That’s the Professor’s paraphrase of Mickey Kaus’s take on the president’s anti-Ryan deficit reduction speech. But is that at all surprising? Contrary to what many leftists believe (at least if Hollywood cliches ranging from Professor Harold Hill to Gordon Gekko are any indication), a salesman has to like his customers to effectively sell to them. And he has to think that he and the customer are both involved in an equitable transaction — that he’s receiving a commission on a product that will benefit the customer by helping to alleviate the problem that brought the two of them together.
At the Weekly Standard, in an article titled, “Obama Is Just Plain Bad at Politics,” Jay Cost runs down the president’s long history of punitive rhetoric:
The Cambridge police acted “stupidly.” Hispanic voters need to “punish [their] enemies.” Doctors are taking out children’s tonsils for profit. People who own gas guzzlers (like for instance, the Cadillac Escalade from government-backed GM!) should trade them in if they don’t like the price of fuel today.If Gerald Ford had uttered any of these ridiculous comments, Chevy Chase and the Not Ready for Primetime Players would have had a field day. Yet somehow Obama manages to get a pass. The latest example of his free ride can be seen in this AP article on Obama’s deficit speech. Nowhere does it mention that this is the president’s second stab at a deficit reduction program this year. This CNN article grudgingly concedes as much, but puts the complaint in the mouths of Republicans (emphasis added):
To Republicans, the Obama stance is an about-face from his own 2012 budget proposal released in February that called for no significant reforms to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid that contribute the most to growing deficits.
None of this should come as a surprise. Obama has been demonstrating his political tone deafness since he emerged as the frontrunner in early 2008: his comment about how “bitter” rural Pennsylvanians “cling” to guns and God, how Hillary Clinton is “likeable enough,” the “vero possumus” seal, the arrogant trip to Europe that summer, the grand Barackopolis, and the weirdo artwork.
The “weirdo artwork” besides being creepy in its own right, is the key to understanding why Obama stinks as a saleman. Bill Clinton was a great salesman, because on some level he wanted to be loved by voters. Obama is horrible salesman because he wants to be worshiped by them. His hauteur and sense of disdain for, well, everyone, is palpable. No wonder he has such trouble closing the deal with customers voters.