President Obama STILL doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand why voters in the Bay State and elsewhere are disappointed with his administration. Obama blames it on "communication problems".
In an excellent interview with Big Ed over at MSNBC, Arianna Huffington points out the folly of this. Arianna notes that Obama has been communicating non-stop since his election and that it is the SUBSTANCE of what he is doing that has the voters upset.
Howard Dean also is spot on in his analysis of Obama’s woes. Dean, on the Rachel Maddow show, said:
"If you want to win, you actually can’t sort of move to the middle and become a Republican. You’ve got to stand up and stand for the things that you got elected on and that the Democratic Party believes in and we haven’t seen that in the healthcare bill and I think that’s part of the problem."
Exactly right. Here’s what Obama and the Democrats have to do to, in Arianna’s phrase, "course correct":
1. Get rid of Rahm Emanuel. He was a disaster as a strategist for Dems in 1994 and he’s been a disaster thusfar (remember the move to get Jud Gregg, of all people, as the Commerce Secretary?);
2. Get rid of Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. The two guys who were instrumental in creating the financial-economic meltdown are now Obama’s chief economic advisors. Dump them pronto and hire a combination of Paul Volcker, Joe Stiglitz or James Galbraith instead.
3. Dump the fake "insurance reform" Senate bill. It’s a Frankenstein monster and the voters hate it. Instead, extend medicare to the population in phases. First phase, everyone after age 45 gets medicare. Simple, efficient, easy for voters to understand and YES, economical.
4. Dump the Republican Robert Gates over at the Defense Department and replace him with a Democrat willing to cut back (not escalate) wars abroad and reduce the defense department budget. Someone like former 4-star general Wes Clark.
5. Bring Howard Dean back into the fold in a high capacity job. He’d be an excellent choice to replace Rahm. He understands voters and how to win elections AND he understands health care reform.
6. "It’s the economy, stupid." After firing Geithner and Summers, hit the ground running with massive public works projects to create jobs immediately. It’s the only way to do that, FDR understood that.
7. Instead of coddling the banks and Wall St., attack their excesses. We need real financial reform. Appoint Elizabeth Warren to tackle these problems.
This is not a difficult agenda AND the man who ran as an agent of change should have begun implementing it a year ago.
Unfortunately, I have zero faith that Obama will course correct and carry out the above agenda. Obama looks into mirrors to preen himself, not for introspection. He’s a died-in-the-wool DLCer; a true Rockefeller Republican (handouts to Wall St. and banks, nothing for Main Street; expansionist, American empire abroad with lots of money for the military-industrial complex).
Drew Westen, in a hard-hitting article on Obama, notes that Obama never calls himself a Democrat and has never defined what that means:
The President’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge that we have a two-party system, his insistence on making destructive concessions to the same party voters he had sent packing twice in a row in the name of "bipartisanship," and his refusal ever to utter the words "I am a Democrat" and to articulate what that means, are not among his virtues. We have competing ideas in a democracy — and hence competing parties — for a reason. To paper them over and pretend they do not exist, particularly when the ideology of one of the parties has proven so devastating to the lives of everyday Americans, is not a virtue. It is an abdication of responsibility.
…The White House just couldn’t seem to "get" that the American people could see that they were constantly coming down on the side of the same bankers who were foreclosing people’s homes and shutting off the credit to small business owners, when they should have been helping the people whose homes were being foreclosed and the small businesses that were trying to stay afloat because of the recklessness of banks that were now starving them. Americans were tired of hearing Obama "exhort" bankers and speculators to play nice as they collected their record bonuses for a heckuva job in 2009. It took him a year to float the idea of making them pay for a fraction of the damage they had done, and at this point, few Americans have any faith that a tax on big banks will ever become law or that the costs won’t just be passed on to them in new fees.
The White House has squandered the greatest opportunity to change both the country and the political landscape since Ronald Reagan.
The heading of Westen’s article is telling: "Obama Finally gets his victory for bipartisanship." Yup, the WH dude who keeps calling for bipartisanship actually got a Republican elected. Nice going, Team Obama.
That Obama sees his problems as communication-based and is unwilling and apparently unable to stand up for core Democratic pary values is telling. Real Democrats have to work around Obama and dump him in 2012. Elders in the Democratic Party will have to start pushing for an agenda like the one above against Obama’s wishes.
Here’s how Howard Dean put it:
People who blame others are losers. If you want to win elections you stop blaming and you get to work. And that’s what’s going to have to be done after this election…. I think the message has been sent that if we plan to do better than this in 2010, we’d better do better for the American people between now and next November.
Who better to lead true Democrats forward than Howard Dean?
That’s necessary because unfortunately, the Obama White House still doesn’t get it and the man sitting in the White House isn’t a Democrat from the Democratic side of the Democratic party.
So, we have to work around the poseur Democrat, implement a true progressive agenda, and dump Obama in 2012. He’s already proven he’s a liability not a leader.