Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on August 29, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

When a farmer complained to Barack Obama two weeks ago at a townhall meeting about rumors of regulations that would force him and his colleagues to get a commercial driver’s license to operate his farm equipment, the President assured him that it was probably nothing. “Folks in Washington” like to get “ginned up” and shout “Look what’s coming down the pipe,” Obama explained, and offered this advice to the farmer:

Obama’s advice was simple: “Contact USDA.”

“Talk to them directly. Find out what it is that you’re concerned about,” Obama told the man. “My suspicion is, a lot of times, they’re going to be able to answer your questions and it will turn out that some of your fears are unfounded.”

Politico took Obama up on that advice, and discovered that government isn’t really here to help:

Call Uncle Sam. Sensible advice, but perhaps the president has forgotten just how difficult it can be for ordinary citizens to get answers from the government.

When this POLITICO reporter decided to take the president’s advice and call the USDA for an answer to the Atkinson town hall attendee’s question, I found myself in a bureaucratic equivalent of hot potato — getting bounced from the feds to Illinois state agriculture officials to the state farm bureau.

The advice took Politico’s MJ Lee on a two-day odyssey — and still ended up with no answer.  Instead of demonstrating how silly regulatory rumors are, the exercise proved that no one really knows what regulations we have, what has been proposed, and who’s responsible for them.  It turned into a great example of just how overregulated we are and how inefficient the government is at applying regulation.

Update: Interesting comment from Radjah Shelduck:

Ed, this obviously counts as an Obamateurism, but I think it does so for a different reason than you describe. Obama fancies himself a man of the people. Having heard the farmer’s complaint, why on earth couldn’t this alleged man of the people say to one of his staffers, “Okay, I want you to look into this, find the answer, tell me, and then I will call the farmer PERSONALLY and tell him what the policy is.” A politician can gain an awful lot of good will for things like that.

It’s definitely a missed opportunity — and if Obama had said that, I doubt that we would have seen the media follow-up that MJ Lee did in this instance.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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So, in Nov 2012, after Obama gets fired and wonders why the heck it happened, we can tell him to call the USDA and they’ll be happy to explain it to him. Apparently, that’s the only language he understands.

ted c on August 29, 2011 at 8:09 AM

Obama’s advice was simple: “Contact USDA F*** off, I’ve got a campaign to run and an election to win.”

FIFH

fossten on August 29, 2011 at 8:11 AM

So, once again, Obama demonstrates that he is absolutely clueless.

DrStock on August 29, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Ed, this obviously counts as an Obamateurism, but I think it does so for a different reason than you describe. Obama fancies himself a man of the people. Having heard the farmer’s complaint, why on earth couldn’t this alleged man of the people say to one of his staffers, “Okay, I want you to look into this, find the answer, tell me, and then I will call the farmer PERSONALLY and tell him what the policy is.” A politician can gain an awful lot of good will for things like that. In Edward Leuchtenberg’s “The White House Looks South” the author describes how a poor farmer from Mississippi called the White House with a problem, asked to speak with the President, and FDR actually took his call! I don’t know if that is possible in this day and age, but it would never be possible with a president like Obama.

radjah shelduck on August 29, 2011 at 8:14 AM

see what happens when you actually do your job politico?

cmsinaz on August 29, 2011 at 8:14 AM

“Folks in Washington” like to get “ginned up” and shout “Look what’s coming down the pipe,” Obama explained,

Isn’t the correct phrase, “Coming down the pike?”

Beaglemom on August 29, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Isn’t the correct phrase, “Coming down the pike?”

Beaglemom on August 29, 2011 at 8:16 AMNot for crackheads

darwin-t on August 29, 2011 at 8:19 AM

sn’t the correct phrase, “Coming down the pike?”

Beaglemom on August 29, 2011 at 8:16 AMNot

for crackheads

darwin-t on August 29, 2011 at 8:19 AM

OK, I need coffee

darwin-t on August 29, 2011 at 8:20 AM

It turned into a great example of just how overregulated we are and how inefficient the government is at applying regulation.

The government is not inefficient at applying regulation, Ed, and I wish you’d get your mind right on that. Regulation of your activities is directly proportional to your campaign contributions. More of one equals less of the other. How is that not efficient?

SKYFOX on August 29, 2011 at 8:21 AM

Isn’t the correct phrase, “Coming down the pike?”

Beaglemom on August 29, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Nah, he got this one right. Pipe, as in sewage pipe, flowing with more crappy regulations.

ZeeMI on August 29, 2011 at 8:22 AM

Regulation of your activities is directly proportional to your campaign contributions. More of one equals less of the other.

SKYFOX on August 29, 2011 at 8:21 AM

That would be inversely proportional, not directly proportional.

Ed Morrissey on August 29, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Silly people…the government is here to help!

tinkerthinker on August 29, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Since when do you need any kind of license to drive anything on private property?

katy the mean old lady on August 29, 2011 at 8:24 AM

e.f. hutton has nothing to worry about with dear leader….

cmsinaz on August 29, 2011 at 8:26 AM

Obama’s detachment/aloofness from anything outside of the liberal intellectual that adopted him as one of their own a quarter century ago means not only doesn’t he want to mingle with the common folks, he actually believed that if the dumb rural hick called USDA all his problems would be solved. And even after the Politico report, he probably still believes it, and the farmer and the reporter either just got a bad rep on the line, or just didn’t make themselves clear and screwed things up for themselves.

jon1979 on August 29, 2011 at 8:26 AM

That would be inversely proportional, not directly proportional.

Ed Morrissey on August 29, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Thanks, Ed. I knew my wording wasn’t right, but I couldn’t think of the correct term (It’s Monday dammit!) so I went with the wrong one. Brilliant, right?

SKYFOX on August 29, 2011 at 8:27 AM

The government on all levels gains considerable power over individuals by keeping them in a chronic state of non-compliance – or at least in position of being unsure of compliance.

See the tax code. Or call a large municipality and ask what they will need from you in the way of permissions and permits for a construction project and see if you get clear direction.

Administrative incompetence is a statist feature, not a bug.

forest on August 29, 2011 at 8:28 AM

Not only do you NOT need a license, you can use tax-free “red dye diesel” fuel (reduced tax since you’re only operating OFF ROAD EQUIPMENT) for your farm vehicles…

I’m sure PBHO and the gang will be going after red dye fuel next… But call the FDA ot the IRS first to get your answer that’s coming down the pipe…

Sheeeeesh, Ed! When is it going to stop!?

Khun Joe on August 29, 2011 at 8:32 AM

The phrase was originally “Coming down the pike.”

`Coming down the pipe’ bugs me as much as “irregardless’ and I’m a petty enough Nazi grammer police I’d include that as another Obamateurism.

Sarjex on August 29, 2011 at 8:37 AM

US DOT has a proposed regulation on farmers having to be CDL qualified and go through the drug testing for using farm equipment on private land and when on the highways. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/agenda-21-update-family-farms-are-under-attack/

Obama’s EO to save the Chesapeake Bay has caused proposals to have steams and rivers blocked from farm animals and field manure collected to prevent run off; that is if I have my CDL to drive my tractor.

The POLITICO reporter must not know how to Google. Obama misdirected. Obama’s advice was simple: “Contact USDA.” No the Department of Transportation for CDL’s regs not the Department of Agriculture. I wouldn’t expect him to know where to look, but a simple I’ll have someone get back to you wasn’t done. Mr. Know-It-All strikes out again.

amr on August 29, 2011 at 8:37 AM

So if you can’t get straight answers (and you can’t) do you just wait for the police to come to figure it out?

Cindy Munford on August 29, 2011 at 8:38 AM

Oh, the comment time has expired on this regulation.

amr on August 29, 2011 at 8:38 AM

`Coming down the pipe’ bugs me as much as “irregardless’ and I’m a petty enough Nazi grammer police I’d include that as another Obamateurism.

Sarjex on August 29, 2011 at 8:37 AM

Don’t forget “supposably”

darwin-t on August 29, 2011 at 8:43 AM

It’s not just the bad answer he gave, he was probably lying on top of it. You’re going to tell me the President doesn’t know anything about the major regulations, like the one the farmer talked about, coming down the pike? Everyone else has heard about them. If he doesn’t know about it, what does that say about him and what’s going on in his administration?

lowandslow on August 29, 2011 at 8:44 AM

The advice took Politico’s MJ Lee on a two-day odyssey — and still ended up with no answer. Instead of demonstrating how silly regulatory rumors are, the exercise proved that no one really knows what regulations we have, what has been proposed, and who’s responsible for them. It turned into a great example of just how overregulated we are and how inefficient the government is at applying regulation.

Because it’s easier to control the masses when you can apply regulations willy-nilly, whenever and however you like. At ethe very least, it’s fascism.

rbj on August 29, 2011 at 8:47 AM

lowandslow on August 29, 2011 at 8:44 AM

You’re being too generous…do you really think Mr. President has any idea what kinds of regulations are coming “down the pipe”? I doubt it.

scalleywag on August 29, 2011 at 8:47 AM

radjah shelduck on August 29, 2011 at 8:14 AM

That’s a good point, and it highlights just how consistent Obama’s answer was with the rest of the convoluted system as the Politico reporter discovered. His experience was one of repeated run-around in which, instead of answering his questions, his contacts kept simply re-directing him to new contacts, who “helpfully” pointed him to someone else…ad nauseam.

And what started this whole process off?

BlueCollarAstronaut on August 29, 2011 at 8:50 AM

`Coming down the pipe’ bugs me as much as “irregardless’ and I’m a petty enough Nazi grammer police I’d include that as another Obamateurism.

Sarjex on August 29, 2011 at 8:37 AM

Don’t forget “supposably”

darwin-t on August 29, 2011 at 8:43 AM

“I could care less” is my personal favorite, and it applies pretty well to how most officials respond to questions from their subjects.

forest on August 29, 2011 at 8:51 AM

Obama fancies himself a man of the people. Having heard the farmer’s complaint, why on earth couldn’t this alleged man of the people say to one of his staffers, “Okay, I want you to look into this, find the answer, tell me, and then I will call the farmer PERSONALLY and tell him what the policy is.” A politician can gain an awful lot of good will for things like that.

radjah shelduck on August 29, 2011 at 8:14 AM

Remember the first guy that got an artificial heart? President Ronald Reagan called him personally to congratulate him and asked if there was anything he could do for him. The man said he was having trouble getting his Social Security. The next day, the regional head of the Social Security Administration was in that hospital room with a check in hand.

Compare and contrast.

Kafir on August 29, 2011 at 8:56 AM

Coming down the pipe.

For Øbama it’s what’s coming down the bong.

petefrt on August 29, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Nah, he got this one right. Pipe, as in sewage pipe, flowing with more crappy regulations.

Must be a regional thing, then, because I’ve always heard it “pike” as in road. O lived in Hawaii so maybe he used a surfer term ;)

Beaglemom on August 29, 2011 at 9:08 AM

for crackheads

darwin-t on August 29, 2011 at 8:19 AM

OK that was hilarious. (the strikeout in the first comment only made it funnier)

And yes, it is supposed to be “coming down the pike. ” What a flake.

Having heard the farmer’s complaint, why on earth couldn’t this alleged man of the people say to one of his staffers, “Okay, I want you to look into this, find the answer, tell me, and then I will call the farmer PERSONALLY and tell him what the policy is.” A politician can gain an awful lot of good will for things like that.
radjah shelduck on August 29, 2011 at 8:14 AM

So….basically he’s lazy, arrogant and condescending in addition to being stupid. All wrapped up in one incident.

inviolet on August 29, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Having heard the farmer’s complaint, why on earth couldn’t this alleged man of the people say to one of his staffers, “Okay, I want you to look into this, find the answer, tell me, and then I will call the farmer PERSONALLY and tell him what the policy is.” A politician can gain an awful lot of good will for things like that.
radjah shelduck on August 29, 2011 at 8:14 AM

Sorry, Mr. Shelduck — didn’t quote it right.

inviolet on August 29, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Of course, Obama’s comments also reflect the arrogant, patronizing, and condescending attitude that is so much a part of his personality. He could have finished his statement with Put that in your pipe (pike?) and smoke it, Farmer Hick.

Drained Brain on August 29, 2011 at 9:11 AM

Did anyone notice that when The Won took control of FEMA that he had a name plate in front of him that said “Barack Obama, President of the United States”? Does he carry that around with him?

Cindy Munford on August 29, 2011 at 9:14 AM

For Øbama it’s what’s coming down the bong.

petefrt on August 29, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Funny you should mention that. If anybody wants to get into a business that’s scarcely regulated at all, selling weed in Michigan or California would be it.

forest on August 29, 2011 at 9:15 AM

So….basically he’s lazy, arrogant and condescending in addition to being stupid. All wrapped up in one incident.

inviolet on August 29, 2011 at 9:09 AM

That pretty much sums him up.

darwin-t on August 29, 2011 at 9:15 AM

Did anyone notice that when The Won took control of FEMA that he had a name plate in front of him that said “Barack Obama, President of the United States”? Does he carry that around with him?

Cindy Munford on August 29, 2011 at 9:14 AM

He must, otherwise he would forget who he is.

chai on August 29, 2011 at 9:20 AM

“Folks in Washington” like to get “ginned up” and shout “Look what’s coming down the pipe”

He’s doing his folksy routine again. It’s right up there with Kerry’s “where can I get me a hunting license?” in Ohio.

These people are unbearably condescending. They think they know how the common folk speak because they’ve read a Faulkner novel.

obladioblada on August 29, 2011 at 9:27 AM

OK, I need coffee

darwin-t on August 29, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Or more crack.

gh on August 29, 2011 at 9:30 AM

“Folks in Washington” like to get “ginned up” and shout “Look what’s coming down the pipe”

He’s doing his folksy routine again. It’s right up there with Kerry’s “where can I get me a hunting license?” in Ohio.

obladioblada on August 29, 2011 at 9:27 AM

I laugh at the Kerry comparisons. Those two clowns have a lot in common.

Before it’s over, Øbama will probably claim he’s a war hero and invite the press corps to watch him purchase a jock strap.

petefrt on August 29, 2011 at 9:41 AM

I agree with the point raised by Mr. Radjah Shelduck (as you quoted in the above post).

Barack Obama had no hesitation during his infamous campaigning cycle in 2007-2008 in using his podium and microphone to call for “water” and “assistance” for the “fainters” among his adoring if not hypnotized followers, he made no hesitations in imploring others to fund him during all his public and web-based statements…and let no one forget his “coming-down-from-the-high-platform-to-touch-you” moments when females asked for free rent, a mortgage, ‘stuff’…

Obama’s lack of effective assistance to this hard-wired question by a guy in need of how-to help in getting a federal response to his issue just serves to reinforce how out-of-touch with reality he actually is: he is not so much as aware what the ordinary guy experiences when trying to resolve issues WITH (most) federal employees and even the helpful ones are not informed past basic tasks on their job level.

Yes, it’s due to too many regulations for too many issues but Obama is clearly out of touch with the how-to’s of basic management. HIS inquires got green-lighted in HIS life because, to be frank, he was receiving “special responses/special helps” due to Affirmative Action. It’s never permeated Obama’s consciousness that all of that was unusual.

Lourdes on August 29, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Must be a regional thing, then, because I’ve always heard it “pike” as in road. O lived in Hawaii so maybe he used a surfer term ;)

Beaglemom on August 29, 2011 at 9:08 AM

It is “pike”, but the O administration is more familiar with all things sewage and all things smokable, hence the “pipe”.

ZeeMI on August 29, 2011 at 9:47 AM

I saw the name sign, too, and thought, don’t the people at FEMA know who is sitting at the table with them? Do they all have name signs? Is this presidential protocol? It must have been there just for the visual effect on TV.

Kissmygrits on August 29, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Having heard the farmer’s complaint, why on earth couldn’t this alleged man of the people say to one of his staffers,

Anyone wanna take a guess at the race/color of this farmer? Helping white folks doesn’t make great media.

katablog.com on August 29, 2011 at 9:57 AM

“…they’ll get all ginned-up…”

Obama lapses into jive when he’s engaged in jive. Be mindful of the jive.

Lourdes on August 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Maybe Obama knew his staffers would never be able to find the answer either.

HotWeaver on August 29, 2011 at 10:05 AM

“…they’ll get all ginned-up…”

Obama lapses into jive when he’s engaged in jive. Be mindful of the jive.

Lourdes on August 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Yep, and I sure hope he keeps doing it. Telling people they’ve been “ginned up” amounts to calling them ignorant dupes. The more he gets off Fluff and Axelrod’s list of approved, focus-grouped language, the better.

forest on August 29, 2011 at 10:09 AM

It’s not just the bad answer he gave, he was probably lying on top of it. You’re going to tell me the President doesn’t know anything about the major regulations, like the one the farmer talked about, coming down the pike? Everyone else has heard about them. If he doesn’t know about it, what does that say about him and what’s going on in his administration?

lowandslow on August 29, 2011 at 8:44 AM

If it’s not in Rules for Radicals, Obama’s not familiar with any ~solution~.

Lourdes on August 29, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Before it’s over, Øbama will probably claim he’s a war hero and invite the press corps to watch him purchase a jock strap.

petefrt on August 29, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Are they made in size zero?

GrannyDee on August 29, 2011 at 10:12 AM

“…they’ll get all ginned-up…”

Obama lapses into jive when he’s engaged in jive. Be mindful of the jive.

Lourdes on August 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Yep, and I sure hope he keeps doing it. Telling people they’ve been “ginned up” amounts to calling them ignorant dupes. The more he gets off Fluff and Axelrod’s list of approved, focus-grouped language, the better.

forest on August 29, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Yes, but jive is the cool-community-organizer-street method called lying by the rest of us, lying to push something or take something from someone else, or to try and deflect critical examination. And that’s how Obama uses it and when.

Noting that — just read this — Blacks represent a high percentage of federal employees, in relationship with their population numbers compared with others’. Unfortunately, Obama’s calling them the dummies there while, unfortunately, while using jive to do so, he deflects the appropriate blame for that: “yus’ bein’ cool.”

Lourdes on August 29, 2011 at 10:14 AM

He must be ginned up,he rambled on creating a “I share your pain”, excuse without any exertion, about how familiar he is with the hard work of the farmer. The closes he gets to farming is the BS he dishes out.

MSGTAS on August 29, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Ed and Radjah Shelduck assumed a lot about Obama.

First, he really doesn’t care about any person. He is the single most significant person (let alone the US President) that lack any normal empathy from a human being.

He only ‘cares’ if it has anything to do with him getting votes, and apparently this farmer john is categorized into the ‘never bother’ group.

If the person griping is one of his special victim groups, you’d better believe Obama is going to use the ‘poster child’ for his personal charm offensive.

Sir Napsalot on August 29, 2011 at 11:47 AM

There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.— Ayn Rand

Rand saw it comming.

iurockhead on August 29, 2011 at 11:48 AM

First they came for the farmers…
Then they came for off-roaders of all ages…
Then they came for bicyclists of all ages…
Then they came for small boaters of all ages…
Then they wondered why the industry for all the above died.

AH_C on August 29, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Hey! You!!! Yeah you farmers! Just suck it up. You’ll do what we tell you to do, and like it! Got it? Good! Now big butt…err Michelle and I have a vacation to finish.

capejasmine on August 29, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Why does every question asked of Obama engender thousands of words that don’t really answer the question? It couldn’t be that he’s blowing smoke up everybody’s skirt, could it?

RebeccaH on August 29, 2011 at 1:27 PM

That would be inversely proportional, not directly proportional.

Ed Morrissey on August 29, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Thanks, Ed. I knew my wording wasn’t right, but I couldn’t think of the correct term (It’s Monday dammit!) so I went with the wrong one. Brilliant, right?

SKYFOX on August 29, 2011 at 8:27 AM

It works for lil barry.

Solaratov on August 29, 2011 at 2:15 PM

“My suspicion is, a lot of times, they’re going to be able to answer your questions and it will turn out that some of your fears are unfounded.”

Mr. Farmer, you in trouble.

RDE2010 on August 29, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Thanks, Ed. I knew my wording wasn’t right, but I couldn’t think of the correct term (It’s Monday dammit!) so I went with the wrong one. Brilliant, right?

SKYFOX on August 29, 2011 at 8:27 AM

Quick, Give that man a teleprompter!

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on August 29, 2011 at 3:33 PM

If dealing with those government agencies is so darn easy then why can’t he get that birth certificate? Just ‘call them up’ and ask.

mph on August 29, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Rand saw it comming.

iurockhead on August 29, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Rand saw a great many things coming, because she’d already seen them, and managed to get away from them. She then spent the rest of her life trying to warn the people in the last, freest society that it would happen to them too, if they didn’t pay attention.

The fact that she was human, and therefore fallible about some aspects of her worldview (libertine atheism, primarily), has given many people license to ignore everything she wrote or said. It is a horrible mistake to try and make a technicolor world fit into a monochrome framework. Likewise I know folks of faith who are vehemently against alcohol, who can’t bring themselves to notice the brilliance of C.S. Lewis, because he drank beer. Equally foolish.

Of course, the intelligentsia has always bashed Rand’s work, because they believe capitalism is a sin, and socialism a virtue. They are wrong, and Rand right, on that score, and we are beginning to suffer the consequences of permitting so much of it.

Freelancer on August 29, 2011 at 7:17 PM