Why is Obama on a bus tour in Iowa?
Can’t be to accomplish a visible political objective. His visit is completely unconnected with organized meme propagation. There is no rallying message — simple or otherwise. No surrogates reinforce key offensive points in trad media, blogs, cable, etc. It appears to be a random act of stunt choreography.
Obama first says America’s current mood is because we ‘hit a run of bad luck’. The ‘disappointing Arab Spring’ is the reason gas prices are high. Then the ‘Japanese tsunami’ hit supply chains around the world. Finally, ‘the Europeans’ screwed up their economies and that undercut the valiant U.S.
Oh cruel fate. If he wore a cardigan or ran into a killer rabbit he would be the Peanut Farmer. Recall no one ever denied the truth in Carter’s malaise diagnosis. It remains a landmark political catastrophe because it failed precisely as political theater. Presidents are judged as political actors. They embody the narrative of our times. “Stop the Evil Empire” for RWR. “Watch the NASDAQ” for Clinton. “Fear and Terror” for 43.
Obama tells us in August 2011 he’s just a victim. As are we.
Obama tries to sidestep Carterism by proclaiming nothing is wrong with America. Instead he says it’s our politics that are ‘broke’. As if the two are unrelated, disconnected. Or he uninvolved.
He says he is for country above party. But then asks Democrats to join him in fighting. For compromise.
What’s so striking? Obama’s *weird* detachment. He stands before us 3 years into his presidency as a third party blogger observing it all. He blames the Movement’s brinksmanship. He refuses to address how his failure to engage or defuse blatantly obvious Movement agendas 2009-2011 helped create today’s reality. His determination to remain above his own life renders his speech empty. (He also said it all almost verbatim in Michigan last week).
All he can offer are facts. For example, our deficit and debt are manageable. Certainly true. But we don’t elect presidents to recite facts. That’s for surrogates like Robert Reich et al. to say 4 times a day on MSNBC and for the re-tweeters. When a president utters a political fact it should be part of a call to arms. Or culmination of carefully prepared AgitProp. Akin to spiking in the end zone. Detonating TNT. Zing.
Obama’s Iowa visit is a backfire so far. Passive detachment and zero compelling narrative only magnify his still emerging Movement rivals. Say what one will about the Movement. It collectively spins larger than life narrative arcs – no matter how irrational they may seem to outsiders. They enroll and engage. Repeal Obamacare (Obama today in Iowa’s meme rebuttal? ‘I do care’). Slay the federal monster. Save America. Ideally suited for a hybrid demotic-oligarchical America. As noted earlier here, simple, compelling. Peace. Bread. Land. The Stab In The Back. Restore Rome. And so on.
What does Obama’s banner say? More importantly, where is it?
Non-Rightists have the *weird* invitation to join him on a bus trip to observe his own presidency. True, the post-Obama world is gestating even now. How is it that his approval ratings are as high as 39%?