President Mute Button

By now, most people have probably heard about the famous “mute button scene” in Bob Woodward’s latest meisterstuck, The Price of Politics. As New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani describes the scene:

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, then the House speaker, [is] working with Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, on last-minute details of the stimulus package when the president calls.  As Mr. Obama – who’s been put on speakerphone – begins to deliver a high-minded message about how important the bill is, Mr. Woodward reports, Ms. Pelosi “reached over and pressed the mute button on her phone,” so they could hear him but he couldn’t hear them as they continued number-crunching the bill.

So if you’re wondering how we are to live our lives, do our  jobs (or find them, as the case may be) or simply survive a second Obama administration, there’s your answer: Take a deep breath. Let out a long sigh. Then hit the figurative mute button and do your best to work around him. And the thousands of new regulations. And the soaring gas prices. And the high unemployment. Obama and the Democrats can’t hurt the country while he’s talking and they’re listening. So let the man talk as long as he wants while life, to the extent possible, goes on without him.

And be sure to thank God for term limits. When you’re shelling out $6.00 for a gallon of gas or searching desperately for one of the dwindling number of doctors, console yourself with the thought that each passing day of this president’s remaining tenure will be a day gone. Remind yourself that eventually, ultimately, blissfully, he will depart. But the problems he created – and, I predict, many, many more – will still be there, so you won’t have missed a thing. We might even elect a new president with the inclination and ability to deal with them.

And when, on certain occasions, some of us find that we do have some power to act against this most arrogant and incompetent of presidents?

We fight.

Addendum:  The blogs and Twitter feeds have been awash with pundits opining on “the lessons of the 2012 election,” so I might as well throw in my own two cents worth. The lesson of Election 2012, for Republicans, is the same as the lesson the Democrats learned in 2004: it’s very hard to defeat a sitting president. But having said that, it might be a good idea, sometime before the next election, to make sure the new whiz-bang software program actually works.

  1. Masked Man

    Excellent advice and a good metaphor. I do quibble, however, with the Addendum. Hard as it is to defeat a sitting president who has done a respectable job, it should not be that difficult to beat one awash in failure. The lesson must lie elsewhere…and I hope we discover it soon!

  2. Pig Man
    “(and remember Blacks won’t be voting in 2016.)” Just like the polls this year over-sampled Democrats? Conservatives will have a hard time winning, if they can’t face reality. 
  3. Dan Hanson

    A pedantic point about the mute button:  In every meeting I’ve ever been in, when someone is talking over a teleconference the polite thing to do is to mute your own phone.  That way the speaker isn’t interrupted by coughs, chair scraping noises, clicking sounds as people take notes, errant cell phone rings, etc. 

    The implication in that paragraph is that Pelosi and the gang simply ignored the president and talked over him with the mute button on, but it’s not perfectly clear from the way that was written.  If they just muted it and then made occasional comments to each other while Obama spoke, that’s not really a big deal. 

  4. Gene Schwimmer, Guest Contributor
    C
    Nick Stuart: As Mark Steyn said, Reality does not require a majority of votes. The American people have chosen a ruinous course. We can only pray that it will be possible to come back when President Obama’s 4 years are through. · 7 hours ago

    Right, and as Margaret Thatcher said, the facts of life are conservative – as, unfortunately, we are all about to find out.

  5. Gene Schwimmer, Guest Contributor
    C
    Leigh: And yes, be very thankful for term limits.

    In some ways, Obama is very similar to Tony Blair.  Who was elected three times.

    (Actually, we should be doing a good hard study of the Conservative Party in the Blair/Brown years, for a good example of how notto deal with the kind of situation we find ourselves in.) · 7 hours ago

    Edited 7 hours ago

    If there is anything about the British Conservative Party that we Americans would consider conservative, I’m not aware of it.  Which, if I read you correctly, is you point.  In which case, I agree.

  6. outstripp

    Lesson of 2012 election: a sorta cool guy with quasi-proletarian roots beats a sorta square guy who made money in obscure ways. The dems won’t be able to repeat this because Obama is a unique phenomenon.

  7. Mark Stewart
    outstripp: Lesson of 2012 election: a sorta cool guy with quasi-proletarian roots beats a sorta square guy who made money in obscure ways. The dems won’t be able to repeat this because Obama is a unique phenomenon. · 6 minutes ago

    With all the talk about single women and the gender gap voting for Obama, you don’t  think Hillary Clinton will also ride that wave in 2016?

  8. Ontos

    No, Gang.  The Lesson is that you have to tell the truth about your opponent and not shrink from doing so.  If you do fail to say why people should not vote for your opponent, because you sense that the people do not already know because the press is in your opponent’s corner, then you will surely lose because your timidity only insures that the voters ( and those who do not vote but  stay home because you are so timid about the truth) will not hear from you why they should vote for you and not for your opponent.  

    You cannot say the election is very important without saying WHY it is important that your opponent not win.  If you are timid, you will lose.   

  9. Ontos

    Romney needed to be a virtual news service in his campaign, reporting to the people all the things that the big government bureaucracy was doing and will be doing if they were elected to a second term.  Fast & Furious, Benghazi , the surrender of Egypt to radical Islam, the surrender of Iraq, the surrender of Afghanistan, etc.  Romney and his crew thought they could hide potentially unpopular choices that would face a newly elected GOP president.   He did that because he was afraid of the counterattack in the press and from Obama.  Romney needed to have more mettle for this fight than he really had.  I am sorry , but that is the inescapable truth.  

  10. outstripp
    Mark Stewart

    outstripp: Lesson of 2012 election: a sorta cool guy with quasi-proletarian roots beats a sorta square guy who made money in obscure ways. The dems won’t be able to repeat this because Obama is a unique phenomenon. · 6 minutes ago

    With all the talk about single women and the gender gap voting for Obama, you don’t  think Hillary Clinton will also ride that wave in 2016? · in 0 minutes

    Hillary will be older and uncool-looking and she will be carrying Obama’s failed baggage.  Republicans can counter with an optimistic cool-looking young guy with working class roots.  Swing voters have lower IQs than us. (and remember Blacks won’t be voting in 2016.)

  11. Ontos

    ….the crushing of small business, the destruction of Medicine in the USA, the crippling of those who make medical devices, the forcing Catholic and other religious institutions to buy into and subsidize the progressive SOCIAL AGENDA, the strangling of the exploitation of the oil reserves in the USA, because it would mean that the “wrong people” would prosper.and theUS might become economically strong and energy independent & that is a bad idea in Obama’s view ….Romney needed to repeat all this ad nauseam til America knew that this was his argument.  

  12. Nick Stuart

    As Mark Steyn said, Reality does not require a majority of votes. The American people have chosen a ruinous course. We can only pray that it will be possible to come back when President Obama’s 4 years are through.

  13. Eeyore
    Gene Schwimmer, Guest Contributor:  Obama and the Democrats can’t hurt the country while he’s talking and they’re listening. So let the man talk as long as he wants while life, to the extent possible, goes on without him.

    Excuse me? A paraphrase of his ‘talk’ from the last few days. “We’re moving forward on the UN Arms Trade Treaty.” “I’m closing 1.6 million acres of Federal land to oil shale development” “It’s time to impose my carbon tax.”

    And that just the last 3 days.

  14. Leigh

    And yes, be very thankful for term limits.

    In some ways, Obama is very similar to Tony Blair.  Who was elected three times.

    (Actually, we should be doing a good hard study of the Conservative Party in the Blair/Brown years, for a good example of how not to deal with the kind of situation we find ourselves in.)

  15. Chris Campion

    True, but putting your boss on mute is different from being polite about the conference room noise level.  You shouldn’t be making a lot of noise while you are enraptured by the soaring rhetoric.

    The meetings where I’ve been in when the boss is put on mute is one where the people don’t think he has anything important to say.

    Dan Hanson: A pedantic point about the mute button:  In every meeting I’ve ever been in, when someone is talking over a teleconference the polite thing to do is to mute your own phone.  That way the speaker isn’t interrupted by coughs, chair scraping noises, clicking sounds as people take notes, errant cell phone rings, etc. 

    The implication in that paragraph is that Pelosi and the gang simply ignored the president and talked over him with the mute button on, but it’s not perfectly clear from the way that was written.  If they just muted it and then made occasional comments to each other while Obama spoke, that’s not really a big deal.  · 10 hours ago

    Edited 10 hours ago

  16. Gretchen

    Yes, in four years the problems will still be there, probably greater than we imagine now (unless WWIII has been precipitated, in which case, we will have a whole new seies of problems) and the probabilities of turning the ship around even more negligible than the post-FDR possibilities of repealing Social Security. The Republic is dead, we should go tend our gardens to the extent that we can, which will be less and less as the garden regulators grow ever more unhampered.

    Not that I’m bitter.