The Audacity Gap
Dana Milbank provides the story line, the description of the Jon Stewart interview with President Obama. The phrase that I picked up on is the difference between, “the audacity of hope” and the timidity of legislation. Therein is the gap between what was promised and what was delivered.
Obama claims 90% delivery; I feel 50% at best. I think the quality of the solutions fall short, but that is just an impression because the outcomes were so ill-defined, I honestly don’t know what was promised.
“"You're coming from a place, you ran on a very high rhetoric: 'hope' and 'change.' And the Democrats this year seem to be running on 'Please, baby, one more chance.'" Stewart observed. "Are you disappointed in how it's gone?"
Obama replied that he was advised after the election that "two years from now, folks are going to be frustrated" -- a prediction he did not make public to his starry-eyed supporters at the time.
"We have done things that some folks don't even know about," Obama ventured.
Oh? "Are you planning a surprise party for us?" the host inquired. In response, Obama recited his well-known, if under-appreciated, list of accomplishments.
"Is the difficulty," Stewart asked, "that you have here the distance between what you ran on and what you delivered? You ran with such, if I may, audacity.... yet legislatively it has felt timid at times."
Stewart had found the sore point between Obama and his base -- and Obama was irritable. "Jon, I love your show, but this is something where I have a profound disagreement with you," he said. "What happens," he added, "is it gets discounted because the presumption is, well, we didn't get 100 percent of what we wanted, we got 90 percent of what we wanted -- so let's focus on the 10 percent we didn't get." He said that a cancer patient in New Hampshire helped by the bill "doesn't think it's inconsequential."
"The suggestion was not that it's inconsequential," the comedian pointed out.
Obama leaned in and pointed at the host. "Your suggestion was that it was timid."
Still, the president did not really quarrel with Stewart's notion that Obama has done some of his work in a "political manner that has papered over a foundation that is corrupt."
"I think that is fair," Obama granted.”
The President was called a "dude," appeared pissed, and we all went away disappointed just as when we arrived. Where is the porta-jon?