What We Have Here, Children, is a Failure to Communicate

President Obama is having less luck in backyards and town halls than he’d hoped. He and his team seem firmly convinced their troubles are all, as the Captain said to Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke,” “a failure to communicate.” 

Further, they think that failure is the fault of an ignorant, stupid, stubborn citizenry, who can’t grasp just how wise and beneficent Obama has been. The possibility that we have all gotten his messages, understand them fully, and reject them is beyond his and his team’s imagination. Obama doesn’t see this as a failure of his policies, his integrity or even of his communication, but entirely a failure on our part to understand. Dummies that we are.

The young actor in the new Wall Street movie, Shia LeBeof, told USA Today on Sept. 24, “People think we can’t have soup kitchens here again? It’s going to get rough … if there was an optimist in me, he is dead.”  That article describes how the young acto radmirably did serious preparatory work for his role, including a month learning to day-trade and hanging out with brokers, analysts, money managers and economists.

I’m sure that Team Obama is much smarter about the economy than this kid. I am sure of that, aren’t I? 

No matter. I’m an advertising man. I live in the perception-is-reality world. If people share his beliefs, they are not going to spend, invest, innovate, create jobs or do much of anything else. Poor and rich alike, they will hunker down and hoard.

The question is: are we all as astoundingly stupid and gracelessly unappreciative as the President believes us to be? Are we perhaps badly in need of the kind of re-education that prison Captain gave Mr. Newman, in attempt cure that failure to understand. When that woman in the town hall told the president that she was exhausted with defending him and he chose to lecture her about his accomplishment in imposing new restrictions on credit card companies, I imagine he would have preferred lecturing her in a more forceful manner – like with a baseball bat, followed by a week in the hole.

If we are as dumb as he believes us to be, woe unto us all, for democracy will die in the hands of the spectacularly stupid, intellectually slothful, and inconceivably ignorant.

The trouble is: we appear to have enough common-sense to foresee soup kitchens if we continue apace on his mad race of debt manufacture, business destruction, job creation paralysis, and the demonization of job providers and creators. “Transformation.” That’s Obama’s word for it.

Much of the media goes along with his view of us; if not to his extreme, close. They target the Tea Party activists as especially stupid and ignorant, as well as racist and dangerous. But some (think Chris Matthews) do not limit their disdain and disgust. They voice astonishment at the entire citizenry’s inability to comprehend all the good Obama has done and is doing.

Personally, I resent all of it. I’m not like Obama, his insiders, Mr. Mathews and other Obama-apologist pundits, and liberal or socialist college professors making the rounds on TV whining about how dumb we all are in not appreciating how virtuous Obama-spending, Obama-job saving and Obamacare is. I have actually created jobs – still do. I’ve met payrolls, built small businesses from scratch, and made myself into one of those evil rich deserving of punishing taxes. I wonder: if I can do all that, how dumb can I actually be?

Most recently, Obama has turned his ire from just us conservatives, us business owners, those of us who’ve made ourselves rich, to his own previously ardent and faithful supporters of the left. He has told them to buck up, stop all their pitiable, annoying whining, shelve their buyer’s remorse, and get their sorry butts to the polls to preserve his rubber-stamp Democrat majority.

This is a very thin-skinned fellow, who does not appreciate anybody questioning his judgment or performance, or pointing out the damage and destruction he’s wrought. Not Fox News. Not a woman who voted for him, in a town hall meeting.

He promised transparency and has delivered none – except his transparent disdain and annoyance with you and I and every citizen; anyone who would do anything but shut up and hand over their money.

Dan Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur, adviser to business owners, sought-after speaker and author of 14 books. His latest, “Make ‘Em Laugh & Take Their Money: A Few Thoughts on Using Humor as a Speaker or Writer or Sales Professional for Purposes of Persuasion,”  contains a selection of his BMI essays. More information about Dan can be found at www.NoBSBooks.com, and a free collection of his business resources including newsletters and webinars at www.DanKennedy.com.

Like this article? Sign up for “The Balance Sheet,” BMI’s weekly e-mail newsletter.