Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama Bashing vs Broken Promises

I took a lot of flack from people yesterday and this morning for yesterday's post.  There are a couple of reasons for this:

First, I used a ploy that many people did not pick up on.  I set up two stereotypes the Dems maintain, the first about Republicans and the second about themselves.  I used these stereotypes to show "us" (and by "us" I mean my fellow Democrats), that here we are, in control in D.C., and we not only are not "saving the day," but we are even participating in some villainous behavior. It was a set-up for Bob Herbert's article entitled, "They Still Don't Get It."   And by "they" he meant the "power elite," who, at the moment happen to be Democrats.

Some readers, however, thought I was making blanket factual claims about the Republican party.  Or Big Business.  Or both.

My favorite:  My Republican facebook friend Ann E.W. Stone said,

Sandy this blogger is bogus...weak and unsubstantiated conclusions..." 

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.  I told her, "Ann, the blogger is me."  

Just last week she apparently endorsed the same blogger by posting one of my blog posts on her facebook wall!   Well, maybe I shouldn't use the word endorse too casually.  Let's just say she found the article an interesting example of a Dem's disallusionment with the man she routinely refers to as POTUS.  I suggested she read yesterday's post more closely, and she would see that I was simply framing what Bob Herbert had to say against two common Democrat stereotypes.  She responded that she obviously was very tired!  It was late, but Ann is one of the most astute women I know.  So I'm thinking the problem was mine and not hers.

My grad school pal Elaine Needham chided me this way,

"Sandy, check your stats because the last time I checked it was not "big" business that is owned by Republicans. Rather Republicans are "small" business owners..."

Again, I parlayed with the fact that this was not held out to be fact.  It was simply a stereotype.  To which she replied, "Thanks, Sandy. It always helps to read the entire article:-)..."

I am tempted to point out that it is likely that both small business owners and big business majority shareholders may be overwhelmingly Republican.  Actually, I just did point it out, but if I were really going to make a point of it, I would have Googled it to find out whether it's in fact true, and I'm not going to do that now. 

The more important thing to stress, instead, is that my gimmick failed.  From this I learned that readers are tired, may not read far enough into the post to figure out what you're doing, or may just react from the gut to something they don't like, assuming the worst. 

The second type of "flack" I got for the article is from friends on the right who have mistaken my calls to Obama to step back, assess, regroup and return to his base as Obama bashing.  These friends are beginning to add me to mailing lists or send me links to the kind of off-base, picayune, spin-happy complaints about Obama behavior that people who are salivating at the idea of an Obama failure just feed upon. 

I need to make one thing perfectly clear. 

I am all over President Obama for broken promises that I perceive as hurting America's chances for change, but I am not Obama bashing.  There are broken promises, and then there is Obama-bashing.  I will never be into the latter.   He's our president.  And the main reason I'm all over the broken promises is because I fear he got to the White House and encountered a steep learning curve.   It appears to me that his has been a relatively easy political rise.  He was targeted by elders in his political environment who saw a brilliant, charismatic, ambitious politician, a rising star, and decided to give him a deserved boost up the ladder.  I imagine that had he had to scrape his way up, he might have been somewhat more prepared for what awaited him on the Hill.

But our President is a really smart man.  I want to believe that if enough chatter focuses on his campaign promises and the disallusion of his base, he will regroup.  Whether he regroups, like the Republican pundits are saying Massachusetts should teach him, to become "more centrist" (which I would read as a fall back to the same old beltway ways), or whether he returns to his campaign strengths and reinvigorates his base, is yet to be seen.

But he is my President, and yours, and I have not given up hope for change.

So, my apologies to all those whom I threw for a loop, and who then punished me for it.  I learned a lesson.  And my thanks to my friend/dentist David Weiss, whose statement about the power of the independent middle rings true to me:

"..wrestled w this. best i could come w is the community that the ends of the spectrum are comfortable w ...
 lefties think success is possible w the community at large, inclusion.....righties feels that resources are dwindling and feel a necessity to hoard, not share; "conserve"... the independent middle gets a buffet of strategies and none of the blame.

both extremes wish success for themselves, families, then things get hinky."

And especially to my friend Mike Altman, who had only this to say,


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