Dem pollster: What Obama really needs is an Oklahoma City moment

posted at 12:15 pm on November 5, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Occasionally, political pundits get so wrapped up in their analysis that they don’t think through all of the implications of their commentary. That happened to Mark Penn, longtime Democratic pollster, in his appearance on Hardball last night, in the most charitable explanation possible.  Eyeblast’s Joe Schoffstall clips this magic moment from the discussion with Chris Matthews on how disconnected Barack Obama has become from the American electorate, and what it will take for him to reconnect, using Bill Clinton as an example:

President Clinton reconnected with Oklahoma. And the President right now he seems removed. And it wasn’t until that speech that he really clicked with the American people. Obama needs a similar kind of, yeah.

So it will take a terrorist attack for people to like Obama, or perhaps a natural disaster? That’s what Penn says here, and it’s worth noting that Matthews doesn’t bat an eyelash at the suggestion. Had a Republican pollster suggested in 2004 or 2006 that George Bush could really use an “Oklahoma” to reconnect to the American people, the media would have run endless stories about “wag the dog” notions.

It’s also worth noting that Obama did have that opportunity a year ago in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings, a massacre at least inspired by al-Qaeda that left 14 dead and more wounded.  Instead of reconnecting to the American people in his speech that day, Obama took two minutes to give “shout-outs” to his allies at the conference that got interrupted by news of the attack before getting to the attack itself.

Also, this notion that Clinton needed the domestic-terrorist attack to reconnect to the electorate is ludicrous.  Clinton always had a talent for making emotional connections to voters.  His problem in 1994-5 wasn’t a lack of emotional connection but having drifted too far left and too fast, and losing control of his agenda.  He righted the ship by “triangulating” on the Republican agenda and staring down Newt Gingrich.  Even during impeachment, when it became known that he had lied under oath, Clinton remained personally connected to the electorate and survived because of it.

I don’t believe for a moment that Mark Penn wants another terrorist attack on the United States.  I do think he should be a lot more careful about what prescriptions he offers for Obama’s revival.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Whoa. That guy needs to upgrade his “Filter”.

portlandon on November 5, 2010 at 12:17 PM

This guy needs a run out of town on a rail moment.

Mr. Joe on November 5, 2010 at 12:18 PM

In other words, he’ll start caring once he starts seeing enough American carcasses lying about???

ted c on November 5, 2010 at 12:18 PM

He’s already had opportunities for this. He’s failed.

cjtony97 on November 5, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Could you imagine the squeeks and squeals from the left if a Republican said this?

Mr. Joe on November 5, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Even during impeachment, when it became known that he had lied under oath, Clinton remained personally connected to the electorate and survived because of it.

true

ted c on November 5, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Is this clip already on Prison Planet?

If anything happens, you’ll see this in Loose Change Part Duex…

ninjapirate on November 5, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Let’s hope Bill Ayers wasn’t watching.

ChrisB on November 5, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Isn’t this like the Dem who was thrilled that Hurricane Gustav was going to happen during the Repub convention in 2008. Do they really wish bad things to happen to good people to advance their causes?

UnderstandingisPower on November 5, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Sounds like someone’s asking for a Reichstag fire.

Sgt Steve on November 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

I’m shocked this happened on Matthews’ show. He sets such a strong example of professionalism, rationality and well reasoned analogies.

forest on November 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Joe Schoffstall needs to find a new career. And I am assuming Chrissy “Tingles” Matthew did not call him on it. Chris? Are you hypnotised Chris?

Mr. Joe on November 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

It’s sad that someone can get so caught up in trying to figure out a way to humanize/Americanize President Obama that they lose sight of the fact that their scenerios would mean actual dead humans/Americans.

myrenovations on November 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Obama also had a chance in the BP oil spill to step up and be presidential.

He golfed instead.

S. Weasel on November 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

0bama needs to be impeached, then he can connect with golfing 24/7.

Rebar on November 5, 2010 at 12:21 PM

The decimation of the Gulf Coast wasn’t enough of a disaster? Did the “I need to find out whose a$$ to kick” didn’t do the trick?

DrAllecon on November 5, 2010 at 12:21 PM

It is just like adding makeup to a hooker. Turn out the lights and you are still with a hooker.

Limerick on November 5, 2010 at 12:21 PM

I’m sure that Billy Jeff is sitting in his study over the last few nights just yucking it up and busting a gut laughing about what is going on. The next time he sees Obama or another one of his Dem buddies, he’s going to remind them about how right he was when he said that Obama would be fetching them coffee back in the day.

ted c on November 5, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Well,Demonizing Rush so far hasn’t worked for Hopey,
and it sure back-fired when Bill Clinton tried that
stunt too,in connection to Oklahoma City as well!

canopfor on November 5, 2010 at 12:22 PM

As the boss emeritas reminds us, one year ago today fourteen Americans were massacered at the hands of a jihadist at Fort Hood, TX. Obama responded by….

chaswv on November 5, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Stand back, Communications Pro at Work!

james23 on November 5, 2010 at 12:24 PM

TN floods
underwear bomber
Times Sq bomber
Ft Hood
and other “crises of opportunity” real and created.

Just off the top of my head…he failed, he didn’t “bite his lip” “feel any pain” or “connect.”

Brat on November 5, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Good grief! Are all liberals nuts? Wait, I know the answer!!!!

chai on November 5, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Barry also had the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, but all he did was
blame BP, snub other countries when they offered to help, and initiate a blanket moratorium that banned offshore energy development and drilling. This moratorium will cost Louisiana thousands of jobs.

anXdem on November 5, 2010 at 12:25 PM

I’m sure he meant Obama needs a “right wing” act of terrorism to club the republicans with.

Shtetl G on November 5, 2010 at 12:26 PM

I’m sorry,they are INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wishing,er Hoping for a CRISIS,and a body-count is just
sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo far over the line!

These people are SICK!
========================

If you do remember that carnage,this is a picture
that is forever burn’t deeply into my memory banks,
***************************************************

http://www.kenpittman.com/content_images/2/firefighter.jpg

canopfor on November 5, 2010 at 12:27 PM

S. Weasel on November 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

You beat me to it.

anXdem on November 5, 2010 at 12:27 PM

I’m sure he meant Obama needs a “right wing” act of terrorism to club the republicans with.

Shtetl G on November 5, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Or else a sign advocating for the Second Amendment at a Tea Party rally.

ChrisB on November 5, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Dem pollster: What Obama really needs is an Oklahoma City moment

The problem for the Dems is that Obama is the bomber!!!

landlines on November 5, 2010 at 12:28 PM

I don’t believe for a moment that Mark Penn wants another terrorist attack on the United States. I do think he should be a lot more careful about what prescriptions he offers for Obama’s revival.

It’s nice that you continue to give the progressives the benefit of the doubt. How many times do we hear them suggest that Americans need to die in order for their pet causes to be successful. Just maybe if they would quit talking about the need to cull the human herd I might be as forgiving as you.

chemman on November 5, 2010 at 12:29 PM

As the boss emeritas reminds us, one year ago today fourteen Americans were massacered at the hands of a jihadist at Fort Hood, TX. Obama responded by….

chaswv on November 5, 2010 at 12:23 PM

chaswv:Yes,exactlty,he responded by doing Sweet F/A,
and still couldn’t say,”Terrorist”,great point!

canopfor on November 5, 2010 at 12:29 PM

BO has had plenty of opportunities to ‘connect’ with the public. The unemployment situation is an ongoing opportunity about which he refuses to do what is necessary.

Do we need more dead Americans to wake him up? Good grief. He had that opportunity as well and told us ‘not to jump to conclusions.’

He can’t connect because he isn’t ideologically connected to this country and its people. Of course, liberals can’t figure this out because most of them feel the same way.

Cody1991 on November 5, 2010 at 12:29 PM

This moratorium will has cost Louisiana thousands of jobs.

anXdem on November 5, 2010 at 12:25 PM

FIFY

chemman on November 5, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Let’s hope Bill Ayers wasn’t watching.
ChrisB on November 5, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Sounds like someone’s asking for a Reichstag fire.
Sgt Steve on November 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

With friends like that…

Chip on November 5, 2010 at 12:32 PM

He had his chance with the Fort Hood terrorist shootings. He chose to give a shout out to Chief Joe Medicine Crow instead.

halfastro on November 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM

No thanks.

Obama had his chance at Ft. Hood shooting. And we got the first 10 min for him ‘shouting outs’ for his buddies.

Sir Napsalot on November 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Nope. Even an Oklahoma moment would not help because “we can absorb this.”

tims472 on November 5, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Isn’t Islam supposed to launch a bunch of “Mumbais this month? Just what the doctor ordered. And W won’t be around to assure us that Islam is actually awesome. Could be the moment for O to take over and tell us Islam is truly awesome.

Meanwhile in the real world, Islam strikes back against the racist American voters of Oklahoma.

BL@KBIRD on November 5, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Umm, now I remember this guy – he was chief strategist to Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president. He’s an expert at saying this kind of garbage.

Brat on November 5, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Do we need more dead Americans to wake him up? Good grief. He had that opportunity as well and told us ‘not to jump to conclusions.’

He can’t connect because he isn’t ideologically connected to this country and its people. Of course, liberals can’t figure this out because most of them feel the same way.

Cody1991 on November 5, 2010 at 12:29 PM

you’d think that a guy that has sponsored some of the most heinous abortion legislation in existence, as well as death panels, just might have an issue with demonstrating sympathy and personal connection.

What makes any of these pollsters think that the “sheer magnitude” or “horror” of an incident would needle up Obama’s give-a-sh!t-o-meter past the threshold where he could a) make it look like he does give a sh!t and b)convince any sane person that he actually does?

over to you, Mr. Penn.

ted c on November 5, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Nope. Even an Oklahoma moment would not help because “we can absorb this.”

Exactly what I was going to say. Half the country could drop off the face of the planet and Obama would lecture us about how we caused it by being intolerant about global warming and/or the Religion of Peace.

Vera on November 5, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Obama has his moment…already.

Remember way back when it was popular to declare Afghanistan the “good war” and Iraq a distraction? Obama should. He said it often enough.

So, Mr. Obama, when you gonna reconnect with the “good war” and get it over with? In it to win it? Or was all the talk about the “good war” merely one of those rhetorical campaign thingies?

Obama’s problem is not communication, or the lack of an Oklahoma City moment, or not being able to reconnect with the American people. Obama’s problem is there is no there there. He is as empty a suit today as he has always been.

coldwarrior on November 5, 2010 at 12:39 PM

So,in the Liberal Mind-Set,he/she needs a Catostrophic
Terrorist Attack to “Connent with the People”,so that
the President can feel more sumpin..sumpin….

and,

in the Lefty Liberal viewpoint thats how they see,I guess
Duty,Honour,and Sacrifice,through a “Man-Made-Disaster” to
bring everyone together……………

but,for a Very Sick Thoughtage of Bringing’n Americans
together to help a Presidents Standing,Poll Numbers,and
out of a Political Slump,this is Pure F”n Maddness….

And besides,lets entertain this Sick Thoughtage,and were
talking a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT PRESIDENT HERE,after the bomb
goes off,and hand wringing,and finger-pointing……..

it’ll take a REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT TO HUNT DOWN THE ANIMALS
WHO DID IT,while TEAM LEFT ARE WHINNING ABOUT THE GAWDDAM*
RIGHTS OF THE KA-BLEWY’ERS WHO DID IT!!!

OH YA,THEIR INSANE ALRIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on November 5, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Yep. After all, that’s what lefties think citizens are best used for: Cannon fodder for the glory of Democrat politicians.

November 2012 can’t get here soon enough…..

djm1992 on November 5, 2010 at 12:40 PM

It is moments like this that have me convinced that MSNBC has become a virtual magnet for maniacal lunatics and certified wack-jobs.

How else do you explain loons like this assclown being given airtime to promote his insane theory? He would never have gotten past the parking lot at Fox or even CNN with this bucket of spew he was spraying all over MSNBC!

pilamaye on November 5, 2010 at 12:41 PM

I don’t believe for a moment that Mark Penn wants another terrorist attack on the United States.

You sure? Your talking about a political party that believes the end justifies the means. After all, “Never let a crisis go to waste”.

GarandFan on November 5, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Obama had these moments with the murders by a Muslim at Ft. Hood and the BP Gulf oil spill. He rose to the occassions with shout outs and admonishments to plug the dam* hole.

JimP on November 5, 2010 at 12:41 PM

The problem is that post-9/11 and with the absence of any terrorist attacks in the U.S. under Bush, a major terrorist attack now, with at least 100 or more people dead, doesn’t necessarily help Obama long-term, because then the questions arise why wasn’t the FBI, CIA or other federal agencies able to find out about this attack in advance?

Now if Penn wants to say what Obama needs is some Oklahoma City attack carried out by someone exactly like Tim McVeigh — i.e. white and seen as a fanatical supporter of the militia movement — as opposed to a terror attack with any Islamist or other radical group connections, that’s a different story. But I don’t think even Mark or any other Democrats are ready yet to say “We need a conservative white guy mass murderer to save Obama’s presidency.”

jon1979 on November 5, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Clinton always had a talent for making emotional connections to voters

Clinton was a superb confidence man.

He possessed just the right amount of disarming friendliness without any of that oily dishonesty that mars the performance of so many “old school” con artists, like myself, for instance.

My problem is that, when I deceive, you can see it coming a mile away because I’m such an obvious bunko operator. Clinton, he, by comparison, can be long gone before you ever realize that he’s emptied your bank account and made off with the silverware.

FlameWarrior on November 5, 2010 at 12:43 PM

ted c on November 5, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Liberals live in a dream world and refuse to deal with reality. BO is a creation of their fantasies. And it’s all a complete flop. Now they have to explain the inexplicable.

Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and that’s what they’ve got.

Cody1991 on November 5, 2010 at 12:43 PM

0bama needs to be impeached, then he can connect with golfing 24/7.

Rebar on November 5, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Rebar: Sooner,hopefully,then later:)

canopfor on November 5, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Obama had these moments with the murders by a Muslim at Ft. Hood and the BP Gulf oil spill. He rose to the occassions with shout outs and admonishments to plug the dam* hole.

JimP on November 5, 2010 at 12:41 PM

the leftist mindset is that military servicemembers volunteer to join the military and their deaths are simply a result of their volunteerism. Many of them think “they had it coming.” Case in point, those whackjobs that jeer at military funerals. I’m not conflating the WH lack of connection with the FH incident with those people, but the failure to connect and care for military servicemembers is a troubling aspect of all Democrat (this war is lost…) leadership.

say it ain’t so.

ted c on November 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

In other words, he’ll start caring once he starts seeing enough American carcasses lying about???

ted c on November 5, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Nah, we can absorb another hit.

mizflame98 on November 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Let’s put aside the gruesome inappropriateness of Mark Penn’s remark and look at it with the cold-blooded tactical eyes of a soulless political operative. Ed is right, Obama has had such moments.

1) Fort Hood shooting
2) The Christmas Day undi-bomber
3) innumerable atrocities on foreign soil (Mumbai massacres, the post-election violence in Iran, etc.)

Obama has voted “present” on all of them. You can’t win points by rising to the occasion if it’s not in your character.

Jill1066 on November 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

O/T,Rush is on Obama’s IDIOTCY About
High-speed Rail,and Internet,you know,
more efffective and smarter,

jobs that is!!

Insane/Out of Touch!

canopfor on November 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

mars the performance of so many “old school” con artists, like myself, for instance.

FlameWarrior on November 5, 2010 at 12:43 PM

FlameWarrior:LOL,yes I do remember those younger days!:)

canopfor on November 5, 2010 at 12:47 PM

The decimation of the Gulf Coast wasn’t enough of a disaster? Did the “I need to find out whose a$$ to kick” didn’t do the trick?

DrAllecon on November 5, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Yes. The oil spill in the gulf could have been Obama’s Oklahoma reponse. Instead it will be equated to Bush’s Katrina response. (Even though it was LA’s political leaders and (ahem) a hurricane who are to blame)

shick on November 5, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Dead Americans=Collateral damage, all in the name of advancing the greater good.

Jvette on November 5, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Our president stinks. Period. What would it take to rescue his ratings? A massive dose of humility to combat his narcisim.

shick on November 5, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Thankfully, Mark Penn is an ex-Republican. Are the American people listening to what these people say?

paul1149 on November 5, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Dead Americans=Collateral damage, all in the name of advancing the greater good.

Jvette on November 5, 2010 at 12:49 PM

The spirit of Stalin, Mao and Adolf lives.

coldwarrior on November 5, 2010 at 12:51 PM

In other words, he’ll start caring once he starts seeing enough American carcasses lying about???

ted c on November 5, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Ted: Impossible – he just doesn’t have the caring gene in him. If it doesn’t show in the aftermath of the Ft. Hood shootings, it’s just not there.

silvernana on November 5, 2010 at 12:53 PM

These old hacks need to find something else to do. It is just the same old nonsense day after day.

echosyst on November 5, 2010 at 12:54 PM

I don’t believe for a moment that Mark Penn wants another terrorist attack on the United States.

You are either too nice or completely misguided on this Ed! He certainly does want some type of disastrous event to save the democrats. Exactly the reason for Reid’s “The war is lost” statement and the general attempts by the left to lose the Iraq war at any cost. It was the Iraq War and the failed economy that brought Obama and the democrats into power. A failed economy I might add, that was orchestrated by the left.

csdeven on November 5, 2010 at 12:55 PM

What a dadgum stupid and callous thing to say. This guy is supposed to a learned mand and a spokesperson? Spare me.

kingsjester on November 5, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Also, this notion that Clinton needed the domestic-terrorist attack to reconnect to the electorate is ludicrous

From Frontline:

The Oklahoma City bombing provided Bill Clinton with an opportunity to stand out as a leader. Just at a time when Newt Gingrich and the Republican agenda dominated the political arena and Clinton felt the need to reaffirm his relevance, he was able to bring the country together as only a president could.

Backing up to 1995, there was a primetime press conference, April 18th, and the president is asked about this sort of feeling in the press in Washington that the Republicans seemed to be dominating the debate at this time. And the president in this press conference says, “The president is still relevant here.”

Stephanopoulos: Channeling Dick Morris. Dick Morris was telling him to buck up his confidence, “The president is still relevant, the president is still relevant.” Perfect example of the stage direction coming out of the actor’s mouth, as opposed to the script.

When that comment showed up on the front pages of all of the papers the next day, what were you thinking?

Stephanopoulos: There wasn’t a lot of time to think about it. I think late the next morning the Oklahoma City bombing happened, and the president was relevant.

Panetta: When the Oklahoma bombing came, his capacity to get out there and, first of all, speak to the American people in a calm way and reassure them, and ask them not to kind of prejudge what had happened here, and then what he did following up on that, in terms of dealing with the victims and what took place there, I think that, more than anything, brought out the human side of Bill Clinton. And people really, for the first time in a long time, connected with the president and what he was trying to be and who he was.

McCurry: Well, it was a defining moment in many ways because all Americans needed a president to kind of come and help us understand this horrible event. We needed someone that really would speak to our capacity to get beyond the tragedy, our capacity to think through the realities of the kind of world we live in now where something like this could happen. We needed a president, quite frankly, to shut down some of the anti-Arab hysteria that almost swept this country. Because remember, in the first several hours, everyone was pointing fingers at Arab terrorists, which turned out to be obviously wrong.

So, we needed a president. And I think by needing a president and by Bill Clinton stepping in and filling that role more than adequately at that moment, that was kind of a turn around moment for his presidency.

Emanuel: Early on, remember, people are criticizing him for being a prime minister and not a president. Oklahoma is that moment in which he emerges dogmatically and in his voice as a president. And I think the American people can see him there. Reagan did it in the Challenger blow up. I think in Oklahoma this president was a unifier. And it was a critical moment where we were looking in at ourselves and we saw the enemy. And he was able to bring out in a very dark moment of revenge, I think, the better angels of our spirit as a country.

~snip~

LINK

KittyLowrey on November 5, 2010 at 12:58 PM

The DOTUS can’t connect with the American People because he’t not one of us (in the sense that for some reason he just seems like an impersonal robot).

In addition, he doesn’t know Mom and Pop and Small town America. He knows America from what he’s read at Harvard or what he’s been told from Alinsky or his lefty pals like Ayers. We know from his own words what he thinks about the Colonialists and Slave holders that wrote the Constitution (“a set of negative rights”).

Remember when he coldly talked to the lady with the mother that had the pacemaker installed? He just matter of factly said you should have just given her the pain pill and let her die.

Remember how he was the only State Senator in Illinois that wouldn’t support giving an abortion surviving baby medical treatment and would prefer to let them die on a table or wherever than help the child.

Peoples that’s just cold cold hearted. How can most Americans connect with that chilly of a personality?

PappyD61 on November 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM

The decimation of the Gulf Coast wasn’t enough of a disaster? Did the “I need to find out whose a$$ to kick” didn’t do the trick?

DrAllecon on November 5, 2010 at 12:21 PM

The most animated moment of his presidency so far (other than the Cambridge police episode) was vowing to make BP pay up. Squeezing $20BB lit his lights up. However, when Jindal met with him to discuss the loss of jobs due to the drilling moratorium, BO’s response was that workers could collect unemployment. Such empathy. His attitude that people who want gainful employment and a future should be satisfied with unemployment benefits speaks to his mentality in general. I guess those are people who have “made enough?” Or perhaps he thinks we’re the same as the people he’s used to hanging out on the street corners of S. Side Chicago.

He is truly a malignant narcissist, the center of his own little universe, and little else exists.

Cody1991 on November 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Remembering Oklahoma City, and How Bill Clinton Saved His Presidency

Exactly 15 years ago yesterday, then-President Clinton was forced to declare at a press conference, “I’m relevant. The Constitution gives me relevance.” Health-care reform was dead, and Hillary Clinton seemed discredited. Both houses of Congress had gone Republican, and the GOP was rolling out its legislative plans.

The next morning, the Oklahoma City Federal Building exploded. Pundits would go on to write that it was the government shutdown later that year that allowed Clinton to trump the Republicans, but it was actually Oklahoma City that first allowed him to step forward as a national leader. As speechwriter Michael Waldman wrote in his book POTUS Speaks: “It was the nation’s first exposure to Clinton as mourner in chief … In fact, it was the first time Clinton had been a reassuring figure rather than an unsettling one.”

Even more than that, Oklahoma City created a huge political opportunity, which Clinton quickly seized. On April 27, a little more than a week after the bombing, Dick Morris, then a little-known but influential Clinton adviser, presented the President a fantastically naked political memo that, as you can find in his book Behind the Oval Office: Getting Reelected Against All Odds, said: “Permanent possible gain: sets up Extremist Issue vs. Republicans.” Morris suggested using “extremism as issue against Republicans,” not by “direct accusations,” but via a “ricochet theory.”

Clinton should “stimulate national concern over extremism and terror,” Morris wrote, and then “implement intrusive policy against extremist groups.” Morris predicted that radical right-wingers would write their local Republican congressmen, and that in turn “this will provoke criticism by right-wing Republicans which will link right-wing of the party to extremist groups.”

“Net effect,” Morris concluded: “Self-inflicted linkage between party and extremists.”

The Clinton Justice Department didn’t go as far as Morris wanted, but it didn’t matter. Republican members of Congress soon made fools of themselves defending militias. And Clinton found his voice. At a Michigan State commencement address shortly afterward, he told graduates, “There is nothing patriotic about hating your country, or pretending that you can love your country but despise your government.”

In his memoirs, Clinton didn’t mention the Morris memo, but wrote: “The haters and extremists didn’t go away, but they were on the defensive, and, for the rest of my term, would never quite regain the position they had enjoyed after Timothy McVeigh took the demonization of government beyond the limits of humanity.” Indeed, Oklahoma City gave Clinton the chance to pull his presidency together by advancing a positive agenda of triangulated social issues. And that strategy reached full flower in his 1996 State of the Union speech, where Clinton introduced a man named Richard Dean, a Vietnam vet who had worked in the Oklahoma City Federal Building and who re-entered the building four times to rescue people after it blew up. As everyone, including Republicans, stood to applaud, Clinton went on:

But Richard Dean’s story doesn’t end there. This last November, he was forced out of his office when the government shut down. And the second time the government shut down, he continued helping Social Security recipients, but he was working without pay … I challenge all of you in this chamber: Never, ever shut the federal government down again.

That’s how much Clinton got it: He explicitly linked the terror of Oklahoma City to the federal shutdown, and both to the Republican Congress. After that, Clinton barely needed to look over his shoulder to get reelected.

KittyLowrey on November 5, 2010 at 1:01 PM

yeah the whole oil spill thing, it just wasn’t right

tarpon on November 5, 2010 at 1:03 PM

An Oklahoma City/ 9-11/ Katrina would conclusively prove what a poor, ineffective president this failure is. He can not lead, he can only preach.

Greek Fire on November 5, 2010 at 1:05 PM

That’s how much Clinton got it: He explicitly linked the terror of Oklahoma City to the federal shutdown, and both to the Republican Congress. After that, Clinton barely needed to look over his shoulder to get reelected.

KittyLowrey on November 5, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Interesting. So we can pin the blame for that on Dick Morris then?

silvernana on November 5, 2010 at 1:08 PM

The problem is that Teleprompters aren’t designed to sit on top of mounds of rubble.

Kafir on November 5, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Wow! Just Wow!

esnap on November 5, 2010 at 1:16 PM

This is little different from Rahm Emanuel saying that a crisis can be a big help in ‘getting things done’. If you accept that, you are open to the ghastly calculus of death tolls vs the benefit of ‘getting things done’.

slickwillie2001 on November 5, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Obama already had his “natural disaster” opportunity in the Gulf of Mexico, and he flubbed it terribly. Does he get a second chance?

unclesmrgol on November 5, 2010 at 1:20 PM

in the most charitable explanation possible.

And there, my friends, is a big reason HotAir is not always on my “must check” list any more.

In a hallucinogenic, orwellian nightmare world where there is nothing resembling a real press, and the most pernicious and vile (and consequential) behavior and public performance by so-called libs and Dems and statists are either ignored or accepted (that is, normalized), HotAir will twist itself into a pretzel to pooh-pooh or excuse many examples of it.

And yet if someone pushes back or reacts to this outrageous stuff, HotAir (usually AP) will leap to action, nitpicking and tsk-tsk’ing because I mean you can’t really sit by while such unpleasantness is vented by people (who often aren’t coastal types with Ivy associations, I mean, really). Recall how that aggressive, unscrupulous, edgy McCain campaign was policed closely to make sure it didn’t make charges or imply things that would cause your typical Beltway pointy-head to shake their heads and deplore as unsophisticated or something.

Sigh. No, HotAir, “charitable” explanations are absurd, and consequential. Career-ending statements and actions no longer are – on the left, racist, greed-and-envy obsessed, de facto pro-totalitarian side of the spectrum – and it matters. This idiot pollster is not a big deal, but the principle and pattern are a very big deal.

When the (very real) situation calls for actual red meat, tragically, this place usually has only mashed-potato sandwiches on offer ….

IceCold on November 5, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Obama just had the political equivalent of disaster this week with the mid-term elections.
His reply to this wipe out of Democrats from state-level to Congress: Poor communications of his wonderful policies.

Maybe if Obama would have just done one more MTV show or gone on Oprah 3 more times, maybe did David Letterman’s “Top 10″ schtick or appeared as a judge at the Miss American Beauty Pageant or done a duet with Miss Piggy (not Michelle, the puppet) on Sesame Street then his message would have gotten out about his policies and the Democrats would not have lost one seat in the last elections.

albill on November 5, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Sgt Steve on November 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Yes, it does. He’s incorrect though. Nothing is going to help ODumBass, because he keeps flipping off the American People.

dogsoldier on November 5, 2010 at 1:32 PM

I don’t think Obama could handle an Oklahoma City and I don’t think a spontaneous “But I hear you!” moment is possible with him. He would have to learn to say something of substance without the TOTUS.

mwbri on November 5, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Yeah, but if he had an “Okalahoma moment” Obama would take the kids out for ice cream and buy some shrimp.

vcferlita on November 5, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Behold the compassion and superior intellect of our progressive overlords!!

ya2daup on November 5, 2010 at 2:39 PM

As pointed out above, Penn is just giving an alternate phrasing of “never let a crisis go to waste.”

Expect an outbreak of assassination pr0n in the near future. Obama the Clueless has become a drag on the Progressives. Barack the Martyr would be an enormous asset.

Regards,
Ric

warlocketx on November 5, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Given his performance so far, I don’t think there’s anything that can connect Barack Obama with the American people. And I sure don’t want another terrorist event, because I don’t trust him to even begin to know what to do.

RebeccaH on November 5, 2010 at 3:33 PM

And Chrissy just let it slide…

29Victor on November 5, 2010 at 3:43 PM

I don’t think Obama could handle an Oklahoma City

mwbri on November 5, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Of course he could have handled it. He would have apologized for all of the people in the building that day, bowed to Tim McVeigh and blamed President Bush.

29Victor on November 5, 2010 at 3:46 PM

hey,Obama had those floods he ignored because they were in the white part of the country.

Also, Obama would muck up a terror attack because he’d blame Christians. And the only lesson he would draw from it is the importance of not profiling people, except for whites and christians.

joeindc44 on November 5, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Yeah, the BP incident really helped Dear Reader reconnect.

RedNewEnglander on November 5, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Would a terrorism bombing at the white house with the president in it count?

BruceB on November 5, 2010 at 4:53 PM

It’s also worth noting that Obama did have that opportunity a year ago in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings, a massacre at least inspired by al-Qaeda that left 14 dead and more wounded.

He had spent two years downplaying terrorism and blaming the Bush policies for all the ill will. He couldn’t use this.

Besides, Clinton didn’t just connect over Oklahoma, he used it as a weapon against the right turning them into the enemies of clear thinking Americans.

LifeTrek on November 5, 2010 at 6:48 PM

Sickening.

No other word for this.

SuperCool on November 5, 2010 at 10:16 PM

This mindless bastard needs to kiss my ass. I was there.
Those kids, the sweet ladies from my credit union…

On behalf of my fellows Okies, guy, STFU.

Lonevoice on November 5, 2010 at 10:58 PM

He already did… ‘the police acted stupidly’.

RalphyBoy on November 6, 2010 at 12:26 AM

Obama has his ‘Oklahoma’ moment, and he has his ‘Kathrina’ moment. Anything else America should have to go through so he could have more moments?

Phoenician on November 6, 2010 at 2:15 PM

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