Want to talk economy? Obama talks Obama. When he visited the hard-hit Pennsylvania city of Allentown, it was all “I” with a smattering of “me” for good measure. “So from the moment I was sworn into office, I began taking a number of difficult steps to end this economic crisis. And by the way, can I just say I didn’t take these steps because they were popular or because they were particularly gratifying to me – they weren’t,” he told the crowd.
Every “I” should have been expected. The night of the election, NBC’s Chuck Todd was quick to call Obama “post-boomer,” meaning the president wasn’t really one of the 78 million Baby Boomers. “Basically a post-baby boomer has just won the presidency. I've had people argue with me, well, technically Obama was right there at the tail end of the Baby Boomer,” he told election viewers.
Todd was confused by the youngish attitudes and alleged tech savvy of the new president and grouped him with Gen. X. But Obama is a boomer, just as Bill Clinton before him. They share the same love of the crowd (though hopefully not Bill’s up-close-and-personal way of expressing it). The late comedian George Carlin described it perfectly, calling boomers (us!) “whiny, narcissistic, self-indulgent people with a simple philosophy: ‘Give me it. It's mine. Give me that. It's mine.’”
It’s like Carlin knew Obama personally. The president whines at the simplest affront, builds enemies lists of critical media and talks about himself like he was writing his third autobiography in real time. Every major action in the past year has been part of a continuous string of “gimmes.” Give me control of health care. Give me control of the auto industry. Give me control of Wall Street and lots more.
It’s an extreme form of the classic Democratic give-and-take strategy. We give. They take. But there’s only so much giving the voting and taxpaying public is willing to tolerate. The wiser the voters get to Obama’s agenda, the more his poll numbers drop. It’s a boomer bust cycle.
But November is coming and with it, a partial day of reckoning. Right now, the opposition is growing – whether they are classic conservatives, tea partiers, rabid independents or disaffected Democrats.
Come Election Day, no matter how many times he talks about himself, Obama only gets one vote.
Researcher Katie Bell contributed to this piece.