Friday, January 15, 2010
column nails it that Obama's historic drop in popularity is due to Obama's trying to push a too-left agenda.
What Krauthammer doesn't point out that Obama was able to win election because he kept that from the American people. Obama was able to frame his campaign message in a way that appealed to more than just the 20% or so of the public who considers themselves liberal.
Most people can rally around a message of 'keeping America safe', 'restoring America's prestige in the world', 'fixing the economy', 'helping Americans advance to retirement' and so on... and those are all themes that liberals and conservatives can each easily take as their own.
The devil is in the details, in this case, the specific programs to accomplish those goals. A liberal and a conservative are going to have very different approaches to rebuilding the economy, to keeping America safe and so on.
And the disconnect for Obama is that while a good chunk of America wants the overall goal, they have no interest in accomplishing it the way Obama wants. They don't agree that fixing the economy involves multi-billion bailouts of banks and automakers. They don't believe improving health care should be done through a government takeover of the health care system.
The longer a politician is able to avoid the specifics, the longer he will be able to keep talking in terms that appeal across the political spectrum. Obama was never forced to talk specifics and he took advantage of that to win. But as Krauthammer points out, a President has to act and this is where Obama was finally forced to show his hand... a hand that America is rejecting pretty consistently across the board.