Friday, December 25, 2009

The Two Obamas

Just when we thought that we had President Obama pegged as a egoistical ditherer with a tin ear and a Chicago-machine appetite for thug politics, along comes Peggy Noonan on Christmas Day.

Apparently we have got it all wrong. Obama is nice to his staff, carefully preps himself before meetings, and genuinely cares about doing the right thing. Here's an Obama aide:

The president, he suggested, tends toward the long view and the broad view. "Here's what I know about him. He still has this amazing ability to tune out the noise from Washington, read the letters from the people, listen to their concerns, listen to his advisors, hear both sides, absorb all the information, and make the decision that he honestly feels is right for the country."

His base, his silent majority, still loves him, although quietly. Yes, the aide knows that everybody else is giving up on the president.

He is aware that Obama is "perceived as alternately too weak and too Chicago, too left and too right, too willing to compromise and too beholden to his majority, too detached and too much meddling in too many things." The administration needs "to do better in resetting the story and telling it the way we want it told."

Let's leave out the cheap shots, above "resetting the story," and dish out some honest advice.

Mr. President, if you honestly just want to do what is best for the nation then you have to stop the cheap rhetorical tropes. You must not just tell the truth but be seen to tell the truth.

  • Stop the cheap stuff about "false choices."
  • Stop the endless blaming of Bush
  • Stop all the "I" stuff
  • Stop insisting on the impossible in your central, landmark initiative. You can't offer more health care for less in a program of subsidies and administrative regulation.
  • Stop the 60-vote-in-the-Senate partisan strategy

All the above stuff is incompatible with the wise-father story that your aide is serving up to Peggy Noonan.

If the president really is the worthy and sensitive leader that his aide represents to us, then he has some serious rethinking to do. And the rethinking should not be about the message. It should be about the stuff that Obama knows that isn't so.

This is a great mysterious world and there are many things we don't know. But there are a lot of things we do know about government. Mainly we know about what doesn't work. You could say that there is a "settled science" on a lot of this. But liberals are reluctant to admit it, because liberal politics is based upon a lot of knowledge that isn't so.

Mainly, what we've learned about government in the modern, democratic era, is that it is wasteful, inefficient, and it divides people. Or as we say here at roadtothemiddleclass,com: cruel, corrupt, unjust, wasteful, deluded.

So the government that governs best governs least. The best government is a limited government that requires its people to cooperate among themselves to produce and acquire the needful things of life. The worst government is a government that meddles and interferes in everything and plays favorites.

Mr President, your aide says that you are a worthy man that is appreciative and listens well, thinks through things and then makes decisions. If this is so, then the reason for the Other Obama, the one that has made such a mess of his first year as president, is that he's got a fundamentally wrong view of the world. Much as you are earnest and determined to do the right thing, it must be that you don't understand how the world works and how it could be made to work better.

The first thing you could do is call in a bunch of Republican moderates and ask them what you are doing wrong. After all, they are the kind of people who might actually break ranks and support you if you made an honest effort to propose policies that they could support.

Otherwise we conservatives are going to persuade the American people that we understand their needs and their dreams better than you do. And if that happens, you are toast.

Merry Christmas, Mr. President.

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