Obamateurism of the Day

Remember Darin Wedel? Back in January, his wife Jennifer surprised President Obama during his Google hangout by criticizing the expansion of H-1B visas and Obama’s assertion that the US faced a shortage of high-tech engineers, since Darin — a semiconductor engineer — had been out of work for months.  Obama expressed his surprise, calling the Wedels’ situation “interesting” because Obama had been getting “the word” that there should be full employment.  He asked Jennifer to send Darin’s resume to the White House, which she promptly did.

Now, we all know how this story ends, right?  The President, having publicly intervened in the situation, gets his team to start paging through their Rolodexes and find donors in the industry who can get Darin a job.  That way, Obama has a feel-good story about employment, he looks caring and, er, interested, and everyone forgets about the incident.  Any politician worth his salt can make that happen, especially at this level.

Or … maybe not, as John (Doc Zero) Hayward discovered:

More than two months after President Barack Obama asked for Darin Wedel’s résumé, the phone is quiet, e-mails are no longer flooding in and the long-sought-after job interviews — which had begun to be scheduled — have petered out.

“Not even recruiting companies are calling anymore,” said Jennifer Wedel, the Fort Worth mother of two who chatted online this year with Obama about her out-of-work husband.

Needless to say, the Wedels are less than impressed:

“I did feel we got our hopes up a little,” Jennifer Wedel said last week. “I mean, he’s the POTUS. But it seems not even the leader of our country can get [Darin] a job.”

[…] After Darin Wedel was laid off, Jennifer Wedel went to work at an insurance agency, hoping to help support the family while her husband looked for a job.

John calls the whole incident a disaster for Obama:

The “optics” of this story are absolutely horrible for the White House, but it was actually horrible from the moment it began.  The idea that Americans should have to beg the royal court for indulgences – which the court then demonstrates it cannot provide! – is nauseating, and it’s not a new aspect of the Obama presidency.  In the very first weeks of his Administration, he was at a town hall meeting in Florida when a homeless woman asked him for a house, and lo! A house was soon offered, after the President hugged her. …

It’s Obamanomics in a nutshell: if you’re lucky enough to find your way into his carefully controlled town hall meetings, or you’ve got the right political connections, you can do okay… until things get so bad that His Majesty can no longer wave his hand and cause bounty to be showered upon selected peasants.  Fortunately, Obama can count on the media to downplay this story, instead of treating it as a powerful symbolic moment in a failed presidency, as they would if he were a Republican.

Maybe they got the word.


Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] 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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