Shifting Ground?

At Tapscott’s Copy Desk, DC Examiner, we find “Obama is in trouble.”

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 “evolving public narrative,” one learns, is going on entirely on right-wing public radio and Faux Nooz. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are on fire, apparently. Further, “a potentially devastating conservative case against Obama is coming together rapidly.” Wow! This could be troublesome. But yes, two columns “tell the tale.” They are:

Daniel Henninger at the Wall Street Journal:

The Republicans have been handed on a tarnished silver platter the chance to offer the American people an alternative vision of how their economy works — and grows.

They should take political ownership of the 75% of the U.S. economy that the Democrats have abandoned — the private economy.


Over the past four decades and the decline of private-sector industrial unions, professional Democrats — politicians, intellectuals like Robert & Robert, campaign professionals, unions and satellite groups — have severed their emotional and intellectual connection with private production.

Wow, that’s so — nonsensical. OK, so what’s the other column? Why, it’s Charles Krauthammer! The same column I cited in my last post! Let’s look at Tapscott’s synopsis Krauthhammer:

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.

Krauthhammer and Tapscott are saying that Obama is deceiving the public by claiming the financial meltdown is the result of deregulation of financial markets and offering as the solution more regulation of health care, energy and education. Tapscott continues,

In other words, Krauthammer said, Obama tries to have it both ways, with the alleged errors of deregulation being compounded into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression by America’s failure to nationalize health care, shift our economy to alternative energy sources and give everybody a free pass to college. Obama is trying to make the cause and the cure synonymous. “Clever politics, but intellectually dishonest to the core,” Krauthammer said.

I read this three times to try to see where Obama’s dishonesty lies, and it eludes me. Of course, like most righties Tapscott and Krauthammer cannot so much as breathe without being intellectually dishonest about it. For example, they are being intellectually dishonest when they say Obama’s solution is more regulation of health care, energy and education. Some regulation is needed, but even more important is more investment in health care, energy and education.

And what’s with the “free pass to college”? Exactly where do they get this stuff?

Anyway, like most right-wing arguments, it is based on ideology that is utterly unconnected to anything happening in the real world. People who are already convinced that President Obama is a radical socialist terrorist fist bumper will take this argument to their hearts and repeat it like parrots without knowing what any of it really means. Everyone else will say, “huh?”

Michael Hirsch writes at Newsweek about the shifting ground:

Despite the tumbling economy, Barack Obama continues to enjoy a honeymoon with the American public in the face of the most trying crisis any newly inaugurated president has encountered since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The GOP, meanwhile, is viewed by a majority of Americans as the party of “no,” without a plan of its own to fix the economy, and even rank-and-file Republicans are concerned about the party’s direction, according to the first NEWSWEEK Poll taken since Obama assumed office. …

… Overall, 58 percent of Americans surveyed approve of the job Obama is doing, while 26 percent disapprove and one in six (16 percent) has no opinion. Although his approval ratings are down from levels seen a few weeks ago in other polls, 72 percent of Americans still say they have a favorable opinion of Obama—a higher rating than he received in NEWSWEEK Polls during the presidential campaign last year. The president’s rating in this poll is consistent with estimates provided by other national media polls in the last week.

Many on the Right also are claiming that Obama owns the nation’s faltering economy, since he’s been POTUS for less than seven weeks and hasn’t fixed it yet. In particular, the Right is seizing the falling stock market as proof that Obama’s economic policies are already failing. Robert Reich explains why this is nonsense. See also Tom Petruno at the Los Angeles Times.

Of course, going back many years we see that righties always claim good economies as theirs and bad economies as belonging to Democrats. In rightie world, the “Reagan Recession” of 1981-1982, which began after St. Ronald of Blessed Memory took office, was Jimmy Carter’s fault. On the other hand, the strong economy of Bill Clinton’s second term was, of course, Saint Ronald’s doing, even though Reagan had been out of office for a decade.

Time has a way of strangely compressing and expanding in the rightie brain.