Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Gordon Doesn't Get It

Brown is set to deliver his 'carpe diem' speech of a lifetime to a joint Congress but no-one is listening. An icy wind is blowing across the US political landscape with questions about Obama's policies while his popularity remains at an all-time high. 

A frosty photo of Brown and Obama says it all. Deluded Brown just doesn't get it. He has neither the luxury of popularity nor policies. 

A recent NBC/WSJ poll shows starkly the gap between the personal popularity of the president and the popularity of his policies as the administration pretends the crises in the financial and housing sectors will go away, all on their own. 

And that shows potential dangers for Obama and the Democrats, which Brown seems blissfully unaware of. 

Obama now owns the recession. Echoing Brown, he believes massive spending and borrowing will strengthen the country, investing in health care, education, and energy. Like here, critics argue these massive programs will bankrupt the country.

But Democrats know they have a tight grip on Capitol Hill. As long as pet policies are pushed through, they are happy to go along until the wheels finally fall off the Obama bandwagon. Clinton is happy to go along for the ride. 

If the US  continues to borrow, at some point  the world won't be willing to lend, calling into question America's status as a financial safe-haven with higher interest rates the only option.

According to the poll, part of the reason why Obama's numbers remain high, despite these economic fears, is that the public doesn't blame the president for the current state of the economy.

Here Brown has no such luxury. But he's is sticking to his guns with the same tired old mantra blaming everything on global this and that and refusing to wear the hair-shirt and accept some responsibility for causing the mess in the first place. 

Both his chancellor and Brown's buddy Balls have changed the narrative and starting to come clean but those mixed messages coming from government just confuse the public. That's exactly what happens when a government is in terminal decline and collapse.

Alice Miles, writing in The Times, has already fired off a warning shot with a heartfelt plea echoed by the Orange Party yesterday: 

"Nothing will get better on Mr Brown's watch. Not even with the Pope on his side. Not even if he visits Mr Obama every week. Not even with a “partnership of purpose”. We need an election."

Yesterday's shambles finally saw Brown and a weary-looking Obama posing for a photo-op. But behind the scenes the Obama's aides continued to try to drum up support for his budget, arguing with the slick smooth message of hope that spending $3.6 trillion would prove responsible in the long run.

But while Brown addresses the joint Congress, listening politely while Twittering under the table, the US media has latched on to the return of the old warrior, McCain, who has suddenly found fire in his belly

Yesterday, he exploded: "I hope the American people will rise up - rise up!" he exhorted. "If it sounds like I'm angry, it's because I am."

Lashing into Obama's broken election promise to change from the wasteful, disgraceful, corrupting practice of earmark, pork-barrel spending, McCain said the pork-barrel bill is insulting to the American people.

"I want to freely acknowledge that Republicans were guilty of this as well," said the old Mac, back with full fury and wearing a hair-shirt on behalf of the GOP. 

Brown's Audacity of Hype Washington tour was carefully stage-managed to try  to ride on the back of Obama, hoping some of the magic will rub off on him ahead of an election. 

But while Obama continues to be Mr Popular, his policies are turning some into the Mr Angry of Cameron's Conservatives and voters here. 

Without popularity or policies which capture a public mood, Brown has been a dead man sleepwalking on Capitol Hill. 

Can the country really stand another 14 months of a politician obsessed with a general election and how to wrong-foot the Tories? 

The irony is Brown could probably win back a few votes if he would only act in the interests of the country and not of his own arrogant, self-serving interest. 

As Miles in The Times puts it: "Humiliated, hopeless, paralysed. Time to go." 

UPDATE: The 'speech' was finally made as part of a polite, formal, carefully staged-managed, ego-massaging event with Brown receiving exactly the same number of standing ovations - 19 - as Blair. What a coincidence!

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