It was written by Christina Romer, who, as Chairwoman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, was instrumental in the Fiscal Stimulus that was implemented soon after Obama’s inauguration. In the article, she details the rationale behind the Stimulus package that had become a focal point of conservative ire and initiated battle cries to make the Obama administration a failure. Whether you agree or disagree with the stimulus is immaterial to this post, but Mrs. Romer brought up an interesting point in her article.
Finally, there’s little question that policy makers — myself included — should have worked harder to earn the public’s support for the act. One frustrating anomaly is that many of its individual components routinely received favorable reactions in polls, while the overall act was viewed negatively.
This pretty much summarizes the public perception of the entire Obama administration regardless of being rated #15 by historians in presidential rankings, even ahead of Ronald Reagan, after 18 months of his administration. Despite the President’s attempts to gain public support for his agenda and the legislation that ensued, much of it has received negative reactions. Any attempts to describe his major policies would get nothing but comments that he was being preachy, professorial or elitist from right wing pundits.
It was apparent from the start that there was a pragmatic agenda that was laid out and needed to be executed. At the top of that agenda was reducing our footprint in the Middle East and the health care reform that was promised in the 2008 elections. Although many would say that the economic meltdown that happened during the election should have thrown a wrench in that agenda the administration goals ambitiously continued to be pursued.
As a result, any attempts at explaining his Iraq War policies, the stimulus, the health care legislation, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection legislation were met with hyperbole, demagoguery, out of context sound bites and irrelevant non sequiturs. Since the 2008 elections, the term “red meat” became a mainstay of our election process and eventually of our legislative process. Critiques of the legislations that were drawn up included such insignificance as page counts and the weight of the paper that the bills were written on. Transparency became nothing more than an opportunity to take amateur pot shots at thoughtful and carefully negotiated policies.
Our election process has ceased to be a selection process. It has turned into mindless reality show that rivals American Idol. Americans no longer want to be led. They only want to be entertained.