Obama: He Knew He Was Right

Obama: He Knew He Was Right

By Maggie Gallagher - April 30, 2010

Anthony Trollope's Victorian novel "He Knew He Was Right" is a tragic tale of how much damage a good man can do to himself, his wife and his family, simply by refusing to accept input from those around him. No one is more intolerable than the guy who believes that he's always right. It's a mind-set that makes learning from experience almost impossible.

President Obama is a man whom Americans see as easy-going, likable, honest and straightforward, polls show.

But he is leading his party and our country into a tragicomic fall by his stubborn refusal to acknowledge, process or credit the point of view of those who disagree with him. Obama is patronizing and condescending in a way that only Harvard can explain or tolerate. (And I say that as a Yalie myself!)

Consider the interview Obama gave to The New York Times in which he shrugs off any suggestion that the American people might not like what he has done in office. Papa, he says, really does know best.

"I think the core decisions we've made have been the right ones," he said. "What I have not done as well as I would have liked to is to consistently communicate to the general public why we're making some of the decisions. Because we've been so rushed over the course of the last year and a half, just issue after issue and crisis after crisis, we haven't been as effective."

Yes, Mr. President, what we have here is a spectacular failure to communicate. But, I don't mean that you are not communicating with the American people.

The Democrats have transformed themselves -- under Obama's leadership -- into the party that knows they are right, and we are wrong. And you, Mr. President, communicate that opinion with extreme clarity.

With all due respect, Mr. President, the problem is that communication between you and the people appears to be entirely one-way.

Even The New York Times has to concede that Obama is losing steam, not on his personality or communication skills -- we still like the guy -- but on the issues. "A New York Times/CBS News poll this month showed majority or plurality disapproval of his handling of the economy, health care and the budget deficit," columnist John Harwood noted in the piece.

For the Democrats in Congress the situation is even worse. A new Gallup Poll shows fewer and fewer Americans are willing to self-identify as Democrats on polls. When Obama took office, Democrats outnumbered Republicans 52 percent to 39 percent. Today, as more independents flee the Obamacrat label, the parties are nearly evenly divided: 46 percent to 45 percent. In the "generic ballot" for congressional candidates, Republicans have pulled even with Democrats among registered voters.

Looking at individual races, the wave of revulsion at the politics of liberal condescension looks even more fearsome: In Democratic strongholds such as California, Wisconsin, New York, Oregon and Washington state, Democratic incumbents are all polling under 50 percent. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is polling under 40 percent. When Russ Feingold's Wisconsin seat is in play, you know you have a political tsunami on your hands.

And still the president fearlessly forges on, attempting to take on climate change, immigration and his pre-set agenda of issues, thumbing his handsome nose at what the vast "booboisie" thinks about and cares about. You'll like our health care plan, once we pass the bill, right?

Americans like our politicians principled. The main principle we like them to follow is: Care about what we want more than you care about what you want.

The spectacle of an ideologically driven liberalism, stripped by the hard realities of governing of its cloak of faux sheepish moderation and likable bispartisanship that candidate Obama was able to throw around his views, has Americans reaching for the power of the ballot box to restore the balance of power in Washington.

Washington has gotten so big and unwieldly, and so dominated by lobbyists and special deals, that there isn't much the people can do about it -- except every once in a while, rise up and throw the bums out.

Copyright 2010, Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher

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