An “Evolving Public Narrative” Created by the Far Right


Via Maha, Tapscott’s Copy Desk at DC Examiner informs us that the earth is moving under Barack Obama’s feet:

Did you feel it? The political ground shifting beneath President Barack Obama since his speech last week to Congress? It’s been  downhill since and I’m not referring mainly to the Dow Jones record-setting dive. The pivot point of the shift was the speech, or rather what the speech did to the evolving public narrative of Obama.

Who is the “public” in this “evolving public narrative”? Well, actually, it’s not the public at all. It’s Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Byron York of National Review Online, Evan Bayh (Blue Dog Democrat) in the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal, Charles Krauthammer, and no less than Mark Tapscott himself.

Yet, the actual, uh, you know, public still thinks quite highly of Pres. Obama, according to a new Newsweek poll:

Despite the tumbling economy, Barack Obama continues to enjoy a honeymoon with the American public in the face of the most trying crisis any newly inaugurated president has encountered since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The GOP, meanwhile, is viewed by a majority of Americans as the party of “no,” without a plan of its own to fix the economy, and even rank-and-file Republicans are concerned about the party’s direction, according to the first NEWSWEEK Poll taken since Obama assumed office.

“People give Obama credit for reaching out to Republicans, but they don’t see Republicans reciprocating,” says pollster Larry Hugick, whose firm conducted the survey. “A surprising number said bipartisanship is more important than getting things done.”

Overall, 58 percent of Americans surveyed approve of the job Obama is doing, while 26 percent disapprove and one in six (16 percent) has no opinion. Although his approval ratings are down from levels seen a few weeks ago in other polls, 72 percent of Americans still say they have a favorable opinion of Obama—a higher rating than he received in NEWSWEEK Polls during the presidential campaign last year. The president’s rating in this poll is consistent with estimates provided by other national media polls in the last week.

Back to Maha:

Many on the Right also are claiming that Obama owns the nation’s faltering economy, since he’s been POTUS for less than seven weeks and hasn’t fixed it yet. In particular, the Right is seizing the falling stock market as proof that Obama’s economic policies are already failing. Robert Reich explains why this is nonsense. See also Tom Petruno at the Los Angeles Times.

Of course, going back many years we see that righties always claim good economies as theirs and bad economies as belonging to Democrats. In rightie world, the “Reagan Recession” of 1981-1982, which began after St. Ronald of Blessed Memory took office, was Jimmy Carter’s fault. On the other hand, the strong economy of Bill Clinton’s second term was, of course, Saint Ronald’s doing, even though Reagan had been out of office for a decade.

Bob Herbert reminds us that “miracles take time.”

In the midst of the craziness, conservatives are busy trying to blame this epic economic catastrophe — a conflagration of their own making — on the new president. Forget Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush and George Herbert Hoover Bush and the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth and Phil Gramm and Newt Gingrich and all the rest. The right-wingers would have you believe this is Obama’s downturn.

The bear market would no doubt have magically turned around by now, and those failing geniuses at the helm of our flat-lined megacorporations would no doubt be busy manufacturing new profits and putting people back to work — if only Mr. Obama had solved the banking crisis, had lowered taxes on the rich, had refused to consider running up those giant deficits (a difficult thing to do at the same time that you are saving banks and lowering taxes), and had abandoned any inclination that he might have had to reform health care and make it a little easier for ordinary American kids to get a better education.

As the columnist Charles Krauthammer was kind enough to inform us: “The markets’ recent precipitous decline is a reaction not just to the absence of any plausible bank rescue plan, but also to the suspicion that Obama sees the continuing financial crisis as usefully creating the psychological conditions — the sense of crisis bordering on fear-itself panic — for enacting his ‘big-bang’ agenda to federalize and/or socialize health care, education and energy, the commanding heights of post-industrial society.”

That’s a more genteel version of the sentiment expressed a couple of weeks ago by the perpetually hysterical Alan Keyes, a Republican who was beaten by Mr. Obama in the Illinois Senate race in 2004. “Obama is a radical communist,” said Mr. Keyes, “and I think it is becoming clear. That is what I told people in Illinois, and now everybody realizes it’s true.”

I don’t know whether President Obama’s ultimate rescue plan for the financial industry will work. He is a thoughtful man running a thoughtful administration and the plan, a staggeringly complex and difficult work in progress, hasn’t been revealed yet.

What I know is that the renegade clowns who ruined this economy, the Republican right in alliance with big business and a fair number of feckless Democrats — all working in opposition to the interests of working families — have no credible basis for waging war against serious efforts to get us out of their mess.

Maybe the markets are down because demand has dried up, because many of the nation’s biggest firms have imploded and because Americans are losing their jobs and their homes by the millions. Maybe a dose of reality is in order, as opposed to the childish desire for yet another stock market bubble.

Maybe the nuns in grammar school were right when they counseled that patience is a virtue. The man has been president for six weeks.

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