I think I’ve figured out Obama’s problem. Or, to be more clear, I have figured out why it’s not possible for him to be popular while he’s in office.
Obama is intellectual and academic in his approach to solving problems. This is a problem, but even worse he’s the same way about communicating his positions and announcing his policies.
In brief, he’s subtle and complex in his thoughts and actions.
If that sounds like a good thing, and you’re very confused right now, stay with me.
I was just looking at a Gallup poll talking about how Americans are looking to the GOP to get America back on track.
Read that again. I have time.
Basically, Obama walked into a smoldering wreck and did some extraordinary things.
Pulls the economy from the brink, and sets things back in motion
Kills Bin Laden
Cuts the deficit in half
Gets us out of Iraq
Passes sweeping healthcare reform that even many Republican voters are agreeing is working better than they anticipated
So now we’re looking at an all-time high in the stock market, the economy is coming back, we’re lined up to have the best holiday season in over a decade, and unemployment continues to fall.
All this, and the democrats just got ROFLstomped in the mid-terms.
Why is that?
It could have something to do with the fact that like 80% of the population is unhappy with our government, yet only like 20% of us voted. If those numbers ever have more than 50 percentage points between them it should flip a switch that automatically institutes two years of anarchy in preparation for a clean start if you ask me. It’s the preeminent sign of unhealth in a republic.
But setting that aside, the democrats got trounced.
Obama walked in and set the country back on its wheels in a way that, were it a Republican that did it—someone like Reagan or one of the Bushes—there’d be an iPhone app that maps all the statues of them.
Think about that. My conservative friends, I’m talking to you. Imagine Bush Jr. comes in like Obama did. Kills Osama. Cuts the deficit in half. Brings us home from Iraq. And requires everyone to have insurance like Gingrich proposed back in the 90’s, providing millions of kids and sick people with coverage that didn’t have it before.
He’d be a God. And not just for conservatives. Liberals would still be complaining about something I’m sure, but his approval rating would be massive on both sides of the spectrum.
But not so for Obama. He has the lowest approval rating of a President in a long time.
Why the mismatch?
I have the answer: Simplicity vs. Complexity.
After everything Obama has done, and being a strong progressive, I can’t tell you what Obama or his party are about. Not emotionally.
I can tell you intellectually. I can give a long complex answer about what he’s about. No problem. And that’s what he does.
But it’s snore-fodder. Nobody gives half a damn.
You know what a Republican in 2014 America would be saying if he had done what Obama did?
Holy shit. Best. President. Ever.
George Bush Jr. (the one in the alternate history above where he came in and did what Obama did) would walk up to the stage and say.
Everyone in the world wishes they had apple pie like America.
Game over. The country goes mad with adoration.
Meanwhile the Scandanavians are like, “Um, what just happened? Do they have a collective head injury?”
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Think about what Reagan is known for. Clarity. Simplicity.
Tear down this wall.
Well, that’s clear enough. Forceful. Assertive.
Obama gets up there for the last six years and instead says,
Well, it’s a complex issue…let me start with some background on how we got into this situation.
The GOP sweeps the midterms and nobody has any idea what Obama has done for the country.
America is simple, is what I’m saying. Me included, I’m disgusted to report.
I’d like to see some simple clarity coming from Obama as well. Not hedging. Not winning over consensus. Clarity. Leadership. Saying very clearly that his policies are best, and that doing the opposite would be bad.
He’s said this 1,000 times, I know. But he’s never said it. The elections have proven that.
That’s ultimately what will keep Obama from being popular while he’s president. Half of the country doesn’t like subtlety. They don’t like nuance. They want a simple us-and-them, apple pie, and ‘Merica message to come from their leader.
If I were feeling feisty I’d mention the likely overlap between those who think this way and those who don’t believe in evolution, or think Jesus is coming back in their lifetime, or who never change the channel from Fox News. Two of those numbers are like 50% of the population of the United States, by the way.
But that’s dismissive and misleading. The honest truth is that even I would like a simpler message from the President. Maybe it’s because I know it’s the only thing that will resonate with regular folks, but maybe it’s just needed at the moment.
Whatever the reason, the one thing that’s clear is that we’re not getting it, and Americans will prefer Republican options because they do speak with that type of conviction and simplicity.
“Over a cliff!”, they’ll say, and America will follow.
And during the trip to the canyon floor we’ll collectively look at each other and say,
That’s the kind of leader we are looking for!