June 17, 2011

Michele Bachmann, challenging Obama in the empathy dimension.

"That Barack Obama is without a clue when it comes to the economy is no revelation, but that he lacks empathy — traditionally a Democratic refrain — is a bold and interesting twist. The fact is that Obama does often seem to be weirdly detached from the problems he ostensibly is trying to solve. Perhaps that is just his style; perhaps it suggests that his real objective is to advance leftist objectives like government takeover of medicine, not to improve the lot of working Americans. Be that as it may, the fact that Bachmann is an unusually empathetic person positions her, perhaps uniquely, to take that particular approach to Obama's failures."

Says John Hinderaker (a Minnesotan with a Minnesota conflict: he knows Bachmann but supports Pawlenty).

[Post title corrected: I didn't mean to write "the empathy direction."]

75 comments:

Paul said...

Wow. A pathological narcissist who lacks empathy. What a shocker.

Shouting Thomas said...

No doubt about it.

Obama seems like a very distant preacher who is constantly irritated by the failings of his flock.

We aren't smart enough to appreciate his genius. We burden him with exaggerated expectations. He was bequeathed a difficult political and economic climate.

He's trying to do the best for us racists and rubes, but we are too stupid to understand... we are bitter clingers.

TosaGuy said...

Liberals empathize with concepts, not people. Obama just doesn't mask it as well as others.

Scott M said...

We need someone that's going to go after President Obama in the debates like no one has ever seen. If the GOP candidate can do that while projecting empathy in other areas, fine, but we cannot do without going after him at every turn during the debates. I want him coming down off that stage in a heavy sweat and shaking, wondering wtf just happened.

Donald Douglas said...

I'm for for Bachmann!

SteveR said...

I'm finding it harder and harder to keep her her off the top of my list.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...The fact is that Obama does often seem to be weirdly detached from the problems he ostensibly is trying to solve...."

This isn't weird, its a feature of someone who never actually had a job up until now.

Maguro said...

In terms of pure politics, I think this line of attack has some promise. Obama doesn't fake empathy very well and that's a weakness that the media can't really paper over for you. Either people feel you really care about their problems, or they don't.

If the charge sticks a bit, we might see some unintentionally hilarious photo ops in which Obama attempts to show off his empathy. There's some Dukakis-in-a-tank potential there.

NYTNewYorker said...

A Shovel-Ready Punch Line
FTA: For instance, you know where this jobs-council meeting took place? At Cree Inc., an LED lightbulb maker. Under the supposedly jobs-boosting stimulus, Cree received $5.2 million. According to Recovery.gov, that $5.2 million created 3.02 jobs. That’s $1,716,171 per job.

Palladian said...

It's easy to appear empathetic when you're spending other people's money.

Palladian said...

"...Bachmann is an unusually empathetic person..."

There's an extra "em" in there...

Michael K said...

The LA Times has its usual zoo of lefty nutballs criticizing Bachmann because she opposes government programs. Note the Lame headline.

John Lynch said...

I don't care if he's detached as long as he solves the problem.

Results matter, not empathizing about failure.

Carol_Herman said...

What is Bachmann, some kind of Hallmark card?

She feels there's no empathy ... And, this is supposed to talk for whom may I ask?

I still don't miss Dubya, ya know. Even though that's Karl Rove's meme.

As to what's ahead, the only two candidates that generated excitement aren't running: Trump. And, Palin.

The GOP? The team that runs the lame horse.

The PEOPLE? They'll probably be slitting their tickets. And, the place to really look will be at the local level.

How many pairs of men in grey underpants can the donkeys run, who win anything?

They've got Kloppenhoopen's victory speech ready to go.

They can see Shirley Ambrahamson's hissy fit from their front porches. We're not only losing in the Mideast. We see cops afraid of protesters who attach themselves to railings. And, we're told "this is democracy."

If you want to believe propaganda. And, lunatics. Go ahead. Be my guest.

Bachmann is doing a "political angle." Weiner just did his! And, while it looked like he was dangling for three weeks ... his wife's belly didn't swell. And, he's made off with a million dollar pension. Plus, benny's. And, ALSO his bank account of $5-million dollars!

No one is politics can speak the truth.

Palin and Trump are dark horses. And, when they appear both parties will have shits on the track. (My mom would say "they're running lighter!" It's an advantage. Not a bug. And, not a feature.)

Bachmann, however, is the new McCain. Promises that she can bring the press to the party. While she stares out, looking like a raccoon.

edutcher said...

Jimmy Carter had the same problem.

Shouting Thomas said...

No doubt about it.

Obama seems like a very distant preacher who is constantly irritated by the failings of his flock.


Malaise, anyone?

And Reagan, like Bachmann (and Palin), connected with the average working stiff.

Scott M said...

We need someone that's going to go after President Obama in the debates like no one has ever seen. If the GOP candidate can do that while projecting empathy in other areas, fine, but we cannot do without going after him at every turn during the debates. I want him coming down off that stage in a heavy sweat and shaking, wondering wtf just happened.

We know who that is, and she's not running this time around.

Original Mike said...

What John said. I have been sick of the "feels our pain" line since Clinton. I don't care if he feels our fucking pain. I care whether the President is competent. And Obama has been a big failure in this regard.

garage mahal said...

Bachmann/Dean 2012!

*devil horns*

Scott M said...

We know who that is, and she's not running this time around.

I don't recall her going at Biden's throat. She was good in the debate, but not sweaty/shaking/wtf good.

Paul said...

"What John said. I have been sick of the "feels our pain" line since Clinton. I don't care if he feels our fucking pain. I care whether the President is competent. And Obama has been a big failure in this regard."

A large part of his failure stems from the fact that his goals are not congruent with the goals of the American people. He has one overarching objective. The enhancement of the image of Barack Obama. Couple that with his disastrous neo-Marxist ideological world view and you wind up with exactly what we're seeing.

edutcher said...

Empathy can be different from "Ah feeyul yore payne". Somebody like Reagan made people believe he understood what they were going through ("When you lose your job, it's a depression").

The whole "I feel" thing is like Johnny Reid Edwards channeling the dead baby.

Palladian said...

"...Bachmann is an unusually empathetic person..."

There's an extra "em" in there...


Actually, no.

nevadabob said...

Obama doesn't really give a fuck.

Look, when a politician comes out in an interview and says he could live with one term, that guy has fucking checked out.

He'll run if they nominate him, half-heartedly. He'll go through the motions. Hey, riding around in Air Force One is cool and he gets to golf free and take 28 weeks of paid vacation. What's not to like.

But Barack Obama has checked out. He's out of ideas and like Weiner, quickly running out of friends (DKos attacks, etc.)

So, he's checked out. Man. Whoever gets the Republican nomination is going to win a 57-state landslide, but they better have a fucking clue how to deal with the unemployment situation beyond cutting people off from their benefits.

Curious George said...

Bachmann does emit empathy, but is no shrinking violet. And smart. And eloquent. Why the left hates her.

BTW, she lives empathy. She walks the walk. She has fostered like 20 kids.

nevadabob said...

Howard Dean endorsement: Sarah Palin could beat Obama in 2012.

gerry said...

No one understands. Obama's empathy is nuanced. Only teh very, very smart understand it.

WV: spored Ewwww.

nevadabob said...

"She has fostered like 20 kids."

Yep, that's some powerful mojo there. She should keep mentioning that in her stump speech. Powerful optics.

She would be an excellent VP. Poised, has a story that would melt a liberal's heart. Isn't a drunk like Biden.

Lance said...

David Brooks has an interesting column today on Fannie Mae and demosclerosis. He thinks Washington insiders need to police themselves, or bogeymen like Bachmann will be elected to do it for them.

nevadabob said...

WV: spored

"Anthony Weiner just spored on his Blackberry."

Browndog said...

I'm not sold on her yet.

Not sure if I can trust her...yet.

Make no mistake, I like her. But, give her seamingly unlimited power and responsibility and I'm not sure if her actaul governing will match her rhetoric.

I have no such worries with Palin.

Further, during the debate she kept repeating the need for government to start creating jobs.

Two things:

-How do you plan on getting elected using the same language as the liberals?

-I thought government can't create jobs.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...*devil horns*..."

lol! Heck, if this dude refers to the USofKKKA does that mean she gets your vote?

I do love the sweet smell of liberal desperation in the morning.

Brennan said...

Pops always told me that liberals "feel" and classical liberals "think".

My teachers did an awful lot of feelin' in class.

Brennan said...

Bachmann is a dymano. She broke all the records for fundraising in 2010 for a Congressional seat. I like her.

Keep on talking Michelle. The more she talks the more of the press cartel spins itself into obscurity.

Brennan said...

But Barack Obama has checked out. He's out of ideas and like Weiner, quickly running out of friends (DKos attacks, etc.)

I thought he would have already announced he's not running. He can't win in 2012. He's going to try and in the process take down the Democratic Party with him.

He ain't LBJ.

Phil 3:14 said...

Garage;
Bachmann/Dean 2012!

*devil horns*


You linked to a site that violates Godwin's Law at the outset!?

garage mahal said...


I do love the sweet smell of liberal desperation in the morning.


Bachmann is crazy. She will not come remotely close to being President. But go on and pretend she will be. That's desperation.

Phil 3:14 said...

It will be interesting to watch Bachmann over the next couple of months. So far as the dark horse she's done well. Much better than Huntsman and different than Cain and somehow better.

I probably wouldn't vote for her and I'm not thrilled about a candidate from the legislative side of things but it will be interesting to see what happens. (Though I will get tired of the Democratic/liberal simplistic response of "she's crazy")

As for Obama and empathy. Its smarter politically to just let that play out by itself without engendering sympathetic defenses. If the public truly sees BO as unsympathetic that will have a long term corrosive but hard to measure effect.

Carol_Herman said...

Baseball rules:

Even if you hit a home run, you need to get to all three bases ... before you return to home plate. And, you score.

For 2012, Obama, now is just 2nd base. With the lunatics who miss Dubya, standing on first. Being waved on by Karl Rove.

As to the press, their last chance was demonstrated by McCain. No one within the GOP really wanted him. But they thought they were speaking for all the independent voters he "could" attract.

Up ahead? Enough of Obama's voters saw that they wouldn't get free homes and erased mortgages. Instead many of them lost their jobs.

You can believe the media mavens, pundits, and assorted dreck, if you want to. But the media isn't going to be part of the 2012 "game." As much as they try.

Obama? On a good day he looks like Jimmy Carter. On the worst days, when the democraps just talk among themselves, he's their HOOVER!

When the pendulum swings again? Both sides need an "awakening" call. Both sides need to find voters.

Not among the "base." Because for the GOP, there's not enough of them.

For obama? It seems it's entirely possible lots of blacks will just stay home?

Obama won in 2008 because turnout was humongous. And, amazing. Now? obama can't even fill a 900 seat arena. If the press weren't following him, and touting his trips ... you wouldn't even know.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin, with the press just following bus fumes; evaded them. And, made her way "behind enemy lines," to New Hampshire. While she stopped in Boston and gave an ACCURATE history lesson!

Watch Palin. All the others will flame out.

traditionalguy said...

I agree that Obama is like a surgeon operating on a dying patient. He cannot feel any pain of the patient or he would hesitate and not cut. Bachmann is the nurse who gives the man mercy and thus a cause him to live. The dirty secret no one says out loud is that Obama and Soros WANT the dying US economy to die faster. Otherwise Obama would not be diligently shutting down oil, coal and gas development in the USA. So Nurse Bachmann's first job is to remove Obama as the surgeon.

G Joubert said...

I like Bachmann, and if she's nominated I'll vote for her, but the leap directly from the House to the presidency is a bridge too far. It just doesn't happen. I believe it's only been done once in history (James Garfield in 1881).

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

"Howard Dean endorsement: Sarah Palin could beat Obama in 2012."

And you think that supports the thesis that Palin could win??? Good grief, man.

write_effort said...

I've always wondered why BO is considered such a great speaker when he seems so detached from what he is saying. I've come to the conclusion that Obama's oratory like Newt Gingrich's intellect is so over-estimated because the bar for public figures is so, so low.

Phil 3:14 said...

I believe it's only been done once in history (James Garfield in 1881).

And that didn't turn out so well.

mccullough said...

Competence matters. Few people care about public displays of empathy in a President. Reagan was good at it, and Clinton was exceptional at it. W. was pretty good as well.

I do remember this being a huge knock on George H.W. Bush back in 1992. Given Obama has a lack of competence, the fact that he could be tagged with a lack of empathy would be doubly hard on him. His foreign policy weaknesses don't leave him with anything to run on. His only hope is to draw a weak Republican opponent.

kcom said...

Lance, I read the David Brooks piece. I note two things.

1) There's a note at the bottom that says Paul Krugman is off today. It wouldn't have been out of place if it had also said David Brooks is off today., with a different meaning of the word 'off'.

2) Brooks casually tosses out this observation, "People may not like Michele Bachmann..." as if it's uncontestable received wisdom. I think it's another (admittedly apocryphal) Pauline Kael moment - i.e. no one I know likes her. But it's awful arrogant of him to presume to speak for all people. I personally saw her get a rousing ovation when she spoke off-the-cuff at the Tea Party rally on the Capitol lawn the day before the health care vote. Lots of people thought she did well in the debate the other night. I've seen several people just in this thread say they like her. I wonder if they're not people. Maybe they're some of those mythical dogs on the internet that have mastered the whole opposable thumb thing. Tell me, are you people who like Michele Bachmann really people? Because David Brooks has no idea you exist. Or he's unwillingly to acknowledge your humanity.

Phil 3:14 said...

In a related note, I'm surprised no one here commented on this poll result

Damn there are a lot of RINO's in the Republican Party!

ElcubanitoKC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ElcubanitoKC said...

Hey, garage mahal, I have a better combination for you to vote for on 2012:

Weiner-Holder

Enjoy.

WV: ingsity (it's like ignuncy, as in "they ignuns")

Scott M said...

Weiner-Holder

Instant classic.

Fred4Pres said...

I see her name with one "n" and "nn".

Original Mike said...

""People may not like Michele Bachmann...""

Others may not like David Brooks. I sure in the hell don't.

rhhardin said...

It's all soap opera so far.

Christopher in MA said...

"She's crazy."

I take it this will be standard lefty shorthand for "she doesn't believe in a woman's inalienable right to sandblast her uterus and stab to death anything that manages to survive afterwards."

chickenlittle said...

ElcubanitoKC wrote: Weiner-Holder 2012

The election outcome is atissue

Original Mike said...

"Bachmann is crazy."

That was last week's meme. Haven't you got the new Chris Matthews talking points? Did you let your subscription lapse?

Phil 3:14 said...

kcom;
2) Brooks casually tosses out this observation, "People may not like Michele Bachmann..." as if it's uncontestable received wisdom. I think it's another (admittedly apocryphal) Pauline Kael moment - i.e. no one I know likes her.

Funny I took that entirely differently. I didn't read him as speaking to Republicans/conservatives but to a broader audience (and maybe considering the typical reader of the NYT). From that light I wouldn't be surprised if some of those "people may not like Michelle Bachmann".

Brooks gets little love here but I was surprised at the piece. He seemed to hit on core themes of the Tea Party. I'm surprised more haven't praised the message as opposed to questioning/ridiculing the messenger.

Alex said...

garage - being fat, crazy and stupid is no way to go through life son.

Phil said...

Here's the thing about empathy. You have to have good information in order to exercise it.

Thought experiment: A spacefaring species travels to a distant planet and observes one species that has enslaved another - the other species being clearly intelligent. The slaves feed, bathe, and even clean up the feces of the master species. Empathy might lead you to feel pity for the slave species - until you realize that I just described humans and dogs.

Phil 3:14 said...

As I was saying

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

We don't need empathy - we need freedom!

I would prefer that politicians actually forget I exist completely to having them feel my pain and try to fix it.

I don't want a kinder, gentler slave master - I want the hell off of the plantation.

Sincerely,
Toby

Scott M said...

We don't need empathy - we need freedom!

Small chance of that happening while the guy in charge of the whole shebang is of a mind that our Constitution is a document of negative rights.

Phil 3:14 said...

In reading the comments to Michelle Goldberg's piece in the Daily Beast this caught my eye:

How do we explain the rise of homophobia in the U.S. as we declare that we are the "Head" and not the "Tails" in this world torn by contentious extremism?

especially after reading this story today.

I guess New York didn't get the memo.

bagoh20 said...

I never run into David Brooks in my circle. Is that snobby of me, because it sure makes me feel superior.

bagoh20 said...

"In reading the comments to Michelle Goldberg's piece in the Daily Beast..."

I can't believe anyone pays her for her thoughts. Every time I've watched her on Blogging Heads, she gets her little pixie head handed to her in the argument. She thinks like a 15 year old.

DADvocate said...

Obama says he doesn't care what Michele Bachman says.

Lance said...

@kcom

Yeah, that was kinda my point. As interesting as I found the Fannie Mae/demosclerosis points, I'm wondering if that wasn't just a setup for the cheap shot at Bachmann. Which of course means it was also a cheap shot at people like me, who think the Fannie Mae scandal and "demosclerosis" are, in fact, interesting on their own.

Curious George said...

"I believe it's only been done once in history (James Garfield in 1881)."

Before, a black President had never "been done". Now..it's half done.

A women has never been President. I guess Hillary could also get is halfway there...

Cedarford said...

What makes a graduate of Oral Roberts and a Federal lawyer working for the IRS going after people to collect "the government's money or be ruined if they resist!" unusually EMPATHETIC????
Well, it's the old saw that nay women with kids must be put on the highest moral empathy pedestal..and with 5 of her own and 23 foster kids? Clearly the "penultimate in empathy is the superior female of the species having a retarded kid instead of aborting it" crowd has tobow to a new Icon of Conservative Empathy. A vertifiable Everest of christian pure motherhood empathy.


I would rather have someone that understands that being President is more an executive position to effectively implement policies for the nation. Far down my list of priorities for a good President is one who is a Consoler in Chief who Cares, Feels our Pain, flits to any disaster scene demanded to start the Healing and Closure Process (while handing out diapers, ice, 2,000 dollar debit cards).

If not an empathetic President that ensured they hug their retarded kid once a day if not on book tour...or a lawyer in the "render onto Caesat biz" before picking up Fed and State dollars for "foster kid care" - the gooey inside masses have always loved the empathy schtick.

The Father of the Motherland seen weeping on propagandist's newreels as a record Ukraine grain crop is brought in "because the noble masses with be so happy with the bounty of the collective!".

The original travelling empathy show politician was the man who pioneered use of airplanes and radio and newsreel coverage to ensure the masses knew he cared. Deeply. Any major disaster or triumph he was there or shown meeting with officials and his usual "le loves nature, he loves dogs, he loves the Chldren of the People!" images. He organized the children and made them community organizers...Had he been around and not the unempathetic Bush - he would have not overflown NOLA after Katrina but would have been down there in a heartbeat. Handing ice cream out to children, petting an abandoned dog on the head, and ordering looters be shot on sight.

JAL said...

@ST 11:01 He was bequeathed a difficult political and economic climate.

No no no.

He was bequeathed **THE MOST** difficult political and economic climate of any US president EVAH.

Fixed.

JAL said...

Here is empathy.

kcom said...

Phil: From that light I wouldn't be surprised if some of those "people may not like Michelle Bachmann".

I wouldn't either. But what struck me about his comment was how out-of-the-blue it was and the distinct absence of the word "some", or any other qualifier. It was very natural for you to include that word but he didn't even make a pretense of it. He hadn't mentioned Michele Bachmann anywhere previously in the piece. As Lance says, it seems he just pulled her out of thin air, as a cheap shot, like an older sibling telling a younger one that a monster would get them if they didn't do some particular thing. He made no case about her or her popularity, he just used her as a throwaway example of some terrible, inexplicable force. "People like her." That's a direct quote, with no explanation whatever as to what that means. He was, as always, writing as an inside-the-Beltway crony, not as a man espousing any policy on principle.

bandmeeting said...

Anyone know who used to teach at Oral Roberts Law School? Someone famous for her Xerox stories?

Michel B. is dumb for attending but Anita Hill is a saint for having taught there.

el polacko said...

as if her elizabeth dole-ish, beauty queen demeanor isn't enough, have we forgotten that bachmann first came to national notice for being 'the new anita bryant', incessantly ranting about gay citizens (at the urging of her therapist husband who 'cures' them of their demonic possession)? this is really who we want as a candidate for president ?! good grief.

Phil 3:14 said...

Only 73 comments. Not yet @ Palin level

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