The Right Opinion

Enough Drama Already -- the Country's Getting Sick of It

By Paul Greenberg · Apr. 29, 2011

It’s no secret that the messianic hopes Barack Obama once inspired have steadily given way to disillusion, and an ever-deepening sense of unease about the direction the country is heading.

The president’s critics are tempted to say they told us so – and they give in to that temptation all too often. Instead of rallying around a serious alternative, which may explain why no such candidate has yet to emerge from the pack.

As for the president’s supporters, they sound more defensive than proud. It’s a familiar sound – that of a presidency losing steam, and maybe hope.

You don’t hear much about Hope out of the White House these days, or for that matter Change and Audacity, either. Those old words now tend to be used only ironically where this administration is concerned. They used to be a slogan, remember? Now they’ve become a wry judgment on this president’s failure to deliver on the hopes he once raised.

And it was all going to be so simple, too. What heady days those were. But now it’s as if the country had returned to sobriety after an intoxicating fling with a media star. You can feel the letdown. The polls reflect it, too, for what they’re worth, which is not much. We can be a fickle people, our mood changing in an instant. Besides, a president who was a slave to the polls wouldn’t be much of a president. A great campaigner, maybe, but not much of a president.

The results of last year’s midterm elections were scarcely a vote of confidence in the president’s party, or his leadership. And nothing much seems to have changed since. If there is a single word to describe the spirit of this administration just now, it is entropy. The new has worn off, and revealed … nobody is quite sure.

More and more, there doesn’t seem to be any there there. What, besides his own re-election, does the man stand for? It’s not easy to say, and it is this lack of definition that has come to define him. Which is not a good sign in a candidate who would lead. That is, if he’s ever been interested in leading – as opposed to moderating a national conversation and group therapy session.

Barack Obama may or may not have retained his personal popularity, but it’s hard to escape the impression that his presidency is winding down – at home and abroad. The feeling grows that it’s time for a change from the change he ushered in, or was going to.

In the battle over the budget, the president (who’s more of a presidential candidate these days) can be counted on to play the Class War card sooner and/or later. But even at his most strident, maybe especially at his most strident, he comes across as ineffectual. You can almost hear the steam going out of his presidency.

Yet there are still some folks out there he manages to drive crazy, and, strangely enough, they may represent his best chance for re-election. For if the country isn’t happy with Mr. Obama, it’s not about to embrace the kind of nutcases who’ve come out of the woodwork to oppose him – the mixed assortment of birthers, truthers and other such who view him not as a failed president but as some kind of demonic plant. Those folks are scary.

The other day I spotted a bumper so covered with stickers you could barely see the chrome underneath. Together, they expressed enough suspect sentiments to sink any presidential candidate who would embrace them. For example:

Impeach the Muslim

Global Warming Is a Hoax

Obama Lied/ America Died

Put all those together and you’ve got Glenn Beck on one of his wilder forays into conspiracy theory – the kind of thing once confined to late-night radio but now more and more mainstream. You’d think the John Birch Society had been reborn.

Recall all the virulence directed at the last president, aim it in the opposite political direction, and you’ve got the flavor of the thing. It’s quite a show, but it’s not much of a campaign strategy. Nuttism seldom is.

No matter what unease this president inspires, it is nothing compared to the distaste this kind of wild-eyed sloganeering does. Hysteria is not an appealing quality. Not in a practical-minded country always tending toward consensus. We may love to gossip, but most of us aren’t about to vote the way we talk in the barber shop or beauty salon, where it’s understood that anything said is 25 percent off.

As the president launches his re-election campaign on a grand scale, at least financially, Republican presidential hopefuls compete to see which one can sound more like Ronald Reagan as they try to stir up their party’s base.

But as venerated as the Gipper was, and deserves to be, this may be a time when the country is looking for a different kind of presidential candidate. By now Americans may yearn not for a Reagan but an Eisenhower, someone who might not be glamorous, but who can be trusted. A candidate who has principles but isn’t angry about them. A Mitt Romney rather than a Donald Trump. Think of how attractive a Romney-Petraeus ticket might be – if the alternative were Obama and (Lord help us) Biden again.

Americans may have grown more than a tad sick of ideology by now. Having overdosed on the politics of celebrity and glamor, we might happily settle for just some competence, clarity, trust and good will. And constancy of purpose. Whoever can provide those qualities could look mighty good in 2012. They may not be dramatic qualities, but the American electorate has had more than enough drama of late.

© 2011 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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17 Comments

wjm in Colorado said:

Impeach the Lying Muslim Lover! Is that a bumper sticker you might deride? My bumper simply states "Obama bin Lyin", and that speaks the truth!

Friday, April 29, 2011 at 1:30 PM

J Henry Jr said:

The muslim thing is debatable, but global warming is certainly a hoax and Obama's certainly a liar.

Friday, April 29, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Tex Horn said:

The reason Obama is driving people crazy is the total incompetence you dance around in your article, Mr. Greenburg. Frankly, I don't fault the name-callers, or the drama created by them. It goes to prove their utter frustration, causing much muttering under not so muted breath. I know that frustration. I believe these people too want "some competence, clarity, trust and good will." But they also want some "fire in the belly." And like me, they don't see anyone there to provide that, Republican or Democrat. Mitt Romney? Get real, Mr. Greenburg, he is just the same old tired establishment candidate. We are ready for some real change in the way government operates. My frustration is that that candidate hasn't shown up yet.

Friday, April 29, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Houston Conservative said:

Perhaps in 2012 the "annointed one" can run under the catch phrase "the Paucity of Hope!". I think it has a certain cachet, and most of his supporters are too stupid to understand what it means.

Friday, April 29, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Dave Montana said:

Mitt Romney is about as exciting as yesterday's toast. TypicalDeal making politician go along to get along, and no fire in the belly. We're to far down a disastrous path to have a smooth talking deal maker. We need an impassioned conservative warrior.

Friday, April 29, 2011 at 5:19 PM

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia said:

Chris Christie, Herman Cain, John Kasich, Michelle Bauchman, Marco Rubio, Allen West, Sarah Palin, Jim Demint -- just a few for the future.The current crop of "in-line" Republicans are not capable of leading the fight. They - Newt, Romney et. al., will be valuable advisors but we need real leadership - real game changers.No more compromising. law-making beaurocrats. We need principled conservatives that will draw a line and defend it. We are in a battle of political philosphies that will determine the future of freedom in the world. There is no where else to go.There can be no compromise. Those who call for compromise - for the government to work... simply do not understand how far we have gone toward collapse into socialism.My preffered ticket-- Chris Chistie and Herman Cain

Friday, April 29, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Georgia's Diana said:

Ron Paul

Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 12:35 AM

Mike Schuerger Sr said:

Paul, this time you've gotten it completely wrong.We are not tired of "drama" per se. For years now we have been opposing what they are *promising to do and are doing!*We are tired of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi and see that they are driving the bus that is "leading" us down the sewage ditch at an ever-increasing rate. Desperately we are wrestling them for the wheel while trying to get their feet off of the accelerator and hit the brake! All the while we have been yelling, "Stop!" We got Pelosi out of the way, except for her mouth of course, but didn't get Reid and Obama Yet. All the while they insist that the terrible collision into the cesspool that we see coming isn't going to happen if we just Trust them! (Alternately they insist that it won't be a Bad Thing!) Then, too, is the responsibility held by those of your profession who are corrupt cheer-leaders of Every Liberal Thing instead of honestly reporting our location and heading.This is not just partisan electioneering going on. We have our Nation, our Families, our Future, our Freedom on the bus. At best we are at a tipping point, and it can go either way. Many of us fear that by the time the election gets here, it will already be too late if we cannot get the House to throw up a barricade, to continue the analogy.The GOP contender must be more than the Anti-Obama if we are to have a chance for the future, but getting rid of this sorry excuse for a President and his corrupt criminal Administration will be a great and necessary start. Who it will be is a great concern; we absolutely cannot have another Dole or McCain-type candidate. Reagan was a gift who's like I doubt we will see again. But we do not need such a one, if we get a competent one with Conservatives holding the House and Senate. We need competence, integrity, and thick skins in all 3 locations. We will not cure all problems at once or even in the next Administration! But we must stop the wild ride we are on and regain control.Note Well that the Great Man riding to the rescue on horseback is a Great Danger to us, as this is how the Tyrant appears amid the Chaos to Save the Day. It is a danger because we long for Someone to take control and fix everything. (Perhaps this longing is a memory of childhood. It doesn't really matter.) The biggest danger of this occurring in my fears is if the commotion is enough of an excuse for Obama to declare Martial Law and suspend the upcoming election, which of course will not be allowed to stand by Patriots all over the country. (Or at least those of us who remember our oaths to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Mine had no expiration date, and no release in the separation papers.) Be vigilant and pray for our country, brothers and sisters. And be not cowed and silent, but stand and speak citizens!

Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 1:09 AM

Richard Ryan said:

Everyone should keep in mind that Mr Greenberg is a resident of Arkansas, and a writer for the Arkansas-Democrap Gazette.He is no conservative, and is always trying to shoot the messenger.He never misses a chance to snipe at Glen Beck,which in itself is quite telling.Why is he so afraid of people like Chris Christie and Michelle Bachmann?Richard RyanLamar,Missouri - Birthplace of Harry S Truman

Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Jane said:

Now I know why I seldom read Mr. Greenberg's articles. On the rare occasion that I do, I see drivel typical of this piece.

Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 11:36 PM

pete said:

M Rick Timms. MD -- I'll go along with your list on everybody except Michelle Bachmann. No candidate who as much as mentions cutting benefits for our veterans deserves to be even considered for the job. Our veterans come in all races, religions, sized, and political affiliations. They and their families are the only ones who have truly paid the price to live in this country, and considering the consist of less than 10% of our population (going back to WWII), just how much does Bachman expect to save the taxpayer? It is a bullshyte idea from start to finish, and she should be ashamed of herself for as much as having that type of impure thoughts.

Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 9:38 PM

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia said:

Hi Pete,I must have missed that comment by Bauchman - and I agree that our military is the top priority -- and that means taking care of our veterans. I will certainly watch her closely for any inclination to do otherwise. Like many on my list - they are merely some new faces worth watching for the future.With that said, I am not sure how much of a future we have left if we do not restore Constitutional controls on our Federal governmnet - soon.

Monday, May 2, 2011 at 1:02 AM

Linda said:

While we indeed are tired of the fanfare of an elitist Hollywood, media made President who looks in the mirror each day and says "Mirror Mirror on the Wall...", we do want a passionate candidate who is more than a milquetoast Huckabee or RINO Romney. While Donald Trump has brought a little bit of rebellious attitude to the Republican party, I don't think I am crazy about a man who has contributed to thugs like Rahm Emanuel and Anthony Weiner. No conservative in their right mind would do that...not for business purposes nor for any other reason. We need a patriot that adheres to our Constitution, and demands our sovereignty, our safety, securing our southern and northern Borders. A man who loves our great nation and wants our economy based on our own hard work, not stealing others assets. We need that passion and we have to have it to save our country and take it back from the minority left wing anti-American treasonous bastards determined to destroy our country. Too stupid to know they destroy our country at their very own peril. When our freedoms are gone, so too are theirs. It is already happening to them. Banned from the media pool? And they are still not getting the hint??God please save us from useful idiots.

Monday, May 2, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Howard Reed said:

Hello America,Since Mr. Greenberg's column was published President Obama has gotten a major bump in the polls. It is not for what he did and can take credit for, it is for what he let happen that has led to the demise of western civilization Enemy #1, Osama 'Yo Momma' bin Laden. Future GOP presidential candidates aside for the moment. That B. Hussein let the military operation that bagged the biggest fish of them all, then made him swim with the fishes lends me to say something I rarely say about the worst president in American history. Give the man his due, while at the same time realize that being the quintessential opportunist, B. Hussein saw a way for him to become the hero instead of the goat in hopes that this might carry him to a second term in 2012. I don't think so.Who will be given the primary due regard this operation is the perseverence of miliatary and civilian intelligence personnel who for years tracked bin Laden down. Our hats off will go to the (Ret) Lt. Commander Richard Marcinko's Seal Team Six, who tirelessly and flawlessly took bin Laden down with little down time and no collateral damage outside the female who was used as a shield by a bin Laden operative.Let me be brutally frank, lefties in general, particularly Obama loathe the military. They do not understand the role of a nations military therefore they cannot condone what they don't understand. At the same time, they aren't the least bit ashamed to let the military protect their worthless hides while like bin Laden they hunker down inside the armed fortress that is the United States. To be blunt, lefties are nothing more than Yellow Dog Democrats and Republicans.Let Obama ride the wave while he can. This is May 2011, the next Election Day isn't until November 2012. In the meantime we are still suffering an economic downturn that is worsening for every cent gasoline and the price of oil, that affects consumer goods goes up. By the time the real battle for the White House heats up in mid 2012 --- I like a Cain/Bachmann, or Bachmann/Cain ticket --- a lead from behind president will see gas heading toward $5 a gallon, which most tax paying Americans will see cutting deeper and deeper into their budgetary cash flow, and the reality of ObamaCare will have set in. The person who will enter the White House in 2013 is the person Americanns see working to bring our out of control free spending economic quagmire in check. Who begins the process of unlimited oil development in all the places the lefties have put off limits,and begins the process of repealing ObamaCare will be the next POTUS. So goes an oil rich America without dependency, so goes another era of American prosperity and global influence.Let Obama proudly ride his beach break wave to the adulation of a greatful America. You can't spend, fuel our cars, receive proper medical treatment and eat adulation as the Bama will soon discover to his horror. What is that sound . . . the sound of a deflated Chicago Bama crew balloon when the reality of 2012 finally sets in. In the meantime, eat, drink and make marry for tomorrow you are defeated.The Turban Torpedo

Monday, May 2, 2011 at 2:51 PM

George Rogers Clark said:

Mr. Greenberg: Are you reading these reader comments? Sir, they are not tired of the drama. They want new leadership that will dramatically reverse the trends in Washington. They are "mad as hell and they aren't going to take it anymore."We are tired of politicians and pundits telling us what we want. We know what we want and there will be more "drama" in 2012. It will be the weeping of the politicians that did not listen to the people."Angry mob", are we? You bet; and here is the kicker: this "angry mob" is more than a majority and the political landscape is going to change in 2012. So, Mr. Greenberg, if you have any political muscle perhaps you can suggest to party leaders (both parties) that there is something going on out here in the real world. But, hey, do not get all dramatic; you may disturb their smug sense of well being.

Monday, May 2, 2011 at 9:38 PM