Last month, at a CNBC-sponsored town hall meeting in Washington, President Barack Obama was forcefully questioned by Velma Hart, one of his supporters from the 2008 campaign. An African-American and the chief financial officer of AMVETS, a veterans' group, she made clear her disappointment with his performance as president.
"I'm a wife, I'm an American veteran, and I'm one of your middle-class Americans. And, quite frankly, I'm exhausted," she exclaimed. "I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now."
Exhausted and disappointed.
Many Americans feel this way right now. I know I do.
But we have been here before as a nation, and our leaders have turned to God for solace and guidance, and have reminded Americans to have faith and be faithful.
President Clinton, known for feeling voters' pain, immediately and publicly suggested to Obama after Hart's remarks that he listen to the voters.
Instead of going out and listening, Obama has shrunk farther back in his shell. Instead of listening to exhausted and disappointed voters, he has chosen to surround himself with sycophants who echo and support rather than question and challenge.
Instead of participating in backyard BBQs that might lead to fiery questions that smolder long after they are not really answered, Organizing for America -- a Democratic National Committee organization -- is producing carefully crafted infomercials.
Tuesday night's "town hall-style meeting at George Washington University," as Organizing for America billed it, included "folks who cast ballots for the very first time in 2008."
It included new voters, but showcased a performer, not a president.
Produced by Organizing for America, the 51-minute, 41-second stream, now available online, was staged and polished. It revealed a president who could answer the easy questions and stay on his talking points.
Sarah from Milwaukee, who cast her first ballot in what she called the "magical 2008 campaign," introduced Obama.
Hanging on to the hope that his "Hope" slogan will once again resonate, Obama's noted in his opening: "The only way this works is if hope defeats fear. ... We just finished the first quarter ... the future is going to be in your hands."
While opening up to questions may sound like a serious and thoughtful move, what followed were the kinds of softball questions that might have been lobbed by CNN's departing talk show host, Larry King.
"How best can citizens work to mitigate the effect of corporate money on elections?" James from California asked in an online submission.
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