Ed Driscoll

More Rubes Self-Identify

Maureen Dowd is not happy with The One, Charles C. W. Cooke writes at the Corner:

In her Saturday New York Times column, Maureen Dowd offers her most biting critique of President Obama since his inauguration:

Times have been bad and sad, and The One did not turn out to be a messiah, just a mortal politician who ruefully jokes that his talent is hitting the “sweet spot” where he makes no one happy, neither allies nor opponents.

I had expected such a lamentation to be followed immediately by a broadside against the Right; perhaps with the typical Reid-esque charges of obstructionism, or cynicism, or “politics,” or anything that implies that culpability lies outside of the West Wing. Instead, she trains her fire on the president and keeps it steadily there. The thrust of Dowd’s argument is that the president feels “disappointed” by us. An “introvert,” he shares Jimmy Carter’s incredulity that our boisterous democracy does not bend happily to his definition of the rational. And so, hurt by America’s failure to appreciate his brilliance, he and Michelle have become physically and emotionally reclusive, preferring the company of a small clique of friends that recognize his gifts:

The portrait of the first couple in Jodi Kantor’s new book, “The Obamas,” bristles with aggrievement and the rational president’s disdain for the irrational nature of politics, the press and Republicans. Despite what his rivals say, the president and the first lady do believe in American exceptionalism — their own, and they feel overassaulted and underappreciated.

We disappointed them.

Dowd writes,”The man who came to Washington on a wave of euphoria has had a presidency with all the joy of a root canal.” I’m pretty sure she called him “boy” in the first draft, though. Fortunately, as Don Surber adds:

Don’t worry. Only 364 shopping days left until he is gone with an anemic legacy of being a soft leader in tough times. Despite his failed $787 billion stimulus, his refusal to work with Republicans, and a foreign policy that is turning the Middle East and North Africa over to Iran, he thinks he is too good for us.

So does Jonathan Alter, writing in the Washington Post:

Obama’s lofty speeches during the 2008 campaign led even his detractors to admit that he is a gifted orator. Some critics try to minimize his skill by saying he relies on a teleprompter — a ridiculous charge considering that he often writes big chunks of his speeches and often speaks off-the-cuff.

That said, there are few examples of Obama’s speeches actually moving popular opinion. That’s because he speaks in impressive paragraphs, not memorable sentences. He is allergic to sound bites, and that keeps him from effectively framing his goals and achievements.

The roots of this allergy may lie in his famous Philadelphia speech on race in 2008, which followed the revelations of incendiary comments by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The speech lacked memorable lines, but it was a big hit. I believe it convinced Obama that the public could absorb complex ideas without bumper sticker lines. He was wrong.

Or as James Taranto paraphrases on Twitter, “Obama isn’t a gifted public speaker because the public is stupid.” The public — why does it have to bipolar? Soaring to lofty heights when it does what the MSM instruct it to do; so boorish when it fails its journalistic betters.

And finally, one of the more infamous rubes has a rare moment of clarity, as Spencer Ackerman lists “Four Contradictions In Obama’s Defense Plan:”

Sometimes the analysis in the strategy suggests a policy choice that the strategy actually disavows. Sometimes it walks back controversial points. Sometimes it makes pledges that sound sensible at first blush — but don’t actually make sense the more you think about them.

No word yet if Ackerman assuaged his guilt by declaring a random conservative pundit racist or suggesting tossing him through a plate glass window.

Elsewhere in the world of the JournoList, the Washington Post’s ombudman goes into full cheat-and-retreat mode:

Deborah Howell, Post ombudsman from 2005 through 2008, said at the end of her tenure that “some of the conservatives’ complaints about a liberal tilt [at The Post] are valid.”

I won’t quibble with her conclusion. I think she was right. I read all of The Post’s lengthier, meatier stories on Obama published from October 2006 through Election Day 2008. That was about 120 stories, and tens of thousands of words, including David Maraniss’s 10,000-word profile about Obama’s Hawaii years, which I liked.

I think there was way too little coverage of his record in the Illinois Senate and U.S. Senate, for example, with one or two notably good exceptions. But there were hard-hitting stories too, even a very tough one on Michelle Obama’s job at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

And that’s what The Post needs to do in covering his reelection campaign this year: be hard-hitting on his record and provide fresh insight and plenty of context to put the past three rough years into perspective.

And they’ll be happy to start, beginning on Wednesday, November 7th, 2012.

And finally, Ed Koch, who flashed momentary glimpses of coming to his senses in recent months, reverts back into rube mode, sad to say. As Jeff Dunetz writes at Big Government, “I should have known better.  Ed Koch is comfortable bashing Obama until he sees the election coming–and suddenly any backbone is replaced by a wet noodle.”