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What's costing the president are three things: a laissez faire style of leadership that appears weak and removed to everyday Americans, a failure to articulate and defend any coherent ideological position on virtually anything, and a widespread perception that he cares more about special interests like bank, credit card, oil and coal, and health and pharmaceutical companies than he does about the people they are shafting.
Leadership, Obama Style
Consider the president's leadership style, which has now become clear: deliver a moving speech, move on, and when push comes to shove, leave it to others to decide what to do if there's a conflict, because if there's a conflict, he doesn't want to be anywhere near it.
We have seen the same pattern of pretty speeches followed by empty exhortations on issue after issue.
Like most Americans I talk to, when I see the president on television, I now change the channel the same way I did with Bush. With Bush, I couldn't stand his speeches because I knew he meant what he said. I knew he was going to follow through with one ignorant, dangerous, or misguided policy after another. With Obama, I can't stand them because I realize he doesn't mean what he says -- or if he does, he just doesn't have the fire in his belly to follow through. He can't seem to muster the passion to fight for any of what he believes in, whatever that is. He'd make a great queen -- his ceremonial addresses are magnificent -- but he prefers to fly Air Force One at 60,000 feet and "stay above the fray."
No Vision, No Message
The second problem relates to the first. The president just doesn't want to enunciate a progressive vision of where this country should be heading in the 21st century, particularly a progressive vision of government and its relation to business. He doesn't want to ruffle what he believes to be the feathers of the American people, to offer them a coherent, emotionally resonant, values-driven message -- starting with an alternative to Ronald Reagan's message that government is the problem and not the solution -- and to see if they might actually follow him.
The Politics of the Lowest Common Denominator
And capping off all of these aspects of the president's leadership style is his preference for the lowest common denominator. That means you don't really have to fight, you don't have to take anybody on, you don't take any risks. You just find what the public is so upset about that even the Republicans would stipulate to it if forced to (e.g., that excluding people from health care because they have "pre-existing conditions" is something we can't continue to tolerate) and build it into whatever plan the special interests can hammer out around it.
I don't honestly know what this president believes. But I believe if he doesn't figure it out soon, start enunciating it, and start fighting for it, he's not only going to give American families hungry for security a series of half-loaves where they could have had full ones, but he's going to set back the Democratic Party and the progressive movement by decades, because the average American is coming to believe that what they're seeing right now is "liberalism," and they don't like what they see. I don't, either.
What's they're seeing is weakness, waffling, and wandering through the wilderness without an ideological compass. That's a recipe for going nowhere fast -- but getting there by November.
"President Obama, for whom I voted because I believed he was the best choice available, is a profound disappointment. I now regard his campaign as a sly bait-and-switch operation, promising one thing and delivering another. Shame on me.
Equally surprising, he has become an insufferable bore. The grace notes and charm have vanished, with peevishness and petty spite his default emotions. His rhetorical gifts now serve his loathsome habit of fear-mongering.
"Time is running out," he says, over and again. He said it on health care, on the stimulus, in Copenhagen, on Iran.
Instead of provoking thought and inspiring ideas, the man hailed for his Ivy League nuance insists we stop thinking and do what he says. Now."
"The Republican Party murdered a census worker Sunday"
"The entire Republican Party has this man's blood on its hands. If you are a Republican, whether you actively participated in ginning up the insane hatred that claimed this man's life or merely sat by passively hoping to benefit from the slaughter that others incited, you are just as equally guilty.
Thanks to you, this man's children are orphans.
When Bill Sparkman was found hanged two months ago, with the word “Fed” written on his chest in marker, the Left was giddy in blaming Republicans, Michelle Malkin, Michelle Bachman, Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, teabaggers, yadda yadda yadda.
Andrew Sullivan cites "Southern populist terrorism, whipped up by the GOP and its Fox and talk radio cohorts" as the most likely culprit. MyDD uses the death to demand that "Conservatives must stop demonizing the census." A blogger at Crooks and Liars runs with the theme, arguing that the death is the inevitable result of Census "facts" being "scary things to those wingnuts." Richard Benjamin at Huffington Post, while acknowledging that it is just as likely Sparkman stumbled onto a meth lab as it is that he was killed by anti-government elements, nonetheless uses the death to "highlight the precarious struggles of the white working class and the brewing storm surrounding the 2010 Census."
Mark Kleiman writes: "Unless and until contrary facts emerge, I’m prepared to call this a terrorist incident, and to say that Glenn Beck very likely has Bill Sparkman’s blood on his tongue and lips." Seems to me that the people hoping beyond hope that Sparkman's death was political are the ones with blood on their tongues and lips.
I had the same thoughts, Dan. The left is smearing the Right, Beck, Bachmann, Rush, etc. blaming them for the death, just because he had FED written on his chest? The media was in a rush to call him a census worker, although he has three jobs. They had their agenda....
I think the manner of his body was too staged, made to be something it wasn't. My firsts thought was some sort of sexual situation. I don't think it is smearing anyone to wonder - it's not like it doesn't happen ALL the time. And the police, no doubt, are investigating that possibility.
People who think Riehl is smearing the guy have no problem with the Left smearing those on the Right, blaming them for this.
Heck, I even wondered if his cancer had returned, and he did this to himself. People do weird sh*t all the time. Nobody here knows this guy - so no one can know for sure what happened. ANYTHING is possible.
Hell, who would have believed the guy from Mama's and the Papa's was sleeping with his daughter for 10 years!
The post by jpc above is certainly a possible scenario. I agree a drug dealer would have just killed him. I'm obviously no expert, but I have seen enough freaky stuff in the news to question anything and everything.
Posted by: sarainitaly | Monday, September 28, 2009 at 06:17 AM
The Kentucky census worker found hanging from a tree with the word “fed” scrawled on his chest staged his death to look like a homicide so that his son could collect his life insurance, the authorities said Tuesday.
Bill Sparkman's death had raised concern that he was killed because of his work.
“We believe this was an intentional act,” said Trooper Don Trosper, a Kentucky State Police spokesman. “We believe the aim was to take his own life.”
Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend were found guilty last night of the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher, who was stabbed to death two years ago.
Knox, 22 and Raffaele Sollecito, 25, killed Kercher in an attack which ended with Sollecito taunting Kercher with one knife while Knox plunged another into her throat, the court heard during the trial.
Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found with a deep knife wound in the throat on the floor of her bedroom in the flat she shared with Knox and two young Italian women. She was a student at Leeds University and was spending a year at Perugia's university for foreigners when she was found murdered on 2 November 2007.
Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison while Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years. Knox was also found guilty of several other offences including criminal slander for pointing the finger of guilt at Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, 38, who ran a local bar. He later proved to have an alibi and was released after initially being arrested in connection with the murder.
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