Monday, February 09, 2009


For the clueless, let me explain that the headline is sarcasm. I really don't understand why so many in the press think the president is in any way increasing the gloom in America, or saying things we're not already thinking. Out here in the real world, we're doing just fine being gloomy and pessimistic on our own. My company just went through a round of layoffs; so did the company I worked for before I got this job. There are layoffs throughout my industry. People I know who aren't in my industry are experiencing layoffs or watching their 401(k)s crater or both. Obama is not harshing our mellow. We stopped being mellow a while ago.

But here's Politico's Roger Simon:

Obama: Scaring us straight

Barack Obama has a tough act to pull off. He must simultaneously petrify people and also restore their confidence. He must scare us to death and calm our fears.

He must convince the nation that the times are so dire we must carry out his bold plans immediately, and then he must persuade us to be patient and give his plans time to work.

Obama gave two shows Monday: a matinee in Elkhart, Ind., and an evening performance in Washington. He was calm and forceful at both. He made one joke at his town meeting in Elkhart about drinking beer and one joke at his news conference in Washington about how much Joe Biden talks (always good for a laugh).

But other than that, he was utterly serious. Make that grim....

Yeah, really? Good for him. The only people who find his tone in any way surprising are people like you, Simon.

I believe the Obama people are trying to create a frame around this, however. Here was Jake Tapper on ABC, in a pre-press-conference report (video link):

... I think there is an idea here of President Obama showing Washington, D.C., what's going on by taking the media to Elkhart, Indiana, where ... the unemployment rate is more than 15 percent.

Soledad O'Brien said something similar on CNN after the press conference -- that, in Obama's view, Washington doesn't get how serious this is and Washington needs to.

If Team Obama is spoon-feeding reporters this concept, that's good -- maybe some of them will actually consider the notion that they're out of touch, and the truth is understood by Joe Sixpack and a president ... a Democratic president this time. Which would be a surprising thing for the press to say -- and would also be the truth.

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