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  • Take the people seriously

       January 20, 2010

    With the Massachusetts election results in the books and pundits everywhere trying to understand what it means, Ann Althouse says:

    Poor Obama! It's the eve of the anniversary of his inauguration. The State of the Union was supposed to be very grand. And now what? He has been repudiated! He made this election a referendum on the Democrats agenda, and the people of Massachusetts, the most liberal state, gave him a resounding no.

    Now, I think that could be good for Obama. He's a man of change. Let him change. I hope he becomes the President I thought he could be when I voted for him. With the midterm elections looming in the fall, he can readjust, set himself apart from Congress. Take the people seriously.

    I'm keying in on that last sentence. Take the people seriously. She's saying that Obama was too set on advancing his own agenda - that he took his election as the end point of his engagement with the people rather than just the start of it. I think she's right. For better or worse, we elect a person, not a series of policy statements to be implemented upon election. The President's job isn't to bully his agenda through Congress. He's not a union negotiator or a used car salesman. The President's job is to listen and try to sell his agenda to the American people. He's a marketer. He's gotta soften us up to make it easy for our Senators and Congressmen to vote for what he wants.

    So then, my question is if Obama should take us seriously what does that mean? Does it mean he should he listen to our problems and romance us (or scare us) a little, like a Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan would do. Or, does taking us seriously mean that he should come out armed with facts & figures? What works best, an emotional or a rational appeal?

    Posted by at January 20, 2010 11:50 AM

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    #  January 20th, 2010 12:10 PM      BVBigBro
    A problem Obama faces is that the facts and figures, namely a massive debt, don't support the policy he wishes to implement, namely an even more massive debt. Thus he has attempted to appeal almost exclusively on an emotional level.

    I suspect he is also being advised by people who view every problem as a pschological and political problem and not as an actual problem and thus advise a positive and therefore unrealistic, attitude towards economic issues. This is a poor strategy for dealing with economic problems which transcend politics, ignore emotion and that are in fact real and not psychological or political.

    Obama's not a numbers guy and has no vision of where the country can and should go economically and what its' government can and should be doing or not doing. McCain was the same way and that's why I viewed both of them as likely single termers.

    #  January 20th, 2010 5:46 PM      themandownthehall

    I find it great to think that "Ted Kennedy's" seat is now occupied by a republican. Whether or not Brown is as conservative as say a Fred Thompson is irrelevant. He's to the right of Coakley and Kennedy. That's all we could have hoped for.  
    #  January 20th, 2010 7:02 PM      kris
    I'm actually unconvinced that this election wasn't just an entirely local result - Coakley was an awful candidate. But honestly, I think the potential health care reform bills are terrible whether you support reform or not, so going back to the drawing board a bit is probably a good thing for everyone.  



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