President Obama should be working his tail off to make life better for Americans who continue to struggle through one of the slowest economic recoveries in the nation’s history. He’s not. And in a fascinating twist he’s not even working to make life easier for the myriad Senate Democrats who are at risk of losing their election.
Instead, he’s spending time asking the American ambassador of Italy to throw a dinner party with some of the country’s “intellettuali.” According to the New York Times the group talked for hours about “the importance of understanding science, the future of the universe, how sports bring people together, and many other things.” The Times goes on:
Sometimes stretching into the small hours of the morning, the dinners reflect a restless president weary of the obligations of the White House and less concerned about the appearance of partying with the rich and celebrated. Freewheeling, with conversation touching on art, architecture and literature, the gatherings are a world away from the stilted meals Mr. Obama had last year with Senate Republican leaders at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington.
And when the president isn’t travelling to exotic destinations, using his powerful position to throw star-studded dinner parties to theorize about the esoteric, he’s touring the country trying to convince Americans that he’s an average Joe. The Wall Street Journal’s Colleen McCain Nelson writes:
With his legislative agenda stalled and his approval ratings at new lows, President Barack Obama has been spending more time in recent weeks away from the White House, traveling the country and cultivating the image of a pool-shooting, beer-drinking regular guy.
Midway through his second term, a six-year itch has set in as Mr. Obama increasingly has been talking about gridlock on Capitol Hill and the confines of the White House. His advisers say the president has “cabin fever,” and that he simply wants to be able to go for a walk.
So which is it? Is President Obama the paragon of privilege, who enjoys waxing philosophic with the world’s top minds? Or is he your everyday guy who wants to chow down on a Chipotle burrito bowl with some small-town folks? Maybe it’s both. Maybe he, not the Dos Equis guy, really is the most interesting man in the world. But that’s not what America needs right now.
After all, things are far from rosy, especially for young adults. Health care costs continue to soar. Tuition prices are on the rise. Student loan debts and default rates keep climbing upwards. And youth unemployment rates continue to lag. What’s more, there’s continued reason for concern on the economy as a whole.
“The U.S. economic recovery remains incomplete, with a still-ailing job market and stagnant wages justifying loose monetary policy for the foreseeable future, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told a Senate committee,” wrote Reuters’ Howard Schneider and Michael Flaherty.
The president’s utter lack of concern for these and other issues is not only leaving Americans high and dry, it’s leaving his fellow Democrats in a precarious position. As revered political analyst Charlie Cook writes in the National Journal:
Early this year, we saw Senate Democrats throw their House brethren under the proverbial bus with a Jan. 29 story in Politico headlined, “Democrats: Cede the House to Save the Senate.” It noted that Democrats’ hold on their majority in the upper chamber was tenuous, while over on the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was raising money hand over fist despite having little chance of reclaiming the majority House Democrats lost in 2010. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Senate Democrats were trying to redirect fundraising from what they saw as a lost cause on one side of the Capitol to what they saw as a much more important one on their side. . .
We saw it again this past week with The Washington Post’s inimitable Dana Milbank writing a column July 4 suggesting that perhaps the Obama presidency might benefit from Democrats losing their Senate majority. The crunching sound you heard was the bones of Senate Democrats under a bus, a pretty fair indication that someone in or close to the White House was beginning to rationalize why such an outcome might not be as bad a thing as some might think—all logic to the contrary.
It’s tough to feel sorry for House and Senate Democrats who now understand the frustration of conservatives who suffered under the whims of this White House. While the president is off gallivanting around because he is “weary of the obligations of the White House” and suffering from a bit of “cabin fever” Americans have been weary of joblessness and suffering from low wages.