If I were President Obama’s political team, the only hope I would harbor right now for Obama’s re-election would center on the President being able to hold the line with his base – which is to say, the national media. Based on the questions asked in yesterday’s press conference, it may be time for administration officials to start polishing their CVs for employment in the private sector. Obama fielded, by my count, three hostile questions on Solyndra, and one on the Fast and the Furious. Through it all, Obama continually attempted to return the conversation to his jobs bill which has literally zero hope of passing either house, and in fact is so doomed that it probably won’t even be brought to the floor, barring a major change in the political climate. Even this tactic failed to faze the press, who seemed to actually taunt the President over his inability to get anyone to care about his worthless jobs bill:
Q. And secondly, on your jobs bill, the American people are sick of games — and you mentioned games in your comments. They want results. Wouldn’t it be more productive to work with Republicans on a plan that you know could pass Congress as opposed to going around the country talking about your bill and singling out — calling out Republicans by name?
Q. My question has to do with your powers of persuasion. During the debt ceiling debate, you asked for the American public to call members of Congress and switchboards got jammed. You have done a similar thing while going around the country doing this. Talking to members of Congress, there’s not the same reaction; you’re not seeing — hearing about phones being jammed. Talking to one member of Congress, he told me there’s a disillusionment he’s concerned about with the public that maybe they just don’t believe anything can get done anyway. Are you worried about your own powers of persuasion, and maybe that the American public is not listening to you anymore?
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Anybody on Capitol Hill will say that there’s no chance that the American Jobs Act, in its current state, passes either House. And you’ve been out on the campaign trail banging away at them saying, pass this bill. And it begins, sir, to look like you’re campaigning, and like you’re following the Harry Truman model against the do-nothing Congress instead of negotiating.
Both the tone and the substance of these questions should be worrisome to the White House. More worrisome, to some extent, should be the follow-up coverage from the press. It is one thing to notice that Obama is completely disconnected from the country at large and has no effective political power – it is quite another for the media to actually call out Obama on his favorite tactic of attacking strawmen instead of actual Republicans. In this Associated Press piece (via The Transom) the AP took the unusual step, in a piece dripping with sarcasm, of calling out Obama for lying about Republicans in Congress, opening the bidding by noting that “In challening Republicans to get behind his jobs bill Thursday. . . The rhetoric in the president’s quick-moving press conference dodged some facts and left some evidence in the dust.”
In less than three short years, Obama has gone from the President most beloved of the American media since JFK into an object of scorn for the very same media. If he’s lost his last natural constituency this thoroughly, his re-election chances look very dim indeed.