Sunday, September 6, 2009

News Talk Online September 7, 2009: Is The Criticism Sticking To Obama?

Podium's waiting, what will Obama say next?

It's not been a particularly good week for the president.

An aide has resigned under onslaught championed by Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck who labeled Van Jones a communist and more - but not nearly as repulsive as Jones calling Republicans "assholes."

There's mounting protests to the health reform bill - so much so that President Obama will try to wipe the slate clean with a Wednesday address to a joint session of Congress - one that will bring the nation his vision of what health care funding should look like. Just what we need, yet another set of proposals to further complicate this extremely complicated debate.

And his undoubtedly well intentioned scheduled Tuesday address to schoolchildren to express to them the importance of education been terribly politicized - starting with criticism from the right that suggests that the president is trying to poison the minds of impressionable young people. Now some parents who fear the president will be planting the seed of socialism in their children are threatening to keep their kids home if their schools will be bringing the president's address. And some who support the president are threatening to keep their children home if their schools aren't letting the students see and hear the president. If it wasn't a politically charged issue when he first announced it - it's certainly become one now.

This has all resulted in slipping approval ratings for the president over the summer - but the latest polls are probably causing the political brain trust in the White House particular angst. Indications are that he's losing support of some whites - including Democrats and independents - and this is threatening to tear apart the coalition that ensured his victory in November.

Some on the right are celebrating and are already looking forward to sweeping changes in Congress during mid-term elections - hoping - they are - that the Democrats lose control of the House. Others are even farther seeking - they are optimistically predicting that Obama is - already - destined to be a one-term president. Their main concern is who is best positioned to replace him among the Republican presidential wannabes.

But history has shown that there are ebbs and flows to the popularity of presidents and it's probably too early to start crafting Obama's political obituary. That being said, the trends we see today are reflective of a degree of discontent among the citizenry. If Obama is as smart as he appears, he'll take note and adjust.

One of the first things he should do is announce that we're going back to the health reform drawing board and invite Republicans, independents, doctors and health insurers to the table to try to craft something that's palatable to all. Perhaps whatever reform is presented should be incremental. Perhaps we have to take baby steps before we, as a nation, run for the health reform finish line. Get the country used to the fact that things are changing. Don't hit everyone over the head and force things down our throats so quickly that we don't have time to digest it.

I doubt that that's what we'll hear on Wednesday. That's too bad. Because there is need for health reform in the nation. But moving too quickly and too arbitrarily on the issue could doom it to another failure.

The first president to push health reform was Harry Truman. We've waited decades to get to this point. If this isn't handled properly - it could be defeated on principle - and it may be decades more before the United States improves its health care system.


Allen TX said...

ummmm interesting well said Gary

WorthyOfUrAttn said...

Who's going to get custody of me
:-( I don't eat much I don't take up much room...must see to appreciate - Worthy :-)

Jannhere said...

Hey Gary, why dont they start answering questions?

Anonymous said...

Hiya Gary..Mosses Came Down the Mountain not with a Gradual Message but with an Immediate Message of Moral Values that would free his People from Social ills and thus Freedom from ill treatment and ill Health. However given the Situation as it is Prevailing Today in American Health Care System based Mainly on those with the Most Money Can Buy in the Most and Best Health Care. True perhaps there is a need to revisit health reform drawing board and invite Republicans, independents, doctors and health insurers to the table to try to craft something that's palatable to all. But however again I see not the Poor but Eager People who are out for Political Meat and Gravy. Where is the Voice and Opinions of the Most Vulnerable on the Board ?

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Anonymous said...

Oh dear, poor Obama! Why, he's having to undergo criticism! Gee, nobody should ever criticize a President, right? Why, it's unAmerican! Unpatriotic! And just downright mean!

Come on Gary, this has happened to EVERY President. It's part and partial of being the Pres to come under fire, to have your cabinet questioned by the opposition, etc.

Republicans had to deal with it for eight years under Bush, Democrats can deal with it under Obama for however long it is.

And us Independents will sit back, look into the Constitutionalists' Guide to Political History, and smile: what goes around in politics always comes around in politics.

Stop the whining and start defending your man's position!

Or, as the WWE guy once said: grow a set of nads, dude!


Gary Baumgarten said...

I've never suggested, LD, nor do I in this piece, that the president ought not be criticized. I've said very plainly that it's not just our right, but our duty, to question our government. And I've been critical of this president as well, it's just that my criticism isn't based on partisanship.

Anonymous said...

"... it's just that my criticism isn't based on partisanship..." Gary, neither is anyone elses. See this is the problem I have with people from BOTH parties.

There's this notion of "it's the other guy being partisan, not me!" If you're part of a party, you generally share it's ideals. Therefore, by default, you're partisan.

I'm an Independent Constitutionalist. I don't deny being partisan because I believe that if you stand for nothing, you'll fall for ANYTHING.

I stand for the Constitution and it rightly interpreted and applied ala the Founding Fathers- not this ridiculous mumbo jumbo we'ver been seeing coming out of SCOTUS for the past 50 odd years.

Anyway, Gary, if you have a political bent; if you support a particular party; you're partisan. Period.

Why people have a hard time owning that is beyond me.


Gary Baumgarten said...

Thanks for the civics lesson but I'm not a member of nor do I support either party.

Anonymous said...

Who do you support Gary? I often wonder where you stand on issues. Reading your post and responses and the people you have on the show I have a idea but would hate to assume. Being a fence sitter can be just as bad. Seriously Gary. Thats the chicken way out.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Thomas Jefferson

Gary Baumgarten said...

I'm not a fence sitter. I am pretty forthcoming in my views. Just listen to the show or read the blog.

I presume when you are asking who I support you are wondering if I support the president.

I support the president when I agree with him. I oppose the president when I disagree.

That doesn't make me a fence sitter. It makes me an independent thinker who happens to not be partisan.