Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Good-bye Obama Yes-Men, And Now What?

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | September 26, 2010 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: David Axelrod, Larry Summers, Obama Administration, Opinionator, Rahm Emmanuel, Tobin Harshaw

Tobin Harshaw of the New York Times Opinionator blog discusses the traditional exodus of exhausted senior Administration officials at the two year mark, making a connection between that and the Administration's alleged out-of-touchness.

"Larry Summers? Outta here. David Axelrod? Him, too. Rahm Emanuel? Give it a minute."

He also discussed the two paths the President has to choose from when it comes to naming successors: fighters and lovers.

As the gathering storm surrounding the Democrats moves closer on the horizon, will the Administration be a lover or a fighter?

And will it hunker down with more "positive thinkers" who kiss the ring and follow directions well or will it take on those willing to buck the Administration's trend towards hand-wringing and finger pointing?

Harshaw quotes WSJ's Weisman and Williamson:

The president could stack his administration with fighters prepared to deal with government shut-downs, veto threats and gridlock. Many Republicans running under the banner of the tea party have pledged an uncompromising stand on spending and efforts to roll back Mr. Obama's health-care law.

Or, as senior White House officials have said, the president could concentrate on finding common ground on deficit reduction, education and immigration, while guarding his achievements, from health care to student lending to financial re-regulation.

Both choices have downsides, but I believe that the President, who is as smart as anyone I could wish for in the White House, is surrounded by too many blue-sky salesmen who promise the sky and are skilled at painting a rosy picture, and yet deliver very little for the money. They point to all the accomplishments, but account for none of the deficits. And there have been great accomplishments, no doubt, and I am grateful for them. But in the real world it isn't enough to deliver half the product and ask for another sale.

Harshaw also quotes WaPo's Kornblut and Wilson, who found a Washington "strategist" who declined to be identified, but who hits the nail on the head:

They miscalculated where people were out in the country on jobs, on spending, on the deficit, on debt," said a longtime Democratic strategist who works with the White House on a variety of issues. "They have not been able to get ahead of any of it. And it's all about the insularity. Otherwise how do you explain how a group who came in with more goodwill in decades squandered it?"

Harbin quotes Morrissey of Hot Air, who translates "insularity" as "a fancy word for losing touch with the electorate," and predicts more of the same in the new staff picks.

The reason conservatives are gaining the ascendancy is that people are suffering. If they weren't, they wouldn't listen to the mean-spirited talk of let's keep out the aliens and reduce the deficit by letting the economy go bust. Most people don't have enough knowledge to understand the counter-intuitive point that you have to spend money to make money, and that if we keep the economy going, we'll generate enough to pay off the debt but if we stop the merry-go-round in the middle we'll be saddled with debt.

As someone who shut down a thriving business because of personal issues, I know that winding down a business or an economy creates problems that may be far more serious than keeping it going in the face of business pressures. But most people who are listening to the conservative message only understand parallels to their own personal finances - if you have less, spend less and don't be giving out any charity. And that's true when income is limited by salary, but it's not true when you run an income-generating business with options for income growth.

But we've let the middle class down, and making it into the middle class and staying there means you've learned a few lessons about how to keep afloat. They're not going to go for the sunshine-and-roses stories put out by the yes-men.

If President Obama tries to bring in people who are going to compromise everything important away to the Republicans in the hopes of getting a few crumbs to crow about, then I don't see a second term for him. But that's been his M.O. He is a lover, rather than a fighter. But sometimes you need fighters.

President Obama is smart enough to make smarter choices. He hasn't because he, like all people with power and/or money, is a powerful magnet for the people who get ahead by kissing butt and murmuring sweet words. King Lear learned his lesson after he lost his kingdom. But Theoden had his Gandalf, and came to his senses before disaster.

I value President Obama for his accomplishments, very important ones, few though they may be; I rue him for his unwillingness to fight for what's right.

Which way will President Obama go in his new appointments?

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Let's hope he gets outside of that circle of "trusted advisors" that never allows for an outside opinion. Bush did the same thing and we've seen how well that worked out then.

Jillian....I laughed at the term Blue Sky Salesman. Sort of reminds me of Snake Oil Pitchmen. Eight years of a Bush mess and we still can't dig ourselves out. God forbid if Jeb runs, we can't take another Bush in the White House.

Maybe if we held a charity shoot and invited the Bush's and also asked for Dick Cheney to come along?
A bird and three Bush's and one Dick with a shotgun....

Hahahaha Gina. Good one.