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Obama Playbook

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Message Richard Hirschhorn

Alright, it’s still early. The first act, “The First Hundred Days," still has a ways to go, but this show is already looking like a stinker. When the drama was still on the road, Obama’s appointments raised obvious questions. How does a leap backward to the Clinton era represent “change?" The key foreign policy posts were all going to hawks: people who had opposed Obama on his signature position.

Since then, those betting on a flop have been encouraged through his inept handling of the so-called “stimulus package.” Rather than hold out the tax cuts as a concession to bi-partisanship in a national emergency, the president couldn’t keep his powder dry, and instead bought into the conservative portion of the package before gaining any give-backs. A rookie mistake; it resurrects the “too young and inexperienced” question. Yet, these are mistakes one hopes can be outgrown.

For me, the debacle that culminated in Mr. Daschle’s withdrawing was disgraceful. Here, a man who ran on pledges to clean up Washington, and to liberate the public interest from influence peddling, was shown to be profoundly out of touch with his own rhetorically asserted values. Mr. Obama knew before forwarding these nominations that his candidates represented a contradiction to his platform. These facts didn’t register with the president, who, apparently, is looking down on events from quite the distance. Despite the mea culpa, his remarks were a return to that low-point of the nomination campaign, when going into PA: the “clinging” episode occurred.

Again, Mr. Obama’s behavior has lent credence to charges of elitism. In explaining why he thought putting forward a string of deadbeats would be just fine, the president declared that he had misapprehended how “ordinary” or “average” folks would react. Oh really?
Mr. President, what other kind of folks are there? Please advise! How do we get the impression that there are “two sets of rules,” except from the minds of people that think they are so “special” that rules don’t even apply? If we cannot stomach this rank hypocrisy, what will those that live in the “exceptional” universe accuse us of clinging to next? Honesty? Common decency?

Sometimes, it looks like you're about to be pulled down and sacked for a big loss. That’s when the great ones emerge from the clutches of disaster, scramble free, find the open receiver, and throw the pass that snatches victory from the jaws of defeat. We all have to “hope” this kid can pull it off. To get back on track, Mr. Obama needs this type of big play; a move that in a single stroke will both add an element to the “stimulus” that creates lotsa jobs right away, and re-establishes his lines of communication with the citizenry, insuring he will never again lose touch with “common” America.

Why not wire the clouds?

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