Morose Obama asks his base for psychological intervention
A downbeat President Barack Obama repeatedly asked his worried supporters Monday night to help resurrect his spirits, following weeks of political disasters and personal humiliations caused by the cascading collapse of Obamacare. The distracted president railed against opponents and at one point appeared to forget the number of people in the Obamacare system during the rambling quarter-hour address.
“My main message is I’m going to need your help, your energy, your faith, your ability to reach out to neighbors, kids and friends [and] co-workers,” he told listeners to the Internet broadcast arranged by his grassroots group, Organizing for Action.
But his worried followers would also benefit from proselytizing for Obama and Obamacare, Obama suggested.
“I’ve never lost faith in our ability to get this done… you guys have lifted me up, and lifted each other up at every step of the way, and I know you’re going to just keep on doing that,” he said during his 14-minute sermon.
‘We have experienced discouragement and setbacks and naysayers every step of the way, but you know when you’re on the right side of something, then it gives you energy, it gives you motivation,” he said.
“All the people out there who need help, everybody out there who is working hard but just finding that the system kinda feels rigged against him… that’s got to motivate us,” he said.
During his monologue, he made a mistake that illustrates the strain he’s facing while trying to save his Obamacare network.
“In the first month alone, we’ve seen more than 100 million Americans already successfully enroll in the new insurance plans,” he said, inaccurately referring to the 106,000 Americans who managed to pick a health-benefit plan via the cripple website.
The broadcast was audio-only, and conducted after the evening news. That media strategy will likely minimize TV coverage of his speech and despondent mood, while still allowing him to reach his political base.
After past political defeats, including the 2011 budget negotiations, Obama showed reduced energy.
But his drive returned once he got back into campaign mode. During the last stages of the 2012 campaign, he fiercely criticized Republicans in numerous speeches. In one speech, he urged his supporters to “vote — voting is the best revenge.”
Obama views his defense of the failing Obamacare program as a political campaign. “I’ve got one more campaign in me, and that is making this law work,” he told his supporters.
The president’s repeated and frank confessions of need, however, were contradicted by an unsentimental pivot to the surprise issue of judicial nominations.
“So I’m grateful to you, I appreciate you — one last thing, if you don’t mind, before I get off this call,” he said.
“There’s one more issue I want to raise, and it is related because it has to do with the dysfunction in Washington and all you can do to help push and prod our elected Representatives to do the right thing… Senate Republican [are] blocking our judicial nominations, oftentimes for no good reason,” he complained.
On Monday, a united bloc of GOP Senators blocked another Obama nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C., which reviews the legality and constitutionality of critical laws and regulations.
“This is an issue that may end up getting more attention in the coming days and weeks,” Obama said.
“I want to make sure that everyone on the ground understands its importance… [because D.C. judges] end up having an impact on our lives,” he said.
But he returned to his main theme of resurrection at the very end of the call.
“You guys motivate me, you’re what keeps me going, so let’s go out there and get this done,” he summarized.
Follow Neil on Twitter