No One Likes a Whiner

Carol Platt Liebau
Posted: Dec 12, 2011 1:29 PM
President Obama's appearance on "60 Minutes" last night was a disaster for him (and brought no glory to Steve Kroft, who apparently doesn't understand that you're supposed to ask follow ups when conducting an interview, even with a favored politician).

Sure, the President's strategy of blaming the Republicans for his own failure may win praise from pundits like Peter Beinart (who faults Obama only for the not-so-tiny detail of failing to "explain how exactly the Republicans created this mess").  The question is whether it's going to sell to the regular Americans who will be reminded of the President's own stated willingness to be "held accountable" for the state of the economy come election time.  

Nobody  likes a whiner, but that's just how the President sounds: Those big, bad Republicans (who held no power in Washington until this January) are the ones who are responsible for his failures.   The GOP ought to tell Americans that, hey, if we're that efficient when completely shut out of power, imagine how effectively we could fix our country's problems if you concentrated power in our hands!

The little riff about a Republican "calculation" to stand on the sidelines and let the economy deteriorate after his election is likewise pathetic -- especially coming from the guy who shut down Republican participation on the stimulus by telling John Boehner "I won."

Oh, and finally, there's just one other slight problem: The narrative President Obama wants to sell -- about fat cat Republican Wall Streeters -- just isn't so.  Noel Sheppard makes a point that every Republican candidate should take to heart: It was President Clinton who signed into law the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which deregulated credit default swaps, with the support of Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank.

Perhaps blaming Republicans is the only hope President Obama has left.  But he does it at the triple jeopardy of sounding like a whiner; conceding his own policies have been a failure; and implicitly admitting that he has been outsmarted by his political adversaries.  With all that, the reason we should elect him again is because . . . ?