Rick Santelli, who you may remember from his
LARP rally trading floor rant of a few days ago, is now alleging that the White House has threatened his family.
Politico has opined that Obama faces a “nation of Santellis” based on a misleading Rasmussen poll (is it just me, or has Rasmussen essentially gone full-bore GOP since Obama took office?). As Josh Marshall points out, neutral polling shows overwhelming support for Obama’s mortgage plan, to the point where it seems like political folly to oppose it.
So, besides the fact that angry men with TV slots are always big news, due mainly to their utter novelty, why bother building up Santelli’s otherwise pointless and off-key rant as representing a social movement? Well, it’s always better to pretend there are two sides that are relatively equally wrong and right than it is to point out that one side is overwhelmingly supported, thereby removing the two main types of political analysis that are our insiders’ stock and trade: the perils in every course of action for the Democratic Party, and the need for compromise from Democratic positions. A popular Democratic president pursuing popular Democratic policies is simply anathema in our media discourse, it simply can’t exist.
This is the major media challenge for Obama over the next several years: Obama can’t do it his way, Obama is missing the American public’s yearning for bipartisan cooperation, Obama lacks the power or mandate to move the center of the country (because it’s always center-right, even if Hammer and Sickle rallies are being held in Tulsa), so on and so forth. The modern political dialogue was written in the early 1980s after the tumult of the Nixon-Ford-Carter years, and Obama will not be allowed to rewrite it unless he just bites the bullet and does it.