Obama Persuades The Persuaded By Whining About Dem Voters

Remarking on the President's whine about not being appreciated by Dem voters, Steve Benen writes:

It probably won't surprise regular readers to learn that I find this pretty compelling. Regardless, it raises an opportunity to make a distinction between different kinds of center-left critics of the president. [. . .] I'd argue that if Glenn [Greenwald]'s contingent represents one group of the disaffected, the other two general groups of center-left critics are (2) those who believe the president's accomplishments have been inadequate; and (3) those who are struggling badly in this economy, and expected conditions to be better than they are under Obama.

For those in the "inadequate" camp, the president's pitch may or may not be persuasive, but I think it should be. [. . .] I continue to believe it's a record that's as impressive as anything we've seen in modern times. [. . .]

I, to say the least, don't think it a "record as impressive as anything we've seen in modern times." (But I'm voting for the Dems anyway.) More importantly, saying it is has persuaded no one but those already persuaded. Whining about people not agreeing with Benen's assessment is simply lousy politics. Whatever you think of the Democratic performance the past 2 years, can we not at least agree that whining from politicians is stupid politics? That the White House has chosen an absolutely idiotic strategy here? That they need to end this strategy immediately? Can I persuade anyone of that?

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    Persuade is a very well-chosen word (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 01:26:28 PM EST
    To the WH: persuade people, don't whine that they are not persuaded. The correct response to the reporters that ask you why people are not enthused down is: 'why should they be enthused? things are bad and we are not making fast enough progress.' or 'I'm not doing a good enough job making my case.' not 'The voters don't understand how good I'm doing and how hard it is'. (even though that might be perfectly true)

    Honestly, what's next, the time honored Dem tactic of the strongly worded letter demanding an apology from the voters?

    Oh, I can be persuaded, but I'm not Rahm. (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by rhbrandon on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 03:45:09 PM EST
    I'm just a DFH.

    Oddly (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 01:28:44 PM EST
    everyone (Benen, Drum) who is defending Obama on this is making a better argument than he is for working hard this election cycle.  For example, Benen:

    I suppose the pitch Democrats can make to these voters is: it can and will get worse if Republicans win, and would have been much worse had the GOP gotten its way. Obama has taken steps to get us on the right track, and conditions have slowly improved, but the surest way to stop the progress, the argument goes, is to hand the GOP power and encourage Republicans to pursue their discredited economic agenda.

    That's reasonable.  The GOP will destroy our economy, again.  It's the scariest consequence of their having any power.  That's not what Obama's message is though.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 01:35:28 PM EST
    I had a comment with my hairdresser the other day about this and she does not like Obama. I'm assuming she's conservative but I dont know that for sure. Anyway, I made the point to her that NO ONE was offering any solutions for the current state of affairs and she agreed. I mean the Dems certainly have not done a great job but what is the GOP offering? Nothing but a continuation of policies that already have been proven ineffective.

    People found this persuasive (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 01:46:16 PM EST
    in NH 2 years ago:

    "I have so many opportunities from this country and I just don't want to see us fall backwards as a nation. This is very personal for me. It's about our country, it's about our kids' futures, it's really about all of us together".

    I'm just sayin'...he has some cabinet members that know how to connect with the middle class.

    Need to end this strategy immediately? (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:06:45 PM EST

    It would have been more effective to shoot himself in both feet. In public. On camera. He might have generated some sympathy.

    It's not just lefties (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:10:31 PM EST
    I'm a center-left voter and these comments offend me.  The irony is that Obama is a HUGE whiner himself, so giving voters the old abusers' line of, "You got nowhere else to go," just doesn't fly with me. Sure I do - I have lots of choices, and in the end, it really won't matter that much.

    Odd attitude (5.00 / 8) (#28)
    by waldenpond on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 03:19:33 PM EST
    I find your lecture about politics odd (stereotypical yet odd).  No one is removed from any conversation because they choose not to vote... and is it just me or is the theory that some politician was actually ever interested in me and is now not going to robocall me easily proves wrong?  If I don't vote, my rep is not going to block me from 'town hall' calls? uh... no.

    I'm in CA so I am motivated to vote on propositions if not for any politicians.


    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 03:43:35 PM EST
    the stark political differences between Democrats and Republicans with President Clinton's 1998 impeachment and Bush v. Gore in 2000, given what subsequently happened to this country.

    Consider where this country may have been had there not been the splintering off of votes in Florida because of "he who shall not be named?"

    Likely no Iraq, maybe Afghanistan only, maybe ahead of the curve on a green economy.......this is so much bigger than the individual.


    In theory (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 03:57:31 PM EST
    You are correct.  In reality, however, with this crop of Dems with their corporate giveaways and continuation of Bush policies, not so much of a difference.

    An extremely odd attitude (4.67 / 9) (#29)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 03:30:32 PM EST
    As waldenpond puts it.  If I don't like what you're doing, I should vote for you anyway because you assure me you aren't as bad as the other guy? That's half-a$$ed logic and what the Dems are counting on.

    No good comes of excusing bad behavior because of "But, but... The other guy is worse!" (clutches pearls).  [or "Look over there!  It's Sarah Palin!]

    I heard it all in 2008.  Wake me when there's a better message.


    But (2.00 / 5) (#11)
    by squeaky on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:17:12 PM EST
    Everything Obama offends you.

    Really? (5.00 / 10) (#14)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:25:58 PM EST
    That's all you've got?

    Yes, incompetence and arrogance offend me.  You found me out.


    Add whining (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:42:53 AM EST
    Incompetence, arrogance, and whining offend me.  
    One of the most annoying thing children do is whine.  If I refused to let my children whine, why would I want to listen to President whine?  

    lol (none / 0) (#52)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:25:31 PM EST
    You have become what you apparently detest: a whiner.

    Beltway myopia (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Xclusionary Rule 4ever on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:22:12 PM EST
    I think that, inside the beltway, the Dems think they're kicking ass. Because DC is so conservative-entrenched. They're wrong. People are giving up on BO in droves.
    I for one have gone from rolling my eyes heavenward at BTD to agreeing with him. I too am tired of defending him.
    I'll chant yes-we-can again when he takes steps to repeal the PATRIOT Act or reform NAFTA.
    I think he has a vision of the electorate as mostly right-wing moderates that need to see him diss the left and make nice with the Tea Party.  I really think he is wrong about that. The country is ready for leadership - he needs to quit being so afraid to lose and fight for something (like DADT repeal or DREAM). If they don't take this moment to let-Obama-be-Obama, they will have trouble gathering momentum in 2012. There will be a Nader or some other problematic factor from our side. Ours being the F-ing retard side.

    Problem is (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by hookfan on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 03:31:44 PM EST
    Obama is being Obama. . .

    Can't help myself here (none / 0) (#33)
    by christinep on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 03:45:09 PM EST
    hookfan: And, I'm being me. And, you're being you. And,....

    And (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by hookfan on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 04:00:19 PM EST
    Democrats lose because Obama is being Obama. . .You lose, I lose, and the Country loses.

    Democrats lose (none / 0) (#45)
    by Politalkix on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 10:37:22 PM EST
    because Democrats are being Democrats.

    I wish (none / 0) (#53)
    by hookfan on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:04:09 PM EST
    they were being Democrats. I doubt very much they'd lose so often and so badly.

    When the Clinton tax rates get enacted (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:26:51 PM EST
    then the "modern times" claim can stretch past 1993. They haven't and thus, it is a silly claim imo.  

    The Democrats don't have to do anything (none / 0) (#27)
    by me only on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 03:16:35 PM EST
    for that to happen, on Jan 1st, 2011.

    Somehow I don't think that is a winning platform.


    Two quotes (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:29:19 PM EST
    I continue to believe it's a record that's as impressive as anything we've seen in modern times.
    Steve Benen

    ...can we not at least agree that whining from politicians is stupid politics? That the White House has chosen an absolutely idiotic strategy here? That they need to end this strategy immediately? Can I persuade anyone of that?

    I am persuaded, BTD. No problem there.

    It doesn't occur to Steve Benen that if the record were as impressive as he thinks it is, more people - particularly democrats - would be aware of it and no "whining" by the unrequited White House would be necessary. We would be clamoring to get to the polls.

    But as the lady said, I don't feel anything yet.

    Submission (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 04:29:57 PM EST
    According to Obama and his disciples"

    Democratic voters should submit to their leader President Obama and the Democratic Party's authority.

    And to think I thought Obama (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by kmblue on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 05:29:35 PM EST
    was just being stupid when he bashed the base at a fundraiser.

    What I thought was stupidity turns out to be a strategy?

    Boy, that gang is thick.

    The beatings will continue until morale improves.
    And they ain't kidding.

    Suggestion for a Dem Campaign song: (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by kmblue on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 05:30:07 PM EST
    "Whip It"

    Spelling alert, BTD (none / 0) (#3)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 01:34:45 PM EST
    Transposition in "persuades" in the post title.

    I rather like like (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by me only on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 01:37:28 PM EST
    I mean Obama isn't going to persuade anyone with this, but he might just presuade someone, maybe.  Sort of.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 01:40:31 PM EST
    This is what (none / 0) (#8)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 01:58:21 PM EST
    Obama & Biden should be saying every day:

    Keith Olbermann talked to the Economic Policy Institute's Heather McGhee about their group's study on the GOP's plan for the economy -- which Republicans claim would spur job growth by keeping the Bush Tax Cuts permanent and reducing spending to fiscal year 2008 levels. As their report shows, quite the opposite would occur, and in fact the "Pledge" would cost the economy 1.1 million jobs.

    I know we're all shocked here, since those Bush tax cuts worked out so well for most of us already, as Keith illustrates in this segment with some charts showing that happened to unemployment after those tax cuts were implemented.

    Yes - we already have the results of (none / 0) (#22)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:42:27 PM EST
    the experiment. How many net jobs were created in the last 10 years compared with the 10 before that? This should not be hard. Plus, people are already convinced.

    What usually happens with the baseball rookie? (none / 0) (#17)
    by christinep on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:30:50 PM EST
    If he had a reasonably good or good+ year (by the numbers) do the "fans" complain that he wasn't yet at his height? Maybe. Or do they look at the downpayment and look for improvement in the coming seasons? Maybe these are rhetorical questions...based upon my family and friends and sports. Thanks for the recognition of what has been accomplished...sort of like the teacher or parent or friend who starts the conversation with an affirmation of what good has been accomplished. Then, of course, there was the teacher I once had who complained that I didn't do A+ work (it was all about expectations, maybe.)  It IS an interesting psychological dilemma.

    Bad comparison (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:33:30 PM EST
    Presidents generally do the most in the first year in office.

    A rookie does his best in the middle of his career.


    A rookie (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:38:52 PM EST
    If he doesn't perform up to expectations, is generally sent down to the minors.

    Do they? (none / 0) (#23)
    by christinep on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:55:21 PM EST
    Do they do the most in their first year? I'm not so sure. My belief: I'd like to see the growth rate...in view of the downpayment/starter house/beginning/what-have-you. That is because the building economic wave of disaster quite obvious by the date of inauguration led me to think that the strong odds would be against any incoming President over four years, let alone two (especially one adulated by many as almost walking on water.)
    Don't get me wrong...your provocative pieces are more than accurate in many respects, BTD. Yet, the question of "expectations" -- a somewhat subjective test coupled with the nature of accomplishments per each viewer-- mirror more our own hopes and how or when we start. From my Slavic baseline skepticism at the outset then, I am surprised by the progress actually made. 'Just another way of perceiving things.

    Seriously? (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:36:37 PM EST
    Are we back to the "Wait and see." and "Give him time to develop" themes?

    People are desperate.  We don't have time for him to grow into the job.

    I guess experience should matter after all.


    Yes, experience matters (none / 0) (#24)
    by christinep on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:57:41 PM EST
    That is what I thought then and I think now.

    A rook hyped as more TALENTED than experienced (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Ellie on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 07:10:01 PM EST
    ... and whose handlers hustled him into a starting role on the basis of Hope He Got (a)Change(-Up) doesn't then get excused for being a "mere" rookie.

    Especially not when the particular rook muscled the proven heat-hurling Ace, league ERA winner and clear frontrunner for the Cy Young off the roster.

    The only interesting psychological dilemma in this hypothetical would be if the rookie was another eight year-old going up against Timmy the Spaz Lupus, who Coach Buttermaker not only insisted play in the championship game but got to hit in the cleanup position for the full nine.

    Otherwise, sucking because he's a rook is not a good explanation or an excuse. Sorry to quibble, but this is something important you're talking about.



    That wasn't the hypothesis (none / 0) (#41)
    by christinep on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 07:23:28 PM EST
    Noone said, at the outset, that "sucking" was involved. Only that a rookie was good and not great. If you want to posit your own hypothesis and answer it, I suppose that is ok.

    Just guessing, but I think her hypothesis ... (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Yman on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 08:10:02 PM EST
    ... is that the rookie sucked.

    Michael Jordan on rookies (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by nycstray on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 10:00:28 PM EST
    they need to earn it before they get the big contracts. so many don't pan out to their 'rookie worth' . . . .

    And that streaking on the field to smooch the dud (none / 0) (#46)
    by Ellie on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:33:04 AM EST
    ... doesn't improve the box score. I learned that the hard way in Little League and sadly, so did my Mom (and no one had to spend billions to provide the whole team with a "teaching moment".)

    Plus, at least I threw overhand and didn't cry at all (much.)


    Oh, and Ellie... (none / 0) (#42)
    by christinep on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 07:26:04 PM EST
    Excuse me, but I know full well the importance of the upcoming elections. (Trans: We don't know where each other is really coming from...but, as for me, when you grow up wanting economically, there is a teaching that accompanies that. Sometimes we learn differently. I respect that.)

    When you put it that way one can only wonder ... (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Ellie on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:38:59 AM EST
    ... WTF????

    as for me, when you grow up wanting economically, there is a teaching that accompanies that. Sometimes we learn differently. I respect that

    Oh, and Christine, if the rookie whines (none / 0) (#49)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:54:17 AM EST
    the fans are entirely unsympathetic.

    So your analogy entirely fails.  So does your pity ploy.


    Good point about "if the rookie whines" (none / 0) (#50)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:03:57 PM EST
    I'll stand by the analogy (that I lifted from Donald.)

    Addition (none / 0) (#51)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:12:22 PM EST
    CC: Surely, you have every right to read it as a pity ploy. It isn't...just sloppy characterization on my part. My point: I come from a long line of "buck up" "life has hard knocks" "work through it" etc. That just is; but, in the defensive atmosphere surrounding that in some venues, I only tried to allude to those approaches to life and politics. (The President seemed smoother of the same delivery in Madison based upon my reading this morning.) The "C'mon, we can't quit now...it's nowhere near perfect, so lets push forward toward what we committed to and analyze more later...." That is a hard message; but--for myself & others similarly situated, it can be a necessary message. I respect peoples' different opinions, as I said above.

    I come from tough folks, too (none / 0) (#54)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 03:59:46 PM EST
    who had to survive a lot.

    But Obama does not; don't fall for that.  Two parents with Ph.D.'s hardly bespeak lower economic class.  And when his mother was on food stamps, it was because she was in grad school -- and he was not there.  He was with very prosperous grandparents.  And, like his father, he did not work his way through college . . . although he must have hit some rough times to have to transfer so often.  Etc., etc.  

    Really, there is need for critical thinking rather than just retyping here all together too much of such stuff here.


    Critical thinking requires a lot of all of us (none / 0) (#55)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 07:14:15 PM EST
    And, yes, I think that the economic side of the President's youth was rather privileged (including the exclusive private school in Hawaii.) Other "privileged Presidents" included FDR and JFK...so, there is always hope that empathy exists OR is awakened (e.g., growing up mixed-race in America does add some dimension, I would think.)
    Seriously, CC, there are some commenters here--yourself included--who push hard and write well. But, in complete honesty, there is a choir/echo attitude here too. If I can acknowledge when I repeat (and I do), well...can't we all. We won't crack or fall apart. After all, we all can learn a bit from each other. And for some bravado on my part in keeping with the tenor of the blog: My "critical thinking" often matches and exceeds what you say you are looking for :)  (Once in awhile, we could even step out of our expected positions?)

    One (none / 0) (#19)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:34:54 PM EST
    thing keeps occurring to me whenever we are supposed to consider how relatively better off we are now than a few years ago:

    We are still at war in Afghanistan.
    Our people are dying there.
    We are still killing people there, civilians among them.
    We are supporting a corrupt government.
    We are spending two billion dollars a week.

    Obama's presentation about why we are doing this is vacuous imo.

    When our people are dying senselessly, it is difficult or impossible for me to light a candle on behalf of some other "accomplishment".

    BTD for WH political Director (none / 0) (#37)
    by pluege2 on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 05:10:19 PM EST
    obamadmin are so full of it, it is thoroughly depressing. They are far, far worse than expected (although it was always clear they would be awful).

    obama already achieved his greatest achievement - he got elected. After that he'll set the nation and humanity back immeasurably.