That sinking feeling

Obama always sounds like a student arguing with a professor over his grade, doesn’t he? Bob Herbert explains why it’s not working this time:

Barack Obama seems to think he’s done a pretty terrific job as president, but maybe he hasn’t trumpeted his accomplishments effectively enough.

He told The Times’s Peter Baker, in an interview for the Sunday magazine, “Given how much stuff was coming at us, we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right. There is probably a perverse pride in my administration — and I take responsibility for this; this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular.”

This assessment by the president is debatable, but it won’t be among the things that are front and center in the minds of voters as the November elections approach. The problem for Mr. Obama and the Democrats is the widespread sense among anxiety-riddled Americans that the country is still in very bad shape and headed in the wrong direction.

A Gallup poll last week found that 62 percent feel that economic conditions are deteriorating.

The president and his party may have racked up one legislative victory after another — on the bank bailouts, the stimulus package, the health care bill, and so forth — but ordinary Americans do not feel as if their lives or their prospects are improving. And they don’t think it’s a public relations problem.

Nearly 15 million are jobless and many who are working are worried that they (or a close relative) will soon become unemployed. The once solid foundation of home ownership has grown increasingly wobbly, with the number of foreclosures this year expected to surpass a million. And the country is still at war.

The voter unrest that is manifesting itself in myriad (and often peculiar) ways reflects a real fear that not just family finances but the country itself is in a state of decline. “I don’t know where we’re headed,” said a businessman named Chuck Carruthers, who chatted with me in a coffee shop in Atlanta last week. “But I’ll tell you the truth, I don’t think it’s anyplace good.”

5 thoughts on “That sinking feeling

  1. Of course the working class and lower middle class are still anxious. Our resources are running out and we still don’t have jobs and current income. Homeowners are losing houses and renters are being evicted, some with no where to go and losing all their possessions. And the powers that be don’t seem to understand the problem of having NO income. (All that crap about UI extensions earlier this year and last year… if the unemployment figure for your state goes down, even as little as .02% — that’s 2 tenths of one percent — you are not eligible for extended Federal benefits.)

  2. Durnit!!!! Things would be soooo much better if Obama had just communicated his many accomplishments more effectively; but don’t y’all agree that Mrs. Obama is sorta cute?

  3. One modification to my last comment (I knew something was missing and it hit me):

    Mrs. Obama is indeed way cute, but he is still a DINO.

  4. “Doing the right thing even if in the short-term it was unpopular” means following through on commitments to the financial and insurance industries despite the howls of outrage from the people who elected him.

    He thinks he was doing a good thing by not paying attention to us. So should we go ahead and vote for him again so he might listen to us the next time?

    The democratic party was a scurvy bunch of political operatives all along. In Lincoln’s time they were called “Copperheads”. The only reason FDR became a democrat was because his Uncle TR was a Republican and he did not want to be in his shadow. Martin Luther King Sr. and the black south were all Republicans until they met Nixon. Until then the Republicans were the party of civil rights and the democrats the unregenerate sons of the confederacy.

    Why bother to try to reclaim or re-direct them? They have spent the last 40 years since 1968 desperately trying to shed any connection to liberalism, progressiveness or basic justice and humanity.

    As the snake said to the frog, “I can’t help biting you. I’m a snake.”

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