It isn’t just that President Obama doesn’t understand the common man; the Democrats in general seem to have that failing.

Thanks to a tip from Gretchen, I saw this article from :


Assessing midterm losses, Democrats ask whether Obama’s White House fully grasped voters’ fears


By Karen Tumulty and Dan Balz, Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 7, 2010; 12:46 AM

President Obama’s failure to channel the anxieties of ordinary voters has shaken the faith that many Democrats once had in his political gifts and his team’s political skill.

In his own assessments of what went wrong, the president has lamented his inability to persuade voters on the merits of what he has done, and blamed the failure on his preoccupation with a full plate of crises.

But a broad sample of Democratic officeholders and strategists said in interviews that the disconnect goes far deeper than that.

“There doesn’t seem to be anybody in the White House who’s got any idea what it’s like to lie awake at night worried about money and worried about things slipping away,” said retiring Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D). “They’re all intellectually smart. They’ve got their numbers. But they don’t feel any of it, and I think people sense that.”

Gee, it takes an election to get The Washington Post to understand this? I told you about it a year and a half ago! Nor was that the only time. From 22 October 2007:

(A)s much as (Democrats) say that they are for the working man, as much as they claim to be on the side of the little guy, the Democrats who hold public office make a comfortable living doing so and have absolutely no flaming idea what it is actually like to have to live paycheck-to-paycheck. In saying that a tax increase is small, is modest, and it will provide just so much in valuable services, they are completely unable to put themselves in the shoes of the little guy, in the place of the working mother who just had to put back that gallon of milk because she just didn’t have quite enough money to buy it.

That was 2007, before very many people thought that the junior Senator from Illinois, just 2½ years into his term in office was somehow qualified and ready to be President of the United States, and before the last recession. And even though the former community organizer and Illinois state Senator has been Peter Principled promoted and isn’t talking about tax increases at all, except on the top producers, we have people like Perry and Henry Whistler who want to see a tax increase on everybody come the New Year. I’ve met Perry, and he seems well enough off, and may have been for a long time — I really don’t know — and even though Perry is one of us common folk, he really doesn’t seem to understand the worries of working people any better than Governor Bredesen said President Obama and his apparatchiki do. (Of course, he also once called Nancy Pelosi a “great leader” and said that “She is of the people, by the people, and for the people.” :) ) Mr Whistler, even though he’s doing well enough now, was poor not all that long ago, yet he seems to have forgotten those days. Of course, he didn’t have any children to support, either.

You know, we’ve heard for generations how the Republicans are the party of big business and the Democrats are supposed to be the party of the working man. It’s been great propaganda and successful propaganda, and I know people who, despite some fairly conservative inclinations generally, still believe that bovine feces.

Yet Republicans, and especially the conservative, TEA Party-influenced Republicans, understand something very simple and very true, that the greatest friend the working man can and does have is the business which employs him and pays him. Republicans understand that what is good for business is good for the working family.

The Democrats, not so much. Our friends on the left, in their real and genuine concerns about specific issues — whether everyone has health insurance, for example, or whether there’s an appropriate racial balance in a given company’s workforce — have somehow lost sight of the big picture, have been unable to understand how, regardless of how much a person might want health insurance, his primary concern is putting food on the table and having a job to go to tomorrow.

I am absolutely certain that President Obama and the Democrats wanted their policies of 2009 and 2010 to create more jobs and to improve the life of the American people. But in pushing those policies, they really never understood economics, never understood the real needs of the American public, nor how their policies would negatively impact them. President Obama thinks that, somehow, the Democrats got hammered in the elections last Tuesday because the Democrats in general, and he specifically, just didn’t do a good enough job explaining their policies to the voters. Nope: the Democrats got hammered because the people did understand their policies, and the people didn’t like them.

14 Comments

  1. But in pushing those policies, they really never understood economics, never understood the real needs of the American public, nor how their policies would negatively impact them.

    They’ve demonstrated a far better grasp of economics than you have – you’re in no position to criticise them.

  2. This whole argument about being “in touch” or not is a red herring. I, as a voter, don’t give a flying rat’s patootie about whether the people in Washington “feel my pain,” as it were. My concern is whether they can make my life better or not, and if they can, whether they are or not. It’s about results, plain and simple, and the Democrats couldn’t produce them in the two years they controlled both the legislative and executive branches. They also couldn’t convince voters that their policies would work, given the time. All the sympathy and understanding in the world doesn’t change that fact.

  3. Well, it seems not everyone in the “reality based community” is having a tough time facing up to an inconvenient truth. Clearly, voters rejected Obama’s ever expanding big government agenda, and some observers are willing to open their eyes, while others just can’t quite bring themselves to acknowledge the obvious. Is anyone surprised at who’s who?

  4. Clearly, voters rejected Obama’s ever expanding big government agenda

    Except, of course, that the election results are fully in line with US voter concern about the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs – not “the ever expanding big government agenda”.

  5. Like I said…

    My cat says things to me, too. He’s not very smart either.

  6. To quote William Pitt:

    In 2006 and 2008, the Democrats won a slew of House seats in districts that had historically rejected them out of hand. This happened because the Bush administration and the GOP were so God-awful that even their own people rejected them. In 2008, for example, several dozen districts elected a Democrat to the House while simultaneously going for McCain. What happened on Tuesday had some to do with the economy, very little to do with the so-called “Tea Party,” and almost everything to do with those several dozen House seats snapping back to their normal states of being.

  7. I hope Obama, Reid, Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats remaining in office never do figure it out. I can see November 2012 from my house. And whoever “William Pitt” is, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  8. Yet Republicans, and especially the conservative, TEA Party-influenced Republicans, understand something very simple and very true, that the greatest friend the working man can and does have is the business which employs him and pays him. Republicans understand that what is good for business is good for the working family.

    Uh-huh.

    So, how’s that new Tea Party Congress working out for Tea Party supporters who expected that the lobbyists were going to be cleared out, the “too-big-to-fail” Wall Street banks brought under control and laws enforced?

    The election was Tuesday, and on Thursday the expected new Chair of the House financial services committee warned regulators to lay off Wall Street, particularly Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, and not enforce the “Volker Rule” in the new Wall Street reform law. That’s right, told them not to enforce the law.

    Unless you’re employed by Wall Street, you teabaggers have a problem

  9. “…we have people like Perry and Henry Whistler who want to see a tax increase on everybody come the New Year. I’ve met Perry, and he seems well enough off, and may have been for a long time — I really don’t know — and even though Perry is one of us common folk, he really doesn’t seem to understand the worries of working people…”

    I like how it doesn’t really matter if liberals are working people. Even if they are, they still don’t “get” working people like Republicans do. And it ends up going back to this cultural baggage, where there’s working people, and “real” working people, and we get into the usual tropes about how rightwingers are really such amazing salt-of-the-earth people and liberals float in the disconnected ether of their wispy ideas.

    And, of course, to “get” working people you have to support class warfare against working people. And the liberal working people? You call them greedy and lazy, case closed.

    I balance my checkbook like everybody else. I pay down debts every month. I pay above the minimum and one by one I knock out my debts. The result? I have a great credit score. Debt represents choices we made as a democratic republic to spend money.

    We all owe that money, and I’m about to have a son born into $40,000+ U.S. public debt. Talk to me about lower taxes when we’re not $13 trillion in the hole because of the Bush tax cuts, the Bush wars, and the Bush economy that Obama was given to fix.

    It’s clear Bush’s tax cuts were a devastating mistake, coupled with massive spending bills. Any attempt to uncouple ourselves from the responsibility, especially from those who voted for Bush, twice, enthusiastically, is simple negligence of our financial needs.

    That’s the infuriating thing. You keep wanting to promise something for nothing because it’s the key to Republican prominence. I’m trying to be responsible and say spending and taxation are inextricably linked. And I say so precisely because I grew up with working class values.

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