Erik Larson

Nov 11, 2009


Hmm. Just saw the latest poll numbers on Hardball with Yelling Mathews, and it seems the American People want the Republicans back. The change we can believe in?

Obama, that political phenom that had media pundits, bloggers, and just about everyone speculating that the country was in fact (or now) center left, is now in real danger of political losses in the House and Senate, and on that crucial litmus test question of whether Americans feel that the country is on the right track, he’s losing .

Why? Why so soon? Because he looks like what-the-left-thought-about-dubbya right now. No, he doesn’t sound like your crazy Texas neighbor gettin’ his shit kickers on for a hoe down. No, he didn’t breeze through Yale drinking cheap beer and keeping in close touch with his well-connected father. He’s a legit Harvard guy. An elite. Educated, thoughtful in demeanor and in speech.

Only, he makes rediculous political decisions. As a libertarian, right leaning (mostly libertarian) guy, I’m applying the “Obamaya” label to him now. Why? We’re sending troops into Afghanistan, a war that likely can’t be won, and we’re doing it in a way that maximizes discontent by left and right: more troups (left: bad!), but not as much as the general recommends (right: bad!). Nice.

He pushes through that fucked up stimulus package, 780 billion or whatever, deferring to the speaker of the house to write it, a political move that gaurantees it will be loaded to the brim with political goodies for every constituency in the Union. Ah, heck, we only created temporary gov’ment jobs? Nuts! And now unemployment is 10.2%, when originally forecasted to stay at or below 8% given the magic stimulus sauce. Oh, bull. Even liberal economists, like Jeffrey Sachs, think it’s a political cookie jar and missed opportunity, nevermind the consevative-minded economists who’ve been screaming all along that it’ll just add to the national debt (which no one doubts, by the way, that Bush initially created) without doing anything much substantive for working folks. Nice job, Obamaya.

Then there’s the Health Care debate, a never ending back and forth on cable news, local news, in newspapers, C-Span, shut up! Health care, the pressing concern. Oh, and by the way, it’s all about left-right fighting points: abortion, public option, et cetera et cetera. No one spins it as a cost saver (because it’s not), and everyone on the Hill just keeps fighting about their favorite ethical issue, all the while losing millions of Americans who want to feel confident again about the basic direction of the country. Fix health care? Sure, we should fix it. It’s broken. Start with trial lawyers. Or start with expanding access to plans across state borders, freeing up competition among private insurers. Or start by policing existing insurers on hot button issues like preexisting conditions, and so on. But this turd is a big ole’ pile of make-Obama-less-popular. Wrong time. Wrong discussion. Why can’t Obama see this, if he’s so damn not-Dubbya ? Doesn’t sound very Harvard to me (unless by “Harvard” you mean do-things-that-make-an-elected-official-be-not-re-elected).

What else? Beers with some yahoo cop in Cambridge and a professor friend? Cool. Fly off to Copenhagen or where the hell it was to lobby for Olympics in Chicago? Cool. Screw the Global Warming issue, spewing tons of jet exhaust into the upper atmosphere to transport a handful of important folks half way across the globe in search of that ultimate nobel goal of sports in your old neighborhood . Woo hoo! Hey, I like sports as much as the next guy. But I wouldn’t jump on that flight and then grab the mike back home to guilt everyone else about the necessity of cap and trade and making you polluters pay. You may as well be Al Gore with this level of blind hypocricy.

So, people aren’t buying it .

Why not? A really crappy theory: American-style Democracy is to blame. Uneducated populace, that sort of thing. If only the red state folks would drop their guns and religion and spend four years on a college campus not getting laid unless they parroted politically correct points made by their wish-it-was-the-sixties-again professors. Yes, there’s an objective criterion! Dumb asses. You make lemmings look like General Patton (but isn’t the lemming thing apocryphal?).

But surely, getting back to whatever the hell I was talking about, the troublesome AP polling data should not be read to suggest that Obama is failing at his job , surely not (this is sarcasm). Obama’s job is: what? Inter alia ( cool Latin phrase used only by the educated, so if you’re not down with it you’re almost definitionally an ignoramus, and probably a racist), Obama’s job is to bring back confidence in the country, and bring that change that we all can believe in. Surely the fact that the majority of Americans now think we’re heading in the wrong direction doesn’t impugn Obama, does it? Hal? Hal ?

He’s from Harvard, after all. Not Yale. He ain’t no Dubbya! No, he’s not. He’s Obamaya! Only, unlike Dubbya, who’s gritty gut sense kept his base and enough independents on board through an improbable re-election, Obamya’s bleedin’ off independents by the month. Maybe he’ll turn it around, we’ll see (if not, we can always blame Dubbya!). But lately, it seems he shoulda been a Yale man (or is this spurious? doesn’t matter, still not change, change we can the sloganizer came and took my sentence away …). Believe in! Huh.