Green Room

Obama and the Meaning of Shared Sacrifice

posted at 10:19 am on August 19, 2011 by

Candidate Barack Obama famously said in February of 2008 that “words matter.” His point for once was well taken. Words do matter.

Unfortunately for the president, that bit of wisdom extended onto side #2 of the fortune cookie he extracted it from, which read, “but actions matter more.”

A good leader leads not only by words but by example. Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost another 420 points. So what did the president do to bolster the confidence of panicked voters? He led by example. With 14 million Americans out of work, he embarked on a “10-day retreat at a 28-acre Martha’s Vineyard compound called Blue Heron Farm, which costs an estimated $50,000 per week to rent.” He went, in the words of usually sympathetic Washington Post columnist Colbert King “to dwell in splendid seclusion among the rich and famous.”

King goes on to ask:

What is he thinking? It’s not as if the Obama family is living in deprivation in Washington.

Without leaving the White House grounds, they have access to five full-time chefs, a tennis court, a bowling alley, a swimming pool, a jogging trail, a putting green and a movie theater that shows first-run films on demand. That’s hardly roughing it.

But words matter. So here are some more of the president’s words:

We will not rest until we are succeeding in generating the jobs that this economy needs. (November 2, 2009)

I will not rest until businesses are investing again, and businesses are hiring again. (November 23, 2009)

We will not rest until we build an economy that’s ready for America’s future. (January 28, 2010)

I’m not gonna rest and my administration is not gonna rest in our efforts to help people who are looking to find a job. (March 5 2010)

My administration will not rest until every American who is able and ready and willing to work can find a job. (July 8, 2010)

One more quote:

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. (King James Bible)

Welcome to Day 7.

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What Team Obama is still thinking is that the first family can live like Louie XVI at Versailles this summer, and all they have to do to win the swing voters back in 2012 is have the Obamas vacation for a day or two at a leper colony or some other misbegotten place just before flying into North Carolina for the DNC convention, and all the big media spin about the wonderfulness of Barack and Michelle will drown out any anger right now about the president and first lady saying one t hing and doing another when it comes to how they tell other Americans how to live.

jon1979 on August 19, 2011 at 10:35 AM

the Obamas vacation for a day or two at a leper colony

Nice image. The only problem with your assumption is that he had a golden opportunity to vacation on the Louisiana coast after the Gulf oil disaster last year and didn’t. I think the lepers will need to find a different celeb.

Howard Portnoy on August 19, 2011 at 11:12 AM

These are the same people who go to universities and give speeches telling kids not to go for the big, high-paying law firm jobs after graduation, but instead go into public service.

When they graduated from law school, Michelle and Barry Obama both accepted jobs at Sidley & Austin, one of the biggest (and best paying) law firms in Chicago.

These two are long-practiced experts in the “do as I say and not as I do” game.

AZCoyote on August 19, 2011 at 11:35 AM

“Without leaving the White House grounds, they have access to five full-time chefs, a tennis court, a bowling alley,


mrt721 on August 19, 2011 at 12:13 PM

So. What you’re saying is, Obama acted stupidly?

J.E. Dyer on August 19, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Obama acted stupidly

Much more succinct, but more fun to beat around the bush (or is that Bush?)

Howard Portnoy on August 19, 2011 at 5:08 PM

You need to remember, with many voters looks and style are top priorities. This is the age of American Idol, Top Chef, and we’re probably into our 50th season of Pimp My (insert appropriate car, house, wedding).

BarryO is one happening dude. Best food, hip hop at “his house”, righteous vacays, second-to-none entourage. How can that not be good for at least 47% of the vote in 2012?

Robert17 on August 19, 2011 at 6:00 PM