Written by Daniel Greenfield
For a man with such big ears, Barack Hussein Obama isn't actually very good at listening. And a listening tour isn't going to change that.
Listening tours have become an obligatory stage of the early campaign, but their name is another degradation of meaning. Politicians don't conduct listening tours in order to listen to voters, but to have those voters listen to them. The occasional town hall meeting with its exchanges is the verbal version of a Letters to the Editor column. But does anyone pretend that a newspaper exists to listen to the readers?
Selfless euphemisms for selfish agendas clot the language of liberals. A listening tour dresses up the self-seeking campaign as a selfless act. The politician isn't on tour for his own sake, but to listen to you. The left called its totalitarian states, people's republics, when the people had nothing to do with it. And the listening tours have as much to do with listening to people, as the republics did with being ruled by them.
The Nation's editor, Katina vanden Heuvel insists that Obama should fight for "the People's Budget". This budget being a thing apart from the budget that the people actually want. The People's Budget was produced by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, consisting of left-wing loons and crooks like Charlie Rangel, John Conyers, Barney Frank, Keith Ellison, Alcee Hastings and Shirley Jackson- Lee.
It's hard to think of a segment of the people represented by crooked millionaires, many of whom were bribed into supporting the AT&T merger, who are above the law, and helped tank the economy with the frauds that they supported and oversaw.
Now the Caucus of Progressives who have lifetime government jobs in safe districts are proposing a budget that's really a monstrous version of Obama's budget. Health care nationalization, more shovel ready infrastructure projects, more education and social welfare spending-- and pay for it all by slashing the military and taxing the rich. It's like a customer who ordered a dish, tasted it and sent it back, having the waiter come back with the same dish but twice as large.
That's the problem with listening tours. They're really "Not Listening Tours" which politicians go on to pretend that there is a consensus in support of their agenda. The Caucus of Progressives has heard that the people want to cut the deficit, and they promise to do it with a budget that's an even more irresponsible version of the one that bulked up the deficit. In this they're not different from Obama who keeps explaining that his refusal to accept a balanced budget is actually a plan to cut the deficit.
Customer service representatives are taught to diffuse customer anger by repeating back what they say and matching their emotional tone.
When the customer calls in angrily demanding to cut the budget, the phone rep replies; "I hear that you want to cut the budget, sir. So how about spending a few trillion more dollars so you can save even more money."
The Democratic Party has come down to using the same condescending tactics on voters that companies use to manipulate dissatisfied customers -- and it isn't working. When companies behave this way it's because they think of their customers as pawns to be captured, not as equal players. The players are rival companies who are competing for a position in the marketplace.
In the political landscape, the parties think of voters the same way. As customers choosing between two companies. Some customers can be monopolized by gerrymandered districts to be in business with them. Others can be convinced by slick ad campaigns and brand identification. But they are not to be treated as equals-- let alone as the masters of the political process whom the parties serve.
When the Democratic Party promises to save the people from the corporations, it deserves to be greeted with mocking laughter. The Party is a giant monopoly dedicated to extracting as much money as possible for its own benefit. And its customers have very little choice. If the Democratic Party is going to save us from the corporations-- who the hell is going to save us from its massive network of politicians, unions and activists-- who are collectively referred to as "The People". As if the only people who matter are party loyalists.
And the tactics are always the same. The customers are promised that they will save money. When actually they will get a small refund and then end up having to pay much more. Then their greed and prejudices are played to as they are told that "those people" are getting a much better deal. And if only they'll sign on, they'll be the ones getting the better deal. Finally, of course, our product will make you a better person. People will respect you more when you drive down the street in our liberal hybrid that gets 4 miles to the gallon. And that gaping hole in your self-esteem will be patched over.
Lean close to sniff at the messaging apparatus of the Democratic Party and it smells like the sweat of a car salesman's armpit. Behind the fake greek columns, the new logos and the social media is a crook trying to unload a lemon on you at twice the price. And if you buy now, he'll throw in a 15 trillion dollar deficit. Now the crook is driving around on a listening tour in his Death Star buses promising more jobs and lower deficits and a hill of magic beans.
Now the man who has built his career on pretending to be a great speaker, while listening to no one but his own teleprompter, is trying to convince the American people that he is listening to them. But all he means is that they need to listen to him. For three years the media has complained that the public isn't properly listening to Obama. According to the talking heads, he was just too bright for the ordinary mob of angry villagers wanting jobs and lower taxes to listen to him. Now the villagers are even angrier and he still isn't listening.
To listen to someone you have to accept them as your equal in some way. Obama cannot do that. And he is part of a political movement that is based on aggressively not listening and using their media to manufacture a consensus. If the left really listened to people, then it would have no reason to exist. It's not human rights or even anti-capitalism that drives it-- but the belief that ordinary people need to be taken care of and told what to think by their properly enlightened and qualified betters.
Listening to someone means accepting the idea that there are things you don't know, and things you may be wrong about. That's hard to do when you're working from a philosophy that insists problems can be solved by following a rigid social or economic plan from a tenured academic. Why would you listen to someone who doesn't even have a PhD and is several social classes below you? Instead you smile patiently while he's talking and then explain to him why he's wrong. And it that doesn't work, you pretend to agree with him, while explaining that both of you actually share the same agenda. Your agenda.
The left does this over and over again-- and then doesn't understand why it's reviled for it. Three years ago it sold the same totalitarian rubbish, the bad economics and meaningless slogans by passing it off as a messianic event that would transform all of human history.
Now the failed messiah and his million dollar buses are trying to salvage the disaster. And yet even staring into the face of the economic apocalypse, the misery they inflicted on so many, and the fall of the national economy-- all they can do is mumble about bad luck and pass off the same bad policies as a bold new approach to saving the economy.
Liberals may mock Jimmy Swaggart, but there is no apology coming from them for any of the crimes they have committed against the American people. Not a single tear rolls down their fat cheeks and not a trace of humility is present.in their conduct. When their frauds collapse, they blame someone else and solicit more investors by going on a listening tour to explain to the American people why they really need a 15 trillion dollar deficit.
A listening tour in million dollar buses bought overseas.
If Obama were going to listen to the people, he had plenty of opportunities after he was elected. Instead he spent three years ignoring the people, condescending to the people, lecturing the people and vacationing at expensive places and overseas destinations to get away from the people. And his convoy tour is there to impress and awe the common folk with the scale of it. Like Putin staging a fake hunt or finding a trinket that was set there for him to find, this isn't about listening. It's about impressing. In both senses of the word.
The Not Listening Tour is supposed to remind us of Obama's importance, his easy manner and how photogenic he is. All qualities manufactured for him by media coverage. It's supposed to awe us with his entourage, and his wealth, which is really our wealth. It's not a listening tour, it's just another royal procession at public expense. And while kings may occasionally talk to commoners. They don't listen to them. Instead they toss some gold coins out the window, wave and drive on.