Or, civilization, and its disconnects.
After Scott Brown’s victory, we heard that the White House was going to “pivot” toward jobs. But the Obami did no such thing. Doubling down, and doubling down again, became the order of the day. We’ve had 24/7 coverage of health care — when not interrupted by news of a new low in U.S.-Israeli relations. So how’s that affecting Obama’s standing? For the first time, he’s “upside down” in Gallup — with 46 approving and 47 percent disapproving of his performance. Over at Rasmussen, only 44 percent of voters approve of Obama’s performance.
For members of Congress, it’s getting harder and harder to deny reality. Whether one looks at the generic congressional polling or the president’s own standing (which is as good a predictor as any of the fate of his party in the midterm election), the conclusion is the same: ObamaCare and the attendant procedural stunts are political losers for the Democrats. Republicans are struggling mightily to defeat ObamaCare, but one senses it’s a predicament that’s not altogether unwelcome. After all, running against ObamaCare and Democratic tricksterism may have its benefits both in November and in 2012.
Inside the president’s inner circle, it’s bunker time:
The New York Times gives us a glimpse into David Axelrod’s mood, which confirms exactly what the president tends to exude when talking about critics:
In an interview in his office, Mr. Axelrod was often defiant, saying he did not give a “flying” expletive “about what the peanut gallery thinks” and did not live for the approval “of the political community.” He denounced the “rampant lack of responsibility” of people in Washington who refuse to solve problems, and cited the difficulty of trying to communicate through what he calls “the dirty filter” of a city suffused with the “every day is Election Day sort of mentality.”
Unfortunately for the White House, these days “the peanut gallery” critics more often than not are reflecting what many Americans outside the Beltway are saying. And that’s not just an Election Day concern for those in the White House. Their jobs there entail representing those who sent them to Washington in the first place.
Meanwhile, the president, who told Fox News’ Bret Baier that “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or Senate,” disregards your reality, and substitutes his own:
BAIER: Do you know which specific deals are in or out, as of today?
OBAMA: I am certain that we’ve made sure, for example, that any burdens on states are alleviated, when it comes to what they’re going to have to chip in to make sure that we’re giving subsidies to small businesses, and subsidies to individuals, for example.
BAIER: So the Connecticut deal is still in?
OBAMA: So that’s not — that’s not going to be something that is going to be in this final package. I think the same is true on all of these provisions. I’ll give you some exceptions though.
Something that was called a special deal was for Louisiana. It was said that there were billions — millions of dollars going to Louisiana, this was a special deal. Well, in fact, that provision, which I think should remain in, said that if a state has been affected by a natural catastrophe, that has created a special health care emergency in that state, they should get help. Louisiana, obviously, went through Katrina, and they’re still trying to deal with the enormous challenges that were faced because of that.
OBAMA: That also — I’m giving you an example of one that I consider important. It also affects Hawaii, which went through an earthquake.
But of course. Video of the earthquake here:
Incidentally, Jim Hoft quotes ABC News’ Jonathan Karl’s report on the “Louisiana Purchase”, who said, “I am told the section applies to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate Democrat Mary Landrieu, who has been playing hard to get on the health care bill.”
As Cassy Fiano notes:
This moment, from Bret Baier’s interview on Fox News with Obama, might just be one of the biggest “WTF?!” moments from Obama’s presidency yet. Obama is either completely making things up, living in an alternate reality, or really, really confused.
Concurrent with the administration and the left-hand side of Congress continuing to distance themselves from reality, as Mark Steyn noted recently, the American people are becoming increasingly re-engaged with politics:
Jonah, I enjoyed your column today – a nice rebuke to David Brooks’ latest silly unpersuasive thesis. You write:
[Michael] Lind argues that the right has become a “counterculture [that] refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of the rules of the game that it has lost”… Whereas the Luddites and know-nothings once dropped out for the “Summer of Love,” today’s Luddites and know-nothings have signed up for the “Winter of Hate.”
That’s almost exactly backwards. There was more right-wing “dropping out” in the Nineties, when Dan Rather was warning of”the shadowy right-wing militia movement” and there was a kind of psychological Ruby Ridge siege mentality among a certain sliver of the right: Find a strip of land, live off the grid, stockpile ammunition, raise emus for meat, and keep your eyes peeled. There’s your right-wing counterculture.
A New Hampshire neighbor of mine did this for a while. Then he figured out the ATF guys don’t need to besiege his stockade. What with GPS and so forth, Obama can take him out with an unmanned drone launched from Diego Garcia and no-one would know a thing about it. So he came back down to town and ran for the Select Board as a budget-cutter – and won.
The Tea Party has a certain paradoxical quality – a mass movement of self-reliant individuals, etc. But Brooks and Lind are wrong: It represents a conscious re-engagement, and a rejection of dropping out. That’s why the left is rattled.
On the other hand, as Iowahawk satirically notes, channeling his inner Mamet, and (language alert) firing plenty of F***ing F-bombs along the way, patent medicine salesmen who are desperate enough will do pretty much anything to earn a commission.
Update: Roger L. Simon adds:
When you think over the last year, it’s clear Obama has some of the most inept advisers in recent presidential history. Allowing him to risk his entire presidency on a global overhaul of health care – when an incremental overhaul could have been had simply for the asking – seems absurd politics, win or lose. It also isn’t worth that much in the grand scheme of things – other than the obvious, increasing the amount of the economy under government control. The nostalgia for marxism inherent in it all this almost pathetic. Don’t these people live in the real world?
But now it all makes sense! Too much Hopium being smoked in the DC hookahs.