The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

At Least We Know Bill Press’ Audience Isn’t Spoiled


From today’s Jolt:

Putting a rant like [Bill Press's declaration that Americans who are disappointed with Obama are spoiled] in front of Ed Morrissey is akin to the guy lobbing softballs during the home run derby: “We’re spoiled? If Bill Press’ argument holds water, then who spoiled us? If the answer is George W. Bush, then perhaps that means that liberals will shortly revise their estimations of his presidency as the last Golden Age . . . right? . . . It comes as no shock to hear a liberal talk about the American public as ‘children’ who need scolding. (It also doesn’t come as a shock to see that Bill Press doesn’t check the data on jobs before declaring that Obama has rescued them.) That’s the entire mindset of liberalism — that the masses can’t make their own decisions and need a cadre of elites to do it for them. That explains ObamaCare and every other social engineering project that we’ve seen since FDR, one of the people that Press claims couldn’t possibly govern the nation today if given the chance.”

My counter-intuitive thought of the day: Press is right! Although not the way he intends.

The problems facing America were exacerbated by government policies, but our current troubles required plenty of ordinary folks to make bad decisions: for the cash-strapped to buy houses they couldn’t afford; for millions to run up credit card debt and fail to accumulate much in savings; for large Wall Street banks to take astronomical risks and expect Uncle Sam to save them; for unions at domestic automakers to make outlandish demands and for the executives of those companies to concede to those demands. Time and again, those with bad judgment turned to Washington to save them from the consequences of their own actions. Sometime in the 1990s, Americans started thinking their fifteen minutes of fame were guaranteed by the Bill of Rights; around 2009, they became convinced “a bailout” was written in there, too.

Most of all, Americans turned to a guy who had never run anything but who could give a great, if cliché-ridden speech and expected him to have a magic wand. Colin Powell, Warren Buffett, Mort Zuckerman convinced themselves that it was perfectly normal for them to endorse and prefer the same candidate as Ted Kennedy, Van Jones and Markos Moulitsas. Almost everybody on the right looked at Obama in 2008 and saw a smooth-talking but unaccomplished guy with radical friends and two autobiographies. A significant number of Americans could be called spoiled children for being angry that the unifying messiah figure they voted for in 2008 never existed.

The Obama administration can turn to the disappointed public and paraphrase Animal House: “You messed up. You trusted us.”

I’m sure someone will interpret this as “blaming the victim.”

Tags: Barack Obama


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