Apparently believing that they hadn’t shrunk their readership enough in recent years, Time decided to resume the process last week by declaring their audience “Islamophobic” because they didn’t fancy the idea of a mosque in a building so close to the WTC that parts of one of the aircraft involved in 9/11 had crashed through its roof.
As Steve Green noted on Thursday, Time decides to double down. Hey you people in the blank space between Manhattan and California on the New Yorker cover, you don’t like the GZM? Fine, be that way. But surely you dug the president’s “Stimulus” plan, right?
In a Time magazine piece, reporter Michael Sheerer (and David Axelrod with the assist!) trying out a new meme to explain away President Obama’s descent through the polls: Blame his victims. Here’s Exhibit A:
One explanation for Obama’s steep decline is that his presidency rests on what Gallup’s Frank Newport calls a “paradox” between Obama and the electorate. In 2008, Newport notes, trust in the federal government was at a historic low, dropping to around 25%, where it still remains. Yet Obama has offered government as the primary solution to most of the nation’s woes, calling for big new investments in health care, education, infrastructure and energy. Some voters bucked at the incongruity, repeatedly telling pollsters that even programs that have clearly helped the economy, like the $787 billion stimulus, did no such thing.
“The stimulus has clearly helped the economy.” That’s quite an assumption, given that by the President’s own yardstick, the thing has been a dismal flop. Furthermore, I think voters understand that the stimulus was yet another attempt to borrow from the future to make today a little nice — which is exactly how we got into this mess. So, contrary to Sheerer’s assertion, the American public seems to be quite a bit smarter than your average Beltway reporter and not the other way around.
And now, Exhibit B:
When challenged about his declining popularity, the President tended to deflect the blame — to the state of the economy, the ferocity of the news cycle and right-wing misinformation campaigns. [Hey, if anybody had any doubt, nice of Time to triangulate themselves with that line — Ed] Aides treated the problem as a communications concern more than a policy matter. They increased his travel schedule to key states and limited his prime-time addresses. They struggled to explain large, unpopular legislative packages to the American people, who opposed the measures despite supporting many of the component parts, like extending health insurance to patients with pre-existing conditions or preventing teacher layoffs. “When you package it all together, it can be too big to succeed as a public-relations matter,” says Axelrod.
See? Americans are just too dumb to understand that the health bill is good for them — we can’t see the forest (Obamacare) from the trees (all those “component parts”) we tell pollsters we like. That this bill was passed in the most outrageous way, and that we can plainly see those bits we like are smothered in horse waste — well, we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about the little technical details.
So your average reader, of which Time has literally tens, [Heh–Ed] might read this thing and wonder if maybe he didn’t get it all wrong, if maybe he judged Obama too harshly. And we’ll see lots more of this stuff, going into November.
Don’t fall for it.
If you’re a regular PJM reader, I don’t think there’s much chance of that happening.
In a related item, in his syndicated column today, Jonah Goldberg adds:
There was a lot of talk in the late stages of the Democratic primary about how Obama couldn’t “close.” People liked the Hope and Change stuff, but he fell short on convincing people he could transmogrify the rhetorical gold into reality. Sure, he won in the end. It was a change election, and he was the ultimate change candidate, with no real record to serve as ballast for all of his hot air.But then came the governing, when the steak needed to outrank the sizzle. Obama has had remarkable success cramming his agenda through Congress — often thanks to the sorts of backroom deals he swore to oppose — but he hasn’t made a sale outside of the Beltway. For instance, despite a year of infomercial-level hawking, Americans still don’t want his health-care reform (The American people loved the fantasy car he described, but they’ve balked at both the clunker and the financing). He’s gone straight from messiah to Michael Dukakis.
In fairness, he’s tried to sell. He claimed the Gulf oil spill proves we need cap-and-trade. He told us from the Oval Office this week that we owe it to the troops to unite around his economic agenda. But these weren’t arguments so much as condescending harangues. No one who doesn’t already agree buys such nonsense. Rather, they ask, “How stupid does this guy think we are?”
Just as often, Obama confuses explanation for persuasion, as if simply telling us that because he thinks X, then X must be the way to go. More infuriating, nearly all of his explanations assume that disagreement with him must stem from ignorance or villainy. That pose worked a little when he could claim that opposition was synonymous with Republican partisanship. But now that disagreement has moved to the mainstream, he seems to have an adversarial relationship with the people he’s supposed to represent.
Funny how the MSM’s adversarial relationship with American readers, and Obama’s adversarial relationship with American voters is coinciding at precisely the same moment.
Jonah’s article is titled, “Obama Could Use Some Clintonesque Salesmanship” And as the old term associated with salesmanship goes, “people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.”
Unless by chance you consider yourself a member of America’s Ruling Class, it’s safe to say that the White House and the MSM don’t care very much about you or me.
Hopefully they won’t be all that surprised if we feel the same.
Update: At Ricochet, Dave Carter is “Getting Ready For November:”
Over 200 years ago, free men won our independence. It was free men, through their respective states, who gave birth to the federal government. For generations, free men and women have fought our wars. And in 2001, it was free men and women who gave their lives, literally saving one or more branches of that government. To show it’s appreciation, the government has proceeded to bankrupt us and our descendants. It orders our lives according to its priorities, running roughshod over the very Constitution it was instituted to preserve. It refuses to perform it’s most basic function, leaving us defenseless against a virtual invasion across our borders and then sues us when we try to defend ourselves.
And how do our public officials view us? When we exercise our right to protest, we are called racist. When we call for a return to the Constitution, we are accused of turning back the clock. When we express our concern over a mosque built as a provocative act on the ashes of thousands of our people, we are called xenophobic. The list goes on and on.
In fact, we are not any of these things. We are citizens, free men and women, and we vote. The ruling class works at our pleasure, as we will demonstrate in a few short months. November can’t get here soon enough.
Don’t miss the snazzy — and very much related — video that Carter links to as well.
(And speaking of Ricochet, I’ll never look at a bottle of Dos Equis the same way again…)
Update: At Hot Air, Doctor Zero explores what happens “After the Fall:”
Jim Geraghty of National Review relays some sage advice from his political mentor: “This election is not about Obama. It’s about what Democrats have been since 1972.” It’s also about preventing them from assuming their twisted and ravenous state in the future. We need healthy opposition parties. The long-term prosperity, and perhaps survival, of our nation requires the improvement of the Republican Party… and the transformation of the Democrats. That is the great task awaiting us, after the fall.
Read the whole thing, as they say.
Update: And again.