The Insight section of today's San Francisco Chronicle included an editorial by President Barack Obama entitled "Washington needs a better bargain for the middle class." I assume that this is being read across the country this morning in any number of other newspapers. It is yet another appeal to reason to resolve the current stagnation brought on by a Congress that would rather harp on ideological differences than on economic recovery.
I have to wonder just what Obama was thinking. He was writing clearly and cogently, but that is also how he has spoken to the American people on television any number of times. It is as if he is too reasonable a person to acknowledge the real dead moose on the table: The ideological opposition he faces is motivated not by a difference of ideas but by the ability of several powerful people skilled in the use of media to foment a climate of raw hatred. Furthermore, that hatred is being directed not towards any of the ideas promoted by the Democratic party but towards Obama himself.
Those in power should recognize this phenomenon, since there is nothing particularly new about it. Bill Clinton was also a target of hatred; but he was enough of a thick-skinned politician to fight it through political means rather than rational argument. George W. Bush was also a target of hatred, but he was shielded by his own consciousness industry, run by those smart and ruthless enough to fight back and to fight dirty. Obama believes that the Presidency deserves the dignity of a higher road; and, in a better world, he would be right. However, when he cannot even bring himself to convincing the American people that he is still trying to clean up a colossal mess made by the Bush Administration, he cannot expect to win any points for being reasonable.
Rational talk will always be trumped by tough action.