Friday, April 24, 2009

Obama's Popular -- Explain It To Me

This is a request for assistance.

Obama's been President for about 100 days now, and he seems to be getting generally high marks. Real Clear Politics today talks about an interesting Gallup/USA Today poll. According to Real Clear Politics:
56% of Americans saying Obama is doing an "excellent" or "good job" as President while 20% say he is doing a "terrible" or "poor" job and 23% say the new President is doing "just OK."
From what I've seen elsewhere, this might put Obama's approval on the low side.
Explain, expound, please. As somebody who did not vote for Obama, wouldn't have even thought of voting for Obama, and who cannot at all fathom why he's popular, explain for me why he is. Mind you, i'm not trying to be mean, or snide, I sincerely don't comprehend his appeal, and will readily admit to being quite out of touch on this subject.

Bill Maher writes in the LA Times that "[t]he Republican base is behaving like a guy who just got dumped by his wife." Marc Ambinder writes in the Atlantic's blog that Obama is "almost single-handedly pulling the nation's confidence up by its tattered bootstraps." According to Mr. Ambinder "Independents remain firmly rooted in the Democratic garden. They're skittish about deficits, but they love Obama. They trust him, alone, of all the institutions of and figures in -- government."
Is this true? Are we talking about the same country?

I'm not kidding. I'd like to understand why. I'd like to hear what you think. I'm particuarly interested in hearing from independents, or people who were unsure of how to vote last time, but who are have been happy with the man so far.

Think of me as an alien arriving on planet Earth on a spaceship. Set me straight on why Obama's popular.


Anonymous said...

Your trouble is, like most conservatives, that you're hung up on nationalism and concepts of power politics that have been dead since at least 1945.

People want peace, social change and a safety net, and to move away from racism and the nation game. We are all people, more alike than not alike. President Obama gives us hope for some kind of common future.

Anonymous said...

Your trouble is, like most liberals, that you're hung up on a sales pitch with no idea of what you're buying.

We're paying through the nose for what? Why do you think bailing out Wall Street, banks, car companies, etc. is somehow going to help you? What is wrong with people wanting to take care of themselves and for others to do the same?

I wish someone would take what is going on and illustrate it in a way that puts it into perspective so that everyone would be able to comprehend it.

Just imagine a small town of 50 residents. Are all 50 responsible for the bakery going out of business? Are all 50 going to pay to keep the bakery open even though it has no customers?

Are the 50 residents supposed to take up a collection to support the 51st resident that was originally told couldn't live there?

All 50 are told that it costs $1 to visit the doctor. 45 pay the $1. 5 visit the doctor but can't pay. This means the 45 that did will have to pay $1.11 the next time they visit the doctor to make up for the 5. However now only 40 pay because they see the "benefit" that the 5 received. Then of course the 40 end up paying $1.25. Eventually 25 people are paying $2 and the other 25 people are paying $0. This is called Nationalism and all 50 are supposed to be happy with it. Damn! I forgot the 51st resident. It's going to cost the 25 residents $2.02.

Now, keep in mind that these 25 residents are probably the individuals that are employing the other 25, paying their wages, trying to keep the community alive. Since they're now paying $2.02 instead of $1.00 they can't afford to keep everyone employeed. Someone's got to go. You know that it won't be the 51st resident because it would be profiling, plus the fact that they'll work for half the amount that it's costing to employee you. Guess what. You're fired.

Now what? Ok, let's continue. You decide that you want to file for unemployment. The other 49 people that either own businesses or work in those businesses are going to have to take up another collection to continue giving you a paycheck even though you're not producing anything. Let's say that's another $1. This is only supposed to last for 6 months because we all expect that you will be gainfully employeed again in that time.

This could be difficult. You see, we're still paying $2.02 for the doctor and $1 for you're unemployment. Sales have actually gone down. We really don't have the money to pay you and we don't have the work for you to do. so, do we cut you off completely, put you in a job that won't do anything productive, or continue paying you to do nothing?

Crap, this is getting difficult. We're going to have to hire someone to keep track of all of this. I tell you what. We can hire you to keep track of this stuff.

Expenses are going up, taxes are going up, sales are going down, we're supporting someone that isn't even supposed to be here, we've expanded government to do a job that really doesn't need to be done. This is what is happening.

Back up a bit. Let the bakery close. The baker probably needs to find a different line of work anyways. Tell everyone that if they give so much as a smile to the 51st individual they're going to prison for a very long time. The 51st individual will go back home. Tell the 5 people that don't want to pay the $1 that they can't see the doctor unless the have a $1. This would be a job and insurance in the real world.

Is any of this sinking in?

Texas Gator Girl said...

wow. I just think he's popular b/c he's giving people what they want to hear for the most part. Also, I believe he is selling "idealism" - he speaks well, he looks nice, he jokes around, has the "white picket fence thing" going on...all popular ideals,don't you think? Just my non-political .02 on the matter...

Sterling A Minor said...

There is no doubt that the American people do like him. That is not a conspiracy of the media. For reasons why, I offer the following in no particular order.
1. He is thoughtful; his administration is competent.
2. By the time he left, the nation was sickened and embarressed by having George Bush as its president. Obama has taken many steps to set himself as the opposite of Mr. Bush. (Because so many Texas did not share the nation's dread of Bush, Texans do not understand this aspect of Obama's appeal.)
3. The population swings periodically in its substantive views; Ronald Reagan was the beneficiary/cause of a swing in 1980 that lasted (including Clinton) until the swing of which Obama was the beneficiary/cause.
4. Obama brings out confidence in people (which people like); this is the phenomenon that people on the far right snear at as the "Messiah" effect. Most people see this effect as being like that of FDR and JFK (and Churchill) rather than that of George Wallace or Huey Long.

The Moderator's question was a search for facts about why the President is so popular. It does not further the discussion to spew right wing cliches in response. Nor does it further a discussion to set as a "hypothetical" a situation that keeps adding as facts assumptions that may or may not be true, but that in any event a great number of people do not take as being true.That is the problem presented by the 50/51 residents hypothetical. Just because anonymous believes the assumptions in the described situation to be facts does not make them facts any more than my assumptions. [The assumptions that are not facts include (a) the reason the bakery went out of business have to do with the bakery owner, (b) the reason the bakery went out of business was not the result of the wrongful acts of one or more of the other 49, (c) the 51st was told she could not live there, but the law determined she could, and no one in the town would allow her to work, (d) that because 5 did not have to pay the doctor, there were 5 others who would unilaterally claim that right to themselves, even though it was not a right those 5 actually had, etc., etc.
Why do people on these blogs hide themselves behind the mask of "Anonymous" as I assume only cowards would do?

Anonymous said...

"Why do people on these blogs hide themselves behind the mask of "Anonymous" as I assume only cowards would do?"

"Cowards"? Do you really believe that bloggers are fearful of you? Actually, it is not worth the trouble of signing in.

Texas Gator Girl said...

it's not worth the time to sign in? Come on! It takes all of um, 2 seconds! Yet, you have the time to write pretty much an entire blog post yourself? nice....

Anonymous said...

Sadly enough, politics in America has deteriorated to RantRight and LabelLeft, leaving no room for moderates of any stripe. Best that group can hope for is like sailing, to get much of anywhere you want to go, tack right then left then right then left. If we could only replace the jurists as well...

Sterling A Minor said...

I see no one who posted got my wordplay on "assum[e]ptions" in the last two paragraphs. To spell it out: I am mocking myself in the last sentence, as I had said in the preceeding paragraph that assumptions are not facts. Note that the comments contained two "Anonymous" posters from opposite ideologies. Message: Lighten up!

hank_F_M said...

El Jefe

And why did the children follow the piper out of Hamlin?

Your problem, and mine, is we listen to what he has to say. Not a lot of substance, with bad assumptions if not bad facts.

And still; you hear him speak without paying attention to what he is saying and you want to get up and dance.

TrishG said...

People are too proud they made a mistake so they will make excuses for their candidate until even they weary of it. The faint cheerleading chants are still heard but as time moves on and this country gets more mired up in liberal agendas that serve only the elite, the party will be ending.

Making promises on a campaign for one year, then crying "I have a lot to do" won't cut it. A lie is a lie regardless of how a person parses it. Being elected doesn't absolve a person of not being held accountable.

TrishG said...

People are too proud they made a mistake so they will make excuses for their candidate until even they weary of it. The faint cheerleading chants are still heard but as time moves on and this country gets more mired up in liberal agendas that serve only the elite, the party will be ending.

Making promises on a campaign for one year, then crying "I have a lot to do" won't cut it. A lie is a lie regardless of how a person parses it. Being elected doesn't absolve a person of not being held accountable.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Thank you folks,

My own impression is that Texas Gator Girl pretty much nailed it...

I think, also, that Mr. Minor is pretty much correct on the lack of comprehension in most of Texas for how much of Blue State America felt about President Bush.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about "Anonymous", EJ, but I always have trouble with this Google Account filter. This Rhod from DC's.

Your answer to Obama's appeal is in the first comment. All political idealization is about peace of mind. Any variety of real or imagined evils can be rationalized as obstacles to it (racism, social change, etc.), and any version of organized power can be seen as its solution.

"Politics" in a civilization composed of people preoccupied with dangers is a civilization where human need and security drives everything. Because politics is about the distribution of wealth and power,its expansion depends upon the type of futures people imagine for themselves.

Liberalism and conservatism today are competing temperments, competing frames of mind, which might have some Darwinian links. I think you can add in, for liberalism, a certain kind of post-evolutionary, animal snobbery and classism...say, they regard themselves as Cro Magnons to our Neanderthal, but this is all crap. It just boosts the arrogance of the tribe.

If you can someday explain to everyone that peace of mind, like peace, isn't declared, it's achieved, then a lot of this leader-infatuation and silliness will disappear.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I would also enjoy knowing what frosh poli-sci textbook, or pamphlet, contained the theory that "nationalism and concepts of power politics..have been dead since at least 1945".

I could buy a date of 1973, when econotypes declared the end of easy Western post-war prosperity, but 1945?

I'm fascinated by its possibilities and applications. There has to be some dialectic that explains it; maybe some Frankfort School gibberish that would convince the questioner.

The proposition itself sounds like something a modern-day Ramsay MacDonald would prattle on about...or maybe even Obama.

Ms Edna said...

the glossy outer wrap that can sell us on a second-rate product,
which explains why so many aspiring politicians take refuge inside it.