Friday, August 7, 2009

Which way the big mo'?

The Obama administration came in with momentum but, as John Maxwell says, "Momentum can be your best friend or your worst enemy."

The President was elected by a country frustrated over the war in Iraq and the stall of the junk paper economy. In fact, the Democratic Party as a whole gained great momentum from these problems.

The Obama administration has developed a sober plan to extricate from Iraq. This is responsive to the national desire and should give the Democrats positive momentum.

On the economy, the jury is still out - the "stimulus" plans might have dulled some painful edges of the problems, but at a great cost with high potential for unintended consequences. And the Democratic Congress' efforts to build in all kinds of porky social engineering and interest group pay-offs didn't build positive momentum.

Now there's the health care debate. Apart from the policy specifics, the way the Dems are attacking critics brings the potential for very negative momentum. And this is a mess that the President can't blame on the abysmal Pelosi/Reid Congress -- Pres. Obama has inserted his own staff into this, on You Tube, no less.

It is hard to express the foolishness of this direction. Part of the national frustration with Iraq was bundled up with other questions about the national response to 9/11 -- including civil liberties concerns about The Patriot Act. For the Obama administration and Congress to call for what look like citizen informants and data bases of "enemies" is a jaw dropping choice to slam the brakes on positive momentum, do a donut, and hit the gas going the wrong way.

How might the Dems have used their "mandate mo" to build national unity and maintain positive momentum? Their biggest and most responsive moves have been on ending the action in Iraq. They might well have emphasized this and even played up a mini "peace dividend," showing how the end of that costly operation would release funds for domestic needs or even leaner, better focused counter-terror options.

Instead, they've launched into this health care boondoggle. While the issue of health care reform is always somewhere in the stack of stuff on any administration's desk, there is no widespread public call for a massive Federal intervention in health care. In fact, some of the reform models are about getting existing government programs fixed or rolled back. "Hillarycare" is still an epithet two administrations later. This whole initiative is the biggest momentum buster to come out of DC since -- well, since Pres. Bush lost the momentum of post-9/11 patriotism by not anticipating the insurgency in Iraq.

President Obama is a well packaged left winger, perfectly suited to a population that gets its "news" from internet and TV entertainment bites. (Just compare him to Pelosi, Reid et. al., who share his statist ideology but are poorly packaged and get low public marks in the polls). But just as the popularity of screen celebrities rises and falls very quickly, even this President is seeing his "numbers" fall, due in the main to this ham-handed attempt to foist an agenda with little popular mandate on the nation.

This is ironic, since "community organizers" are known for workmanlike coalition building, deal making and patient working of unresponsive systems. The Dems right now are acting less out of that model and more like media creations, desperately acting out to squeeze as much as possible from 15 minutes of fame.

15 minutes of fame means 15 minutes of momentum -- but the jokes and type casting that follow have a longer running mo of their own. Which is why Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State and not President. The one who parlayed her negative mo into his positive campaign mo, President Obama, needs to revisit his less showy community organizer skills and get to work -- his 15 minutes of celebrity mo are pretty much up.


The Archer of the Forest said...

I think if I were advising President Obama, I would tell him to fire his policy agenda spin doctors. He has been running around like chicken little yelling "sky is falling" because we haven't passed his health care reform package yet, and people just aren't buying it.

That prime time press conference he gave a few weeks back about it was dreadful to the point of being a complete PR disaster. He wouldn't or couldn't answer anyone's questions and kept drolling on in his long winded answers (if you could call them that), which made him look suspiciously like someone killing time until the hour was up.

The system needs work, yes, but the entire economy is not going to collapse overnight (despite his seeming protests to the contrary) if we actually debate the proposals and come up with something that might work instead of passing a bunch of half-baked schemes. This inflated cry of urgency is alienating people right and left.

TLF+ said...

Government grows in undesired ways and places by declaring emergencies, that's for sure.

I hope the "inflated cry of urgency" is alienating people, because the alternative is "collectivism," meaning the elite collects what it wants from the hapless mass of dutiful followers.

zif said...

All true, but incomplete. You forgot "Cap and Trade".
The impending colossal failure of Obama's programs aren't a problem for the left. In order to rule us, they must first bankrupt us. That makes failure a net good from that perspective. The first glimmerings of social violence in response, at the "town hall" meetings, indicate to me that a different outcome is in the works. This could get really ugly.

TLF+ said...

zif - that is a scary scenario. I'm not big into conspiracy theories and such, but the association of the Pres. with Ayers and some of the other radicals makes your point credible. Chaos is always good for those, left or right, who want to remove curbs on their power.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Scary but true. History tells the story well enough how Leftist Thugs who grab power destroy to get what they want. Stalin had millions killed to collectivize.

zif said...

TLF+: Scary for who? Khrushchev once told an American Diplomat (perhaps apocryphally ) that the USSR would be crazy to contemplate invasion of the US, given that on opening day of hunting season, 1 million men marched into the woods carrying high powered rifles in Pennsylvania alone.

Remember the campaign: "And it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," Obama said.

The community organizers are well aware of what portion of the political spectrum possesses the most firepower. Gun and ammunition sales spiked to record levels immediately after the election.The National guard is advertising for "internment/resettlement" specialists. The question now is will the obama and company get desperate enough as their schemes collapse to upset the apple cart before the American public is roused from their somnolency.

The voters were frustrated all right. But they wanted a break from republican cronyism, not a move to recreate National Socialism.
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." I fear that we may be approaching one of those times.