Obama's empathy gap

It has finally dawned on Barack Obama and his advisors that his cool, imperious, arrogant style, however effective it may have been when he was taking potshots at George W. Bush during the campaign, is a turn-off for the citizenry he is leading as president. It doesn't help that he and Michelle are so fond of living large while real unemployment is at 15 or 16 percent, and that his economic policies are making matters worse. But the fundamental problem is that his elitism, and the associated disdain for ordinary people, shows whenever he is off the carefully scripted teleprompter.

Sam Youngman of The Hill has penned a dryly hilarious piece about Obama's quest to find his "inner Clinton" and connect to voters with some degree of empathy:

President Obama told a small crowd in Fairfax, Va., on Monday that he would stand in the hot sun with them and "feel their pain." [snip]

Unlike former President Clinton, who famously felt the pain of voters during a recession, Obama has not connected emotionally with voters over their worries and fears. 

The journey into hilarity begins as Youngman quotes various Democrat Deep Thinkers  on the need to bridge the empathy gap, and convince voters that the arugula-loving president is an ordinary joe:

"The problem is he doesn't seem like he's always trying to be empathetic," said one Democratic strategist.

"They have been missing the need for the emotional connection people need in times like this - but they've needed it for two years," another Democratic strategist said.

Publicly, the White House rejects the idea that Obama's style has led to any disconnect with voters.

"Rooted in his hands-on experience working in Chicago communities confronting tough economic challenges, President Obama has a down-to-earth style that demonstrates to middle-class Americans that he's willing to take on special interests as he fights for the interests of working folks," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Some of the true believers deny that there is any problem with the man himself, but blame his advisors for not letting his natural self show through interacting with the unwashed masses who couldn't tell arugula from endive:

"He is good at this, and in the last few weeks, he's been very good in what he's been saying and in being out campaigning for the agenda," one Democrat said. "Unfortunately, up until the last couple of weeks, the White House has focused more on telling rather than showing.

"These are emotional issues; people want to see him."

I do hope that the White House puts Obama out among the people more in situations where he can be himself, without benefit of his teleprompter.We ahve reached the point where the manufactured image of the campaign no longer explains the real man. So people are anxious to see what makes him tick. When they find out, putting together the small signs he cannot help but reveal, it will not help his popularity.
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