Major Garrett: Town hall a sign of ‘anxiety’ at Obama reelection HQ

Wednesday’s so-called Twitter town hall meeting conducted by President Barack Obama was certainly unprecedented. But was it a sign of trouble at Obama reelection headquarters in Chicago?

Over the past few weeks, Democrats in Washington, D.C., have been driving the message of “shared sacrifice” as it pertains to the federal government’s fiscal policy going forward in dealing with record deficit and debt issues. But in an appearance on Wednesday’s “The Laura Ingraham Show,” National Journal congressional correspondent Major Garrett explained there were some unresolved questions, especially when it comes to the question of what Americans are getting for their sacrifice.

“[W]hen you talk about sacrifice, what I’m often curious about is how most American people regard the service they receive from their government,” Garrett said. “Because–if you’re going to ask for sacrifice, perhaps those who are sacrificing, and of course every American taxpayer does it at one level or another, they might also inquire about the level of service they receive from the government and I would think any conversation right now pitting sacrifice against service, the government would come out on the lesser end of that conversation. That’s just a hunch.”

In the end, Garrett said the Obama administration needed to connect with the public on the economy. He explained as the economy continues to struggle, the president’s ability to communicate on that will become more and more difficult.

“[I] would say the jobs report that came out a month ago that showed an enormously shallow capability of this economy to create jobs brought about by gas prices, brought about instability in Europe, brought about by the continuing sense of unease among major sectors of the U.S. economy – what would come next was the pivot point for this administration because it undercut everything the president had been saying for a year about this recovery,” Garrett said.

“Last year we had ‘Recovery Summer.’ Well you can’t have two recovery summers in a row — I think the great issue when it comes to the economy is that do most Americans even listen to the president anymore,” he said.

But as it stands right now, Obama’s failing to connect and Garrett cited his so-called Twitter town hall meeting as an attempt almost in desperation to resurrect the messaging success the president in his prior election.

“[I]f people aren’t listening to you on that core message, it doesn’t matter what you say anymore,” he said. “And I think the president is dangerously close to losing that connection with the American people on what he knows about the economy and what he can predict about the economy. And presidents who can’t lead on the economy tend to be replaced. And I think today’s Twitter town hall is evidence of a low-level degree of anxiety bordering on panic within the Chicago reelection headquarters because back in 2008 and 2007, I watched this develop on the ground. There was a sense that ‘oh social media created the energy.’ No, social media harnessed and built it out. It made it exponential. But it didn’t create it in the first place and you see a lot of sort of feverish attempts to engage social media as if that’s the means by which to create energy. No — you create energy by what you do, what you say and how you lead, especially if you’re seeking reelection and it’s at that level that I think the energy pool is much more shallow for President Obama than the campaign would like it to be.”

  • DocFreeman

    Well, both us are out of jobs at the moment. So we cut down on our cell phone usage. It is used only for emergency. It cost less than $50 a month. So we do not twitter, plus BHO never says anything different these days so why bother listening. In fact the only two thing I remember BHO saying is that
    “I want to fundamental change America” and
    “It is wonderful to be back in Oregon. Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go, Alaska and Hawaii.” (Maybe he was thinking of the fact that there are 57 states in the Organization of the Islamic Conference – OIC).

  • srbourque

    Garrett’s comment about “any conversation . . . pitting sacrifice against service” is too superficial to be meaningful. Government “services” (apart from the proper function of protecting the rights of citizens) by their very nature constitute sacrifice; they are paid for by force, sacrificing those who produce for the sake of those who do not.

    If the “conversation” sees sacrifice and government services as the two opposing choices, then we are doomed at the outset. The real issue is sacrifice (i.e. the welfare state and the mixed economy) versus individual rights (i.e. laissez-faire capitalism).

  • bostonshepherd

    Team Obama should be anxious. There is a growing sense among the electorate that this administration does not have a single answer to the weak economic growth and, worse still, is ignoring the problem in pursuit of trivial but wildly progressive policies.

    A good example is the corporate aircraft depreciation deduction. Closing that “loophole”, which Obama made part of his “stimulus”, is a silly detail worth a few billion dollars over 10 years. Huh? We have a multi-TRILLION dollar problem THIS YEAR.

    How does closing that loophole make any difference? Why would any leader, be it the president or a CEO or a sole owner of a small business, spend a single minute on such a meaningless detail? CEOs would get their heads chopped off, and small business would tank.

    If the president is so smart, then why is he doing this? Three possibilities:

    (1) he has no answers, no clue, how to help the economy grow and focuses on minutia instead
    (2) he simply doesn’t care about the economy (worse, dislikes capitalism) and pursues symbolic class warfare symbols as a distraction
    (3) he has some other undisclosed plan and pursuing a trivial tax reform is part of it.

    I think a majority of likely voters believe one of the three explanations, perhaps in combination with the others. We’ll see come Nov 2012.

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  • BarackMugabe

    He’s a radical, incompetent, know-nothing, un-American community rabble rouser. That won’t change between now and election day.

    The hapless radical is done.

  • citiman

    How can any intelligent person (not talking about the ivy league educated)support this fraud of a so called president?

  • StopGovtBondage

    Obama’s people in the White House – the ones calling for shared sacrifice – are making HUGE salaries, and just got gigantic raises…. It is from we the little people that Obama wants to take the dough.

    Obama is a twit…he lost credibility a long time ago…because Obama and his gang of handlers are so full of themselves – they just don’t know it yet. With constant lies and distortions, not to mention an economy still in the toilet after close to three years of Obama faux-leadership – how can we believe or trust anything from this White House.

  • mom

    how much more sacrifice does he want from the American people
    seems to me alot have sacrificed already by loosing their jobs and homes

  • rone