The most striking feature of Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency was the amazing, young, Internet-enabled, grass-roots movement he mobilized to get elected. The most striking feature of Obama’s presidency a year later is how thoroughly that movement has disappeared.Thanks for the free advice, Tom. That and five bucks'll get you a grande frappuccino at Starbucks. It's kind of hard, though, for American to be hopeful and at their best when Mr. Moon Shot has saddled them, their kids, and even their grandkids with a monumental debt.
In part, it disappeared because the Obama team let it disappear, as Obama moved to pass what was necessary — the economic stimulus — and what he aspired to — health care — by exclusively playing inside baseball with Congress. The president seems to have thought that his majorities in the Senate and the House were so big that he never really had to mobilize “the people” to drive his agenda. Obama turned all his supporters into spectators of The Harry and Nancy Show. And, at the same time, that grass-roots movement went dormant on its own, apparently thinking that just getting the first African-American elected as president was the moon shot of this generation, and nothing more was necessary.
Well, here’s my free advice to Obama, post-Massachusetts. If you think that the right response is to unleash a populist backlash against bankers, you’re wrong. Please, please re-regulate the banks in a smart way. But remember: in the long run, Americans don’t rally to angry politicians. They do not bring out the best in us. We rally to inspirational, hopeful ones. They bring out the best in us. And right now we need to be at our best...
Sunday, January 24, 2010
TLF Advises Obama to Crank Up the Cheerfulness
Why have Americans fled in droves from the Hopeychanger and his mess o' potage? As NYT pundit Thomas L. Friedman "explains," it's not because of the gaping chasm between what he pretended to be--i.e. the guy who would unite left and right and teach the world to sing in perfect har-mo-nee--and who he really is--i.e. a transnational statist who has no truck with American exceptionalism and who tarnished the Oval Office with his Chicago-style finagling--but because, well, he's much crankier than he used to be. And TLF is convinced that Americans respond much better to presidents who turn their frown upside down: