President Obama needs to save Main Street, not Sesame Street

For President Obama and apologists of his poor debate performance, Big Bird is the word. Photo: Matt Sayles/AP

HONOLULU, October 4, 2012 – For President Obama and apologists of his poor debate performance,  Big Bird is the word. As is typically the case with professional politicians called to account, rather than focusing on real systemic issues at stake, Obama would rather talk about the trite future of Sesame Street than Main Street.

During the debate, Mitt Romney brought to the American people an important narrative in which he said that if elected his administration would judge whether or not funding a program was worth borrowing money from China to pay for. That means setting priorities. Whether you’re a liberal or a conservative, we should all be worried about the fact that China is underwriting our government. That’s a discussion worth having but apparently Obama isn’t up to it.

Since Obama loves PBS so much, he ought to take a time out to visit the iTunes Store and download the FRONTLINE episode “Obama’s Deal” in which they expose how “There’s always two sides of Obama. You have to have the sort of inspirational message. You have to have something to lift up people. But at the end of the day, when you’re passing legislation, it is about deal making. There’s no other way to do it.”

Everyone knows Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike often go into gridlock when the big programs of K Street and Wall Street are threatened, so putting the scalpel to things that do not affect national security or domestic tranquility – such as Sesame Street – are where a savvy legislator and a budget realist starts. It’s because funding for PBS is so small that we start with small things before we move on to big things.

Despite knowing this, Obama would rather play childish games of shallow strawman arguments and sophomoric humor in which him and his absurd photomeme crew falsely depict him as the conquering slayer of Osama bin Laden and Republicans as the killer of muppets. True liberals and real reform minded Democrats ought to distance themselves from this absurdity (especially considering the fact that during George W. Bush’s administration killing terrorists – that is, international criminals – outright with no judge or jury was considered ethically reprehensible).

By perpetuating the Big Bird meme, what Obama is really saying is that he can’t debate real issues and his constituents are a bunch of child-minded people who only care about muppets rather than men. This is an insult to sincere liberals who are academic and erudite enough to know better. Obama had his chance to put Mitt Romney in his place during the debate. He failed.

Obama had the chance to bail out Main Street. Instead, for all his antipathy towards corporate jets and the one-percenters, he used his political capital to bail out Wall Street and to this day is unremorseful over it. Now with so much on the line, all Obama can talk about when it comes to his Republican opponent is Sesame Street? This is bad comedy.

Mr. President, the battle in this election is for the future of Main Street, not Sesame Street.


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Danny de Gracia

Dr. Danny de Gracia is a political scientist and a former senior adviser to the Human Services and International Affairs committees at the Hawaii State Legislature. From 2011-2013 he served as an elected municipal board member in Waipahu. As an expert in international relations theory, military policy, political psychology and economics, Danny has advised numerous policymakers and elected officials and his opinions have been featured worldwide. Now working on his first novel, Danny resides on the island of Oahu.

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