Sunday, March 7, 2010

On Frank Rich today, Hope and Trust

the mess we created
...The admission that society...rests ultimately on man-made choices and decisions invites critical scrutiny, dissent and resistance: What has been done by humans can be undone by humans. No wonder that throughout the modern era, attempts were made and continue to be made to represent the grounds for the demands of power-holders as beyond human capacity. Zygmunt Bauman
Quote site I warn you the article is a tough one to read and tougher still, for me anyway, to fully understand.

Writing on a Frank Rich Column is a tough-row-to -hoe.
As always in this week's column, Mr. Rich makes good points but at times seems to refute himself.

At the beginning of the column Mr. Rich complains about “cheesy theatrics”, yet within the rest of the column are complaints about The President's failing narratives. I would answer that these days “cheesy narratives are what works with many. This is one way to visually “frame” the support for health care reform. Maybe learned from the previous masters of “framing” and word manipulation.

The column mentions the complaints of some that the President is over-exposed in the media. I ask; how else would you have the narrative put forth? On prime time television? How many would stop to watch it? Short sound bites or appearances on variety, late night, and the Internet is what many many of the population will watch.
There can be no one clear message about what the President is doing. He must appeal to a broad spectrum. He must remind us of the moral issues involved in health care. He must explain the fiscal issues of health care both short and long term. He must explain how the health care bill would rein in the abuses of the insurance industry. He must even explain to those on Medicare that they are on a government run program. When the country is so fragmented about so many issues he must keep explaining to each group.

Then too there is gerrymandering. What a mess that is. Either the Governor or the State Legislature draws the districts after the Federal Government, using the census determines the number of representative for each state. Now think about that. The State governments are very important here and so is the Census. So be sure to use your census form as you do your vote.
But I am getting off subject here.

Perhaps the biggest error this President has made is that he tried, as a former legislator to let the legislators legislate. The people are getting it. Now he needs to see it too. Congress is too fractured. And why wouldn't they be if the voters that sent them are. Many of those sent by the voters got elected on not just national issues but on issues or maybe just one issue of import to their constituents. Whether it be health care without abortion, just get even with Wall Street, or jobs for me; how do we expect them to work together. If they vote other than what is expected at home, they will be gone. If they do nothing, they will be gone. If they vote against some big lobby, they may well be gone. That lobby can now spend lots of money and effort to get them out. Now add the Republican hard liners that just want to see the Democratic majority gone and the President to fail for spite or for power. “Houston we have a problem.”

Just look at Iraq. The NY Times has much coverage of Iraq today.
What a mess. Lately I read progressive articles on their dismay that we aren't really, really, leaving Iraq. The right, at this time, seems to be ignoring it. The left is still wanting the President to get out of Afghanistan, now. When I, who am against any war, look at the articles on the mess in Iraq right now; I wonder by what miracle can this President end both.

So Mr. Rich is right President Obama needs a powerful vision, I think he does have one, and he needs to somehow be FDR or even Reagan in a time when nobody would trust them either. Too much Hope without any Trust is what he must overcome while appealing to the fractious public.

Yes, the American public will soon be onto some other issue as Mr. Rich mentions, led by the Press, their problem au jour, or some new idol.

Yes, the President needs to communicate a narrative but I don't know that he can count on us to follow too many parts of “his larger vision”. For many reasons as I have written in previous posts, lack of education(Thomashas been posting on education), daily survival, time, feeling helpless, or just tired of it all; we can't, we don't or we won't take the time and effort to focus on more than a piece at a time. Maybe we just don't want to admit what a huge cobwebbed mess we have participated in, allowed, or enabled.

Yet, I don't know about you but my mind cannot take it all in. I am “only” human. I must rely on people smarter than I am and hope they honestly know what we are doing. Or that they honestly believe in what they will try. Hope and Trust.

Now go read this for some great, easy, reading. I wish I had written it.


  1. Kanna,

    I like this post.. I enjoyed the last link to "I am Angry" on RSN. That was fun to read and gave me a good feeling to sleep on. As for Frank Rich, I enjoyed as much as I read and I will wade through that some more in the next couple of days..

    Thank you for posting this and for your thoughts on all of this, and I agree with you... I am trying to think of any part that hit me wrong or that I took issue with..

    I think Obama has put a great effort into healthcare reform in the last few days; far more than any previous administration or president. I have to admire his tenacity or perseverance. All progressives and/or Democrats need to figure out where they stand and make a stand for what they know is the right thing to do. Some need to stop making excuses for what they know is the wrong thing to do.

  2. Sorry but.. I suspect that Obama did it right by letting congress have a chance to legislate and his timing for stepping in looks pretty good to me.. I think he may have played it very well.

  3. Thomas,
    Can't really disagree with you on that point.
    But can't be sure either way in my own mind.
    When it, health care stuff, first started last year; I thought maybe because he had been a legislator...then maybe because he believed the balance of the three branches had gotten off track...
    Then as you point out, it could be strategy.
    Thanks for making that point.