Tell me where you’ve heard analysis like this before:
[Candidate A] appears to be connecting more effectively than [Candidate B] with how certain voter groups feel about the economy and the country’s future, whereas [Canidate B] has been focused more on offering solutions rather than giving voice to their concerns.
“[Candidate B’s] message has tended to focus on solutions and not really reflect back to people the feelings that they have. [Candidate A] is reflecting back to people their feelings.”
That is a bit of a paraphrase of what Greg Sargent is hearing from some political consultants about the contest between Bernie Sanders (Candidate A) and Hillary Clinton (Candidate B). While not stated specifically, the feelings being referred to seem to be the fear and anger “about the economy and the country’s future” that so many people are talking about during this election.
The first thing I noticed is that this is also what we’ve been hearing for years now about President Obama in comparison to Republicans. It all started back in 2010 during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill when folks like Maureen Dowd and James Carville expressed their need for a daddy-president.
President Spock’s behavior is illogical.
Once more, he has willfully and inexplicably resisted fulfilling a signal part of his job: being a prism in moments of fear and pride, reflecting what Americans feel so they know he gets it.
“This president needs to tell BP, ’I’m your daddy,’ “ scolded James Carville, a New Orleans resident, as he called Barack Obama’s response to Louisiana’s new watery heartbreak “lackadaisical.”
At least Carville had the wisdom to eventually admit that he was wrong about President Obama – who was actually busy working on solutions rather than reflecting our fears. Maureen Dowd has simply been joined by a chorus of others echoing her belief that it is the job of the President of the United States to “reflect back to the people their feelings.” The most recent episode being when a lot of people thought he didn’t express enough anger and fear about ISIS after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.
I have to admit that I am totally mystified about where this assumption comes from. I would suggest that if you need someone to “reflect your feelings back to you,” it’s probably time to see a therapist. To the extent that we think that it is more important for a leader to do that than it is for them to focus on solutions, we seem to be in search of catharsis more than actual progress.
If we are talking about the idea that it is a leader’s job to inspire people to engage with the solutions they are offering, that is a valid question. And like it or not, that is a weakness for Hillary Clinton that is not likely to change. But seriously…when did it become the job of a POTUS to validate our fear and anger? Can someone help me out with that?