Warm in New York

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The good news is that while Barack "the human Rorschach test" Obama can seem to be all things to all people, he can't be all things to all people. The bad news is that this won't stop him from trying. The worse (and most important) news is that his audience largely wishes someone to do just that -- but perhaps no longer Obama in particular, at least for now.

That's my reading of a story out of New York that has residents of the tri-state area around Gotham not in love with the "'new' Obama."

From his war on the banks -- the lifeblood of the metropolitan area economy -- to his health care reform which could cost taxpayers here over $1 billion, President Obama's policies have sent a strong message to the tri-state area that Washington doesn't care about the middle class.
Seeing predictions of political gold in these tea leaves, even Charles Schumer chimes in, but it's the Republican and a couple of man-on-the-street reactions that tell me where things really stand after the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts.
"No, I don't see any real relief coming from Barack Obama to the middle class. I think he is still on a very liberal agenda. He's mouthing some words which maybe will play in some states but his policies are devastating to New York," Rep. Peter King said.
So far so good.
Congressman King said one thing that would help taxpayers in our area is a cost of living adjustment on federal taxes that takes into account how expensive it is to live here.
Granted, talk of repealing the income tax is a tad premature for now, especially in New York, and the high local cost of living is largely caused by local taxes and regulations that are not his bailiwick, but still... Why is King not proposing smaller government and a reduction in the tax rate for everyone? And why not throw the ball of high local living expenses back into the court where that game is being played? King could have done wonders for the political debate by mentioning that Barack Obama is not, alone, to blame for the problems of New York's middle class.
"If he's serious about the middle class there should be an allocation or adjustment made for people living in a high-income area, high-expense area, high cost of living area," the Republican from Long Island said.
No. He'd talk about reducing the size and scope of the federal government, rather than cooking up such a stop-gap measure or, worse, a new entitlement program -- as would you, Mr. King.

But politicians are a timid lot, and their backbones are no stiffer than the wind of public opinion. If you want to know why King, of the allegedly pro-business GOP isn't in the hunt for smaller government, just test that wind:
"Who wouldn't like to have some extra help in a place that's really expensive?" asked Tom Falcone of Queens.

"Everybody needs a little more money in their pocket. It would stimulate the economy," added John Forst of Brooklyn.
There is a huge difference between wanting "help" from the government and wanting to be left alone by it, and thus free to secure one's own welfare. People like Tom Falcone and John Forst will not elect better than a Peter King, a Charles Schumer, or a Barack Obama because they fundamentally agree with the principles behind the massive stimulus package and the government takeover of our bodies whose projected consequences just convulsed their counterparts in the Bay State.

But until the man on the street can see the essential similarity of the recent big government "bailouts," individual income confiscation, and a whole host of other government intrusions, he will keep typically selling his vote and being disappointed in what he gets for it.

This news article reminds me of the fable of the slow-boiled frog. I'd say that the water temperature remains on the warm side, and the frogs mostly comfortable.

-- CAV


Mike said...

That's amazing -- I just said virtually the same thing in my blog post last week:

"Discomfort can lay low even those in high places. President Obama is a social metaphysician; his reality is shaped by how he thinks people feel about him. After one year in office, he has accomplished little, alienated his base, strengthened his opposition, squandered an unprecedented media coverage advantage, and spent as much as his predecessor did in any three years combined. If Obama were a man of principle, he would bear the discomfort and move forward with ideological clarity. True, his ideology is far-left statism, and it would ruin countless American lives and shred liberty to its very entrails, but he could at least then be pleasing his base and providing the Hope and Change he advertised in 2008. There would be no question about what he went to Washington to do, how he did it, and what resulted. But Obama was mentally weak, and caved in to his social metaphysical discomfort. He tried to be all things to all people, and he has failed to take ownership of the job he asked for by repeatedly offering the excuse that he inherited the mess. The Republicans claimed that Obama's presidency would be Carter's second term, but they were wrong: instead, it has been George W. Bush's third."

Grant said...

Yep. The moment Obama fires back with "the problem with living in New York City is it's high standard of living, not that it's tough to live up to it", King, Falcone, and Forst will fold like cheap suits.

Gus Van Horn said...


"The Republicans claimed that Obama's presidency would be Carter's second term, but they were wrong: instead, it has been George W. Bush's third."


RE: Your blog. Have you a link? I'm swamped and can't quickly find what you posted. (But I did see a long and interesting post on poker that I'll come back to later on...)


They might, but if they did, they'd get Pelosi-canned in the next election.


Mike said...

No problemo: http://michaelbahr.blogspot.com/2010/01/assessing-discomfort.html

It was last week, so it had scrolled off the blog front.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks, Mike. Still slowly establishing and adjusting a new routine, I've had far less time to follow blogs lately -- to the point that I feel almost like I'm not even following my own sometimes!