Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finally The President Reacts

Today, finally, the President of the United States said something about the rich Republicans who have refused to talk about the deficit if the Democrats bring up taxing the very rich.

He remarked: the Republicans are fighting to keep deductions for corporate jets while asking middle class Americans to give up Medicare, and that's a difficult position to defend.

You think?

One of the psychological aspects of listening to a leader speak for us is the experience of hearing someone say something you have been thinking and you get a little rush of pleasure, endorphins get released in your brain .

It's an even bigger rush, if the leader says something better than you could have said it, or injects it with an emotional kick to which you can see others respond.

Churchill could do that, could say it better than you could, and with his understated rumble, he could inject a real kick into that idea of fighting them on the beaches, in fields and never surrendering. 

Lincoln, speaking in those complex clauses of the nineteenth century, could, with elevated phrasing make you understand you were involved in something really momentous here: we are engaged in a struggle to determine whether a nation conceived of the people, for the people and by the people shall perish from the earth. Simple, rhythmic, and full of gravitas. No fear of rhetoric soaring.

FDR could turn a phrase--the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.  Actually, that turned out not to be quite accurate, as it turned out we had a lot more to fear: Hitler, Emperor Tojo, Pearl Harbor, V-2 rockets. But FDR was talking about the economy, so he can be forgiven.

And Reagan--a one man disaster for the deficit and the economy--could still move people with a pithy phrase, and he could vilify with a smile. "The nine scariest words in the English language: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" Cute, effective, cutting. Wrong target. Wrong sentiment. But effective marketing of the big idea: Government, BAD.

Government is not, it turns out, the problem. It may not be the solution in every case, but Reagan tried to make it always the problem. And he had good writers to get him the marketing phrases, and he knew how to deliver a line.

President Obama has delivered a good speech now and then--at his first Democratic convention. The night he won the election, speaking  in that park in Chicago.  But since then, he has disappeared into the background.

But today, he came into focus again, and said what needed to be said.

Mitch McConnell and Orin Hatch came out, saying what we know Republicans swill ay: What we need is a constitutional amendment for balanced budgets.

Now there is a real timely, courageous idea.

Absolutely typical of these skunks who call themselves Republicans.

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