“Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…”. In this case, the tale would begin about a Presidential campaign that promised “hope” and “change”. Change from the tired old Washington politics. But more and more I’m feeling like one of millions of “Gilligan’s”, stranded on an island after what was supposed to be a three-hour cruise. Vice President Joe Biden as the hapless Skipper, and our own President as Thurston Howell III, the pompous super-wealthy aristocrat played wonderfully by Jim Backus, with the exaggerated, diminutive, nasal drawl. Removed, always, from the discomforts suffered by the rest of the cast-aways.
Look, I don’t expect the President and First Lady to be staying at a Motel 6 when they vacation, and we have all come to accept the extraordinary cost associated with keeping the couple safe when they travel. Still, a little humility goes a long way. At a time when Obama could use a little bump in the popularity poll, what a tremendous gesture it would be for them to scale back a little bit, you know, like the rest of us are having to do. Not surprisingly, as the public mulls over the latest economic news, the worst month for real estate in 15 years, rising unemployment and foreclosures, news of Michelle Obama flying a $12,000.00 per hour aircraft to Spain and back does not sit well. The Martha’s Vineyard trip is awash in stories of excess. Fifty grand for a rental? Again, whether it is taxpayers money or their own, the emblematic disconnect from the rest of us, from the President who promised “change” and “not to rest” until certain goals were achieved, is palpable.
Even now, Joe Biden, just in New Hampshire, continues to insist we are on “the right track”. Oh…I think we’re on a track, alright. Tied to a train track, perhaps. The Administration continues to refer to the “Summer of Recovery”. Maybe the rest of us just misread the meaning here. We were thinking “recovery” in terms of something getting better. Healing…returning to normal. Instead, they may be thinking of “recovery” in terms of hauling up the wrecked hull of the USS American Economy from the Marianna Trench. There’s a difference between a rescue mission and a recovery mission. We may be past rescue.
Early on I thought it odd how easily the Obama’s settled into the High Life. It is one thing to carry oneself well in heeled company, but there was always a smarminess about them, at least to me. All the accoutrements fit too well…too easily.
Even some feigned discomfort would have gone a long way. A little clumsiness here, a little aloof over there, a signal now and then to the public that you’re a regular guy and you want to keep sight of that.
But there’s an emperor-type vibe that is unsettling. It would have been good advice to the President, I believe, to make an overt attempt during his tenure over these perilous economic times, to “keep it real”. An occasional foray into some inner-city neighborhoods, where the plight that the Democrats love to pander to actually lives, would be a good place to start. Our President likes the speech circuit though and finds it hard to get out of campaign-mode, or blame-mode. Innovative solutions put forth in comprehensive terms are hard to come by.
The game plan now seems to be to continue to insist that reality is just our imagination, We’re on the road to recovery, afterall. Let’s just hope that the road is in better shape than most of the highways and bridges in this country. Or are we on the “right track”. Jeez…come to think of it, they don’t even know if we’re in a car or on a train. Not a comforting sign.