A Q & A session President Obama participated in earlier today took a decidedly negative turn that I doubt our celebrity President was expecting:
WASHINGTON — It was billed as “Investing In America,” a live televised conversation between President Obama and American workers, students, business people and retirees on the state of the economy, a kind of Wall Street to Main Street reality check.
But it sounded like a therapy session for disillusioned Obama supporters.
In question after question in Monday’s one-hour session, which took place at the Newseum here and was televised on CNBC, Mr. Obama was confronted by people who said, in short, that they had expected more from him. People from Main Street wanted to know if the American dream still lived for them. People from Wall Street complained that he was treating them like a piñata, “whacking us with the stick,” in the words of a former law school classmate of Mr. Obama’s who now runs a hedge fund.
“I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for,” said the first questioner, an African-American woman who identified herself as a chief financial officer, a mother and a military veteran. “I’ve been told that I voted for a man who was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class, and I’m waiting, sir, I’m waiting. I still don’t feel it yet.”
A 30-year-old law school graduate, Ted Brassfield, told Mr. Obama he had hoped to pursue a career in public service — like the president — but could barely pay the interest on his student loans, let alone think of getting married or starting a family.
“I was really inspired by you and your campaign and the message you brought, and that inspiration is dying away,” Mr. Brassfield said, adding, “What I really want to know is: Is the American dream dead for me?”
And a third-generation business owner from Pennsylvania, Walter Allen, told Mr. Obama that his biggest challenge as an entrepreneur was a fearful, negative public. “How can you regain the political center?” Mr. Allen asked plaintively. “You’re losing the war of sound bites. You’re losing the media cycles.”
Here’s video of the full exchange (transcript at that same link) between Obama and the woman who said she was “exhausted” from defending him:
Jim Geraghty observes:
I suspect she’s as tired of “we’re moving in the right direction” as we are.
Maybe this will be a blip, but I wonder if this question will be seen as a highly symbolic moment, in that this African-American woman professional so clearly lays out the disappointment and frustration of those who thought, nearly two years into Obama’s presidency, that their lives would be better.
Problem is, though – and keep in mind I haven’t read a full transcript of the entire Q&A – how this woman and the two others quoted in the NYT piece seemed to expect government to do something for them, rather than suggest to the President that it would help all parties involved (except Democrat politicos, of course) if the government stopped taxing and penalizing to death everything that moves, and ceased mandating that employers offer health care coverage, a mandate that is going to – even in the short term – cause employers who will have trouble affording it to go with smaller health care coverage options that will mean less AND more expensive choices of both doctors and services for their employees, which means, no, you may not be able to keep your primary care doctor (one of the many lies the country was fed about ObamaCare). Not only that, but you can’t expect employers to en masse go gangbusters on hiring people when they know how much they’ll have to pay out in health care coverage expenses alone. For those who do hire a lot of people, guess who the rising costs of their health care coverage options are going to be passed along to? You.
The biggest question of Obama that needs to be asked is: President Obama, when will you get off of our backs? If you read his answers to the woman, you’ll see that it’s all about “what government has done for you” rather than government has gotten out of the way. It’s an answer that probably impressed the well-meaning woman and the others in the audience who were wondering where the “change” was that they were promised in 2008, but in reality it’s the wrong way to govern if you want a healthy, cranking economy, as Ed Morrissey reiterates:
She’s hardly alone in worrying about a return to the “hot dogs and beans” days for middle-class Americans, because many people have begun to realize that this is indeed the new reality under this administration’s economic policies. Apparently, that’s not the change for which she voted in 2008, but as many of us predicted, it’s the change Obamanomics delivers every time it has been tried. Instead of defending Obama, perhaps she should spend her time looking for alternatives in 2010.
Another piece of advice: When a candidate for ANY office promotes himself as, essentially, a miracle worker who can “heal the planet” and “fix our souls,” you should do one thing and one thing only: make sure he or she does NOT get elected to office. Number one, there’s only one healer and soul fixer out there, and it is not anyone of this earth. Secondly, there is no politician, Democrat or Republican, who can magically make our nation’s problems disappear. They can make them a little easier, though, and that’s by getting the government off our backs and out of our wallets. That’s the kind of change I hope is coming after November 2010 and November 2012.