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Obama Democrats Routed (Again) by GOP WMDs -" Weapons of Media Destruction

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By Robert S. Becker July 26, "10

The Shirley Sherrod "politics of panic" indignity dramatizes my provocations, recast from last week:

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Why is this energetic, veteran White House repeatedly shellacked in the message-framing wars by overtly deceitful Republicans? Why can't the president command the public forum let alone connect to Main Street, pass legislation a majority favors, leveragehis own huge '08 constituency, and countermand ambushes bythe likes of Sarah Palin?

Just what the wavering Obama government needed: another train wreck week of bad news, with bad messaging compounding bad long-term framing (terms from George Lakoff). So little about real programs or solutions, so much about personal failings especially reactive, panicky leadership. The Sherrod fiasco is, alas, no anomaly, reinforcing the question no administration can long endure, "who, if anyone, is in charge"?

Certainly, the Sherrod blunder provides jaw-dropping proof this White House remains a sitting duck for in-your-face, rightwing mugging, even from notorious dirty tricksters. What is it about Mark Twain's quip WH officials don't get, "A lie can make it half way around the world before the truth has time to put its boots on"? Had Ag officials demanded six hours of due diligence, a demoralizing humiliation could have become a PR bonanza, broadcasting how the predatory the vast, ultra-right smear machine works. Instead, self-immolation.

By the weekend a second blunder, wider in scope, emerged when the president underwhelmed Netroots by talking empty bromides. Here's the perfect audience, progressives dying to re-embrace a bafflingly anemic president, and he blew it.

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No Inspiration, No Beef, No Advance

1) Iraqi combat missions, declared the president, will end in August [a ruse, per McClatchy, as hordes of State Dept. mercenaries will permanently replace G.I.s].

2) Distorting the Midterm as if only GOP policies "got us into the mess" [progressives and centrists blame Democrats for today's jobless non-recovery, especially as it worsens].

3) "Change is hard," he lectured, but activists should "keep making your voices heard" [really, facing contempt from WH chief of staff, absent one major progressive win?].

4) "America is moving forward" and "consider what we've accomplished" [splashy gestures and enormous corporate subsidies do not equal systemic reform or moving forward, not for the jobless and foreclosed].

5) "Keep up the fight" [most insulting of all, considering this WH hates risk and confrontation; progressives fight; this WH slights.]

Adding to this week's tragedy: genuine energy/climate change got dumped, proving this party can't parlay the nation's worse environmental disaster into Tea Party-like protests. Citizens alone can't "keep up the fight" when the president and senators desert the field of battle, refusing to sting scoundrels. When did this WH fight for the public option, or medical cost restraints, or fixing "too big too fail"? Or end deep-water drilling, not just in the Gulf? Or admit Afghanistan is lost, leaving only the timing of our concession open?

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Willful Denial on Both Sides

Liberals ridicule the right for palming off absurd delusions, on evolution, global warming, Obama the Muslim anti-American, or the Rapture. But doesn't willful denial plague this WH, too? Aside from Dems mismanaging the economy (what new jobs?) or vetoing all Defense Dept. cuts, the most compelling, global threats are off the table: energy exhaustion; planetary depletion; population explosion; or oligarchic concentrations of wealth, jeopardizing civil rights, democracy and the American dream. As with Bush, Obama politics distort reality.

We didn't need the Sherrod blunder to show Obama Democrats getting crushed not just in "message battles" but the entire PR war, with the predictable outcome: not dominating debate means losing public support. This WH has corralled 60 Senate votes more often than commanding a majority of voters, getting routinely slammed by hooligans Mark Twain termed "experienced, industrious, ambitious, and often quite picturesque liar(s)."

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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