The Youth Magic is Gone

Barack Obama may turn out to be a one hit wonder. He was a political rockstar who meteoric rise to the presidency was based on his promise to change the way things were done in Washington. It was easy to believe him. He was a young minority candidate with an eloquent voice and a hip demeanor. I mean just try and name another politician who could pull off a fist-pound and not look like he was just trying to do what “the young folks are doin these days.”

His campaign motivated and captivated millions of voters. He brought a message of change, but more importantly he changed how the message was brought. He was the first to capture the importance of new media and because of it his message swept through young America like wildfire.

But as Ed Lasky, columnist for American Thinker recently wrote ,

Remember the legions of young people Obama was going to unleash upon America to fulfill his agenda — the names of those harvested from the internet, basketball games, and meet-ups? The people who swore allegiance to him and willingly became part of his massive database ready to turn out and tune in for whatever cause Obama trumpeted? They seem to have gone MIA.

What happened to the youth magic in the Oval Office?

It’s gone; squandered along the way by broken promises. The campaign promises active citizen participation and engagement, saying:

“The more we can enlist the American people to pay attention and be involved, that’s the only way we are going move an agenda forward. That’s how we are going to counteract the special interests.”

He promised, “volunteers, grass-roots leaders and ordinary citizens will continue to drive our organization, helping us bring about the changes we proposed during the campaign.”

But despite the promises, the Obama administration has done little to climb down the ivory tower. Health care is the prime example. It is an understatement to say that citizens “pay attention” and are “involved” in the debate. Nevertheless, their input has been consistently scorned. The concerns were town hall protesters were dismissed as the grumblings of an “angry mob .” When their concerns could no longer be marginalized, they were outright ignored. New polls show that while only 34% of people mostly approve of health care reform, 54% mostly disapprove. In the words of Peter Brown of Quinnipiac University Polling Institute,

“Support for President Barack Obama’s health care reform continues to decline marginally and now only about one in three voters say they mostly approve of the pending legislation. Opposition seems mostly driven by those who think the plan under consideration is too ambitious. The whole health care issue showcases the Grand Canyon-like divide opened up among the electorate.”

But the administration has not opened up to voter concerns. Left with no other outlet, voters who are angry over their lack of voice, have turned to the polls to let out their anger on the closest Democrat they can find. Scott Brown in Massachusetts being the latest and most prominent example.

Obama’s greatest sin is not that he broke his promise to include young adults in the decisionmaking process, it’s that he’s completely left us off the agenda. As James Kirchick of the New York Daily News writes ,

Given his appealing character and inspirational message, it’s not hard to understand why young Americans – not yet burdened by the political cynicism of our elders – flocked to Obama in droves. Yet after nearly a year into his first term, the President has proposed policies that saddle this devoted constituency with debt, penalize us with higher health care costs and dangle beyond our reach the rights we deserve when we happen to have a different sexual orientation.

Politics has always been an insincere business, but this is a very strange way of saying thank you.

Fool us once, shame on us, fool us twice, shame on you. Democrats had better look out in 2010.

– Brandon Greife