Thursday, January 19, 2012

Catch of the Day

Bill Clinton's critique of Barack Obama includes a complaint that Obama didn't sufficiently explain that bank bailouts for an unfortunate necessity because despite helping the undeserving rich they would also help everyone else. Andrew Sprung notes two instances in which Obama basically made that exact point, one in a 2008 presidential debate and one in an April 2009 speech.

It's just amazing how often it turns out that the president has actually said anything that someone says "the president should have said..." Granted, one can argue that the president didn't repeat it often enough, or didn't say it in a properly high-visibility environment (although a presidential debate is quite visible, in this case!). It's not just this president, or even just presidents; virtually every time I've ever heard someone argue that "Democrats should say..." it's something that I've heard Democratic pols say multiple times (or Republicans; I'm not aware of any partisan split on this).

Nice catch!


  1. Agreed, but Clinton is still right.

    Obama needed (and needs) to make this point and repeat it until people in general and not just close observers are aware.

    The financial crisis was truly terrifying, and Obama went for what would work. The more people hear this the more they remember how close to the precipice we were and increases sympathy for the decision even among those who disagree.

    Special bonus: Vivid reminders of bare knuckle moments in early 2009 drive home that the crisis was inherited.

  2. I don't recall (but could easily be fooling myself) Clinton laying into Bush all that often from 01-08. Granted, I take Bush being one of the worst presidents ever to be a demonstrated fact and others don't. But given that Clinton should agree with me on this, isn't that a big deal?

  3. Of course, Clinton's eloquence didn't get him out of every jam, and even the escape from the biggest jam didn't, as I recall, require smooth-talking. (Not nearly as much smooth-talking as the patter that got him into the jam in the first place.) Teachers addressing an attentive class don't get every point across - multiply that by some factor of ten to get an idea of how difficult is for a president to educate folks. Most people are not listening, and many of the ones who are wouldn't believe him if he said the sky was blue, and the rest are grumpy because they're unemployed or poor.

  4. Good catch.

    But you're missing the elephant.

    You catch works when it is republicans complaining. Or independents.

    But when it is Democrats complaining about Obama, the problem isnt' their ability to listen to the present. It is that the President has a very small voice, and it is shrinking.

    (somewhat like Bush post Katrina, actually. Even his body posture radiates fear and weakness)

    again, contra Clinton -- he never looked more confident (if contrite) after the impeachment. Obama instead is lookign weak, and DC loves to pick on weak presidents.

    Better to be feared than loved.


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