate and defend any coherent ideological position on virtually
anything, and a widespread perception that he cares more about special interests
like bank, credit card, oil and coal, and health and pharmaceutical companies
than he does about the people they are shafting.

The problem is not that
his record is being distorted. It's that all three have more than a grain of
truth. And I say this not as one of those pesky 'leftists.' I say this as
someone who has spent much of the last three years studying what moves voters in
the middle, the Undecideds who will hear whichever side speaks to them with
moral clarity.
I agree, as one of those pesky leftists.

How the Obama brain trust
(who are the smartest people in the world in case you didn't know) destroyed the
Obama brand of Hope and Change is going to be studied for years to come.
Ultimately, the fault lies with Obama, but he got a lot of help from Rahm
Emanuel and Jim Messina along the way.

Westen's analysis is painfully on

I second John's recommendation that you read the entire article. Now, if we could just get Mr. Obama and his team to hear what they're saying, and take action.

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