There are times when I feel sorry for the Obama White House. No, not for the president’s typical complaints about the problems he “inherited” or the criticism he’s endured, but this time for the expectations his fellow partisans have the attacks they’ve unleashed when he’s failed to meet them. Democrats are behaving as if he really is the person they’ve portrayed him to be.
As if riding into town on his pink unicorn, he can wave his magic wand and make popular legislation that doesn’t sit well with the American people. To be sure, he enables such criticism by saying his biggest mistake was not doing a better job explaining his proposals.
A line caught me in an article on Al Franken’s latest temper tantrum. At least, this time, the former funny man is not venting his spleen on his ideological adversaries. This time, he’s taking one of Obama’s right-hand, er left-hand, men to task:
Democratic senators are frustrated that the White House hasn’t done more to win over the public on health care reform and other aspects of its ambitious agenda — and angry that, in the wake of Scott Brown’s win in the Massachusetts Senate race, the White House hasn’t done more to chart a course for getting a health care bill to the president’s desk.
In his public session with the senators Wednesday, Obama urged them to “finish the job” on health care but did not lay out a path for doing so. That uncertainty appeared to trigger Franken’s anger, and the sources in the room said he laid out his concerns much more directly than any senator did in the earlier public session.
The private session was set up in a panel format, with Axelrod joined at the front of the room by Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Democratic strategist Paul Begala.
Did you catch the same thing I caught? No, not about the directness of Franken’s laying out which, given Franken’s record, is probably a euphemism for tart-tongued attack. It was in the very first line of the quote–about Democrats frustrated that the White House hasn’t done more to win over public opinion.
This White House hasn’t done more to win over public opinion? What? Have they missed that infomercial on ABC? The HCAN ads? The president’s speeches and town hall meetings? His interviews with the news media? His flacks hitting the airwaves any chance they get?
This White House has done just about everything possible to win over public opinion. The only thing more he could have done was wave a magic wand to make the American people want the costly reforms the Democrats were proposing. The problem wasn’t the salesmanship; the problem simply put was that the public just didn’t want what the Administration was selling.
You can fault this Administration–and this president– for a lot of things, but for not doing enough to sell health care, well, that’s just ludicrous. Considering that they came within inches of passing legislation which was taking on public opposition faster than the Titanic took on water is some feat.
It’s not the White House Democrats should be blaming, it’s the idea. The American people just don’t want the federal government running our health care system.