Paul Greenberg

Another day, another jobs bill/economic stimulus. And another presidential tour to promote it.

This time our president and partisan-in-chief chose North Carolina for the setting, and who can blame him? Who wouldn't want to drive through its mountains and vistas these beautiful fall days -- instead of actually working out a compromise with those tiresome types in Congress? The kind who are always raising irritating questions, like whether the president's programs will actually work. Unlike those that have succeeded mainly in raising the country's unemployment rate to 9 percent or more.

No matter how many times his presidential prescriptions have failed to do much for the economy, Dr. Obama assures us that the same old approach (spend still more) will work this time -- if we'll just increase the dosage and suspend disbelief.

But in the ways that matter most, like jobs, the patient seems to have grown worse, not better, under his ministrations. Those higher and higher unemployment rates are starting to look like a fever chart, and not an assuring one.

Yet this president won't change course. Unlike a real economic innovator like Franklin Roosevelt. FDR had his disastrous programs, too, but was quick to abandon them when they collided with reality, not to mention the U.S. Constitution. Anybody remember the NRA, its Blue Eagle and all the price-fixing that went with it? FDR threw it all overboard when it proved unworkable, legally and every other way. Barack Obama only doubles down on failure.

But the country is beginning to catch on. As this president's falling approval rates indicate.

It strikes some of us as passing strange that Mr. Obama should now be campaigning in a part of the country and culture whose people he used to describe/deride as hopelessly bitter types. Their only response to hard times, he claimed at one point, is to "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

That kind of talk may have gone over big at a party for the president's big givers out in San Francisco, but it struck a lot of us here in the middle of the country as about as dumb as anything else our bicoastal intelligentsia believes.

Barack Obama doesn't get it. Not emotionally, anyway. He seems so busy analyzing us he may not understand us. There is a disconnecting distance, an emotional coolness, to his words when he puts us under his microscope. The man might score high on an IQ test, but emotional intelligence is something else.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.