#619 – Dick Bernard: Election 2012 #44. Four years later, Barack Obama, the expense of "Citizenship"

UPDATE Sep. 8: If you wish to watch the President Obama speech, here’s a link provided by a friend.
Watching and listening to President Obama’s speech tonight at Charlotte I kept thinking back to one of the last campaign events we attended on October 13, 2008, at Macalester College in St. Paul MN.
The event was a campaign rally, and the featured guest was Michelle Obama. We were guests of the Paul and Sharon Miller family of Northfield, whose daughter Natalie had been chosen to introduce Michelle Obama at the rally.
As I recall, Natalie was chosen to introduce Michelle because of her family message: a need to do something about access to health insurance for all in this country. Natalie made her case well in the introduction of Michelle Obama at Macalester that day. The largely student audience was with her.
Health insurance reform with access for all was a top priority need.
Natalie’s parents had good reason to be very proud. She did a masterful job, far better than my attempts at photography that afternoon. Here are a few that more-or-less turned out that afternoon.
(click to enlarge.)

Natalie greets Michelle Obama as she comes to the podium October 13, 2008

The Millers and Grandma after the speech, October 13, 2008

Similarly, Michelle Obama was outstanding. Natalie watched the speech with the rest of us.

Michelle Obama October 13, 2008

Michelle Obama October 13, 2008, Macalester College St. Paul MN

Natalie and Sharon Miller, October 13, 2008

I don’t remember the specifics of Michelle’s message, but I do know that the general message to the students was “cell phones up”: “if you want Barack Obama to win, you have to get out and go to work”.
Cell phones went up that afternoon, and as we all know, people got to work, and President Obama won by a landslide.
It was a cooperative effort.
But it was not long after the election that I began to notice something that has dismayed me during Obama’s entire first term:
The ink had hardly dried on the newsprint of the reports on the 2008 election, and Obama’s friends were criticizing him for what he hadn’t done, or done enough of, for their particular issue.
It was if they had hired him to do their bidding: “don’t bother me for any effort on my own part. I have my own life to live.”
There were few “cell phones up” after the election, or in the subsequent, so far, 3 1/2 years.
My small e-mail list knows that I started noticing this attitude problem even before the President took office: “I voted for you, now it’s your problem. What are you going to do for ME?”
Passage of the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – in early 2010 was one of the signal accomplishments of any President and Congress in any time, but there was wailing and gnashing of teeth…even among Obama’s supporters: “too little”; “the wrong stuff in the bill”, etc., etc., etc.
In 2010, a good share of those people who elected Obama stayed home from the polls, with the resulting landslide of the angry tea party types in the 2010 election.
To me, the troubling fact of 2010 was solely that: Democrats did not vote.
Which leads to the present day:
I was at a meeting this evening and got home just in time to watch the entirety of President Obama’s speech.
I felt the speech was, from Obama’s rhetorical standards, good, but not great…
UNLESS one looked at the content of what the President was saying to every one of us.
As I translated what he was saying, I’d summarize it this way: “This Job Wasn’t, and This Election Won’t, Be Easy…I Need Your Help For the Long Haul.”
The cost of citizenship is far more than just voting for one person, then expecting him or her to do our heavy lifting.
Get on the court.
For other posts of a political nature at this blog, simply enter Election 2012 in the search box and click enter. Especially note yesterdays, here.
UPDATE: September 7, 6 a.m. My favorite blogger, Just Above Sunset, summarizes what was said about the most politically newsworthy item of the day, most every day. Here’s his summary of what was said about last night at the Democratic Convention.

1 reply
  1. Bruce Fisher
    Bruce Fisher says:

    Shortly after the ’08 election I noticed a change in attitude. There was a definable difference between campaign rhetoric and Obama policy. At first I ignored it, but I was always cognitive of it. During the summer of ’09, I became involved in the health care debate, working as a loyal foot soldier for the Obama attempt to pass universal health care. I knock on doors, worked parades, and fairs, talking to people about national health care, and getting petitions signed in support of the presidents attempt to get universal heath care. At that time, it seemed the discussion was vague in policy definition, but many hundreds of people, maybe over a thousand, I talked to saw the debate between some sort of government administered plan like Medicare and no change at all. It was my sense that the majority of those I talked to were for a government administered plan.
    Well, you know what happened. Single payer never made its way to the table, and the public option was taken off the table. Then Obama started talking about a public mandate, a proposal he scoffed at when Ms Clinton championed it in the ’08 primaries. Frankly, that was one of the reasons I supported BHO and worked diligently for his nomination.
    I believe it was the health care debate where the president began to loose his credibility with the liberal end of his base, which was the largest faction. It was the liberals that hit the streets working for single payer health care. When the rug was pulled out from under them, they started to question this president.
    Obama earlier this summer said his biggest mistake was absence of narrative connecting policy. It might not have been his biggest mistake, but I think he left his rhetoric at the door of the White House, leaving people who worked hard for him to get the nomination(a bloody fight), win the Presidency, confused and angry.
    These were good citizens involved in the democratic process. They did the heavy lifting for this president and he left them feeling like a chump.
    Now he wants them to exercise their citizenship and not just vote for him but get out their and do the heavy lifting. I think the attitude on the left is what a wise old person once said, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”.


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