The PJ Tatler

Zogby: Voters Tuning Obama Out

File this under “least surprising news of the day.”

Obama promises a speech on jobs next month, but one wonders if his words are losing their power with voters. At least he is getting ahead of the curve, as elite and popular opinion now seem to realize that spending cuts and deficit reduction should not be our highest priorities with jobs scarce and demand stagnant. Obama was elected as a new FDR. Now he must answer whether his role model will be Harry Truman in 1948 or Jimmy Carter in 1980.

If Barack Obama was really a superhero, he would be Motor Mouth Man, talking his enemies to death or at least to sleep. Talk was all Obama ever had as a hero power, and after three years of total failure, it’s deserting him. And when he does talk, he either says nothing new (as in, every time he talks about jobs) or he says dumb things that don’t check out at all. The latest example of that is the president’s “check with the USDA” line earlier in the week when a farmer asked him about the EPA’s latest anti-jobs insanity, the “dust rule.” Here’s how that worked out.

Obama said: “If you hear something is happening, but it hasn’t happened, don’t always believe what you hear.”

“Contact USDA,” he added, according to Politico. “Talk to them directly. Find out what it is that you’re concerned about. My suspicion is a lot of times they’re going to be able to answer your questions, and it will turn out that some of your fears are unfounded.”

Politico reporter MJ Lee decided to try the president’s advice and ended up in a bureaucratic morass over two days, bouncing from federal officials to state offices and never getting an answer. Lee left messages, was transferred from office to office and was even asked, “Did you Google this or anything?”

Even identifying oneself as a reporter was little help. An Illinois Natural Resources Conservation Service spokeswoman told Politico that “our particular agency does not deal with regulations. We deal with volunteers who voluntarily want to do things. I think the reason you got that response from the Cambridge office is because in regard to noise and dust regulation, we don’t have anything to do with that.”

The reporter’s final stop was the USDA’s main media relations department in Washington, which resulted in an email of boilerplate and no answer to the question.

“Secretary Vilsack continues to work closely with members of the Cabinet to help them engage with the agricultural community to ensure that we are separating fact from fiction on regulations because the Administration is committed to providing greater certainty for farmers and ranchers. Because the question that was posed did not fall within USDA jurisdiction, it does not provide a fair representation of USDA’s robust efforts to get the right information to our producers throughout the country.”

Obviously Barack Obama hasn’t rang up a government office in, well, ever, if his advice to find out useful information is to ring up a government office. You never get anywhere doing that, as everyone with any sense already knows.

When he isn’t doling out utterly useless advice (call the USDA, inflate your tires to knock down the price of gas, whatever), Obama runs around questioning his critics’ patriotism.

 “There is no shortage of ideas to put people to work right now. What is needed is action on the part of Congress, a willingness to put the partisan games aside and say we’re going to do what’s right for the country, not what we think is going to score some political points for the next election,” Obama explained in Cannon Falls, Minn., in an event that the White House insisted had nothing to do with campaigning. “There is nothing that we’re facing that we can’t solve with some spirit of ‘America first,’” he added, inadvertently borrowing the slogan of 1930s isolationists and the presidential campaigns of Patrick Buchanan.

Motor Mouth Man has met his kryptonite: People actually listening to what he says and then lining his words up next to real world conditions. Talk is Obama’s chief weapon, and it backfires on him more often than it’s useful to him these days. At least he hasn’t exhorted any of his supports to “punish their enemies”…lately.