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Robert Guttman Headshot

Is This Obama's Jimmy Carter Malaise Moment?

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"The symptoms of the crisis of the American spirit are all around us. For the first time in the history of our country a majority of our people believe that the next five years will be worse than the past five years," stated President Jimmy Carter in the summer of 1979 in his now famous "malaise" speech.

The former president hightailed it up to Camp David and after talking with people from all walks of life decided that there was "an erosion of confidence in the future" that was "threatening to destroy the social and political fabric of America."

President Obama is not wearing a cardigan sweater and telling us to turn our heat down to solve the energy crisis like our former president.

And Obama is not blaming the American people for our problems as our former president from Plains appeared to be doing in his speeches.

But there does seem to be serious concern -- and rightly so -- among a majority of Americans about whether or not our country is heading in the right direction.

Like the old movie Network people are mad as hell, and aren't going to take it anymore. There is anger in the country, and I am not talking about the organized kind with tea parties and wacky views of cable and radio talk show hosts.

People are scared about losing their jobs and their homes and not having a brighter and more secure future for their children. People do not see how the super-expensive economic stimulus bill has helped the economy. There really is nothing to put your finger on to say how the nearly trillion dollars being spent is helping any of us.

The Obama administration seems to have forgotten its roots. Democrats are the party of the working person and Obama seems to have forgotten that.

When the president visited Ohio last week all he brought was useless rhetoric. He didn't find a single job for anyone. I worked for a Democratic presidential candidate in that same town in 1976 and we all talked about the need for jobs back then and nothing seems to have happened in the past several decades except jobs fleeing this country and going abroad.

I am surprised there is not more outrage at the administration. Double-digit unemployment and record numbers of foreclosures and it is obvious that the economy is not the number one item on Obama's agenda.

Now with the victory of Brown in Massachusetts we see a White House that is scared. So what do they do? They start yelling at the banks and Wall Street and blaming the previous administration for the economic ills of the day.

That won't cut it anymore. The president needs to quit outsourcing his agenda to Congress and lead us not by wonderful words but by actual deeds that put the unemployed back to work and provide a vision of a better tomorrow.

The president is popular with the majority of Americans but he so far has not appeared to be a very dynamic leader. He doesn't seem to be attached to the average working American and their goals and aspirations.

There seems to be a real disconnect that it takes an upset victory in a Democratic state to get a Democratic president to focus on jobs.

There is no doubt that the administration focused way too much on health care at the expense of job creation. There does not seem to be real passion in the president to bring down this massive unemployment which is so unacceptable and ruining too many lives.

To me as a lifelong Democrat I feel Obama and much of the party has forgotten its working class roots in order to embrace Hollywood, big donors, and Wall Street. Frankly, Obama seems way out of place when he visits factories. Something is out of whack when a Democratic president doesn't seem comfortable in a factory.

Like Carter, our current president is quite intelligent -- and lets us know that -- but unlike former president Clinton, I do not see Obama really feeling the pain of the working person on main street.

It is like all the cable talk shows where the same guests with highly paid jobs in New York and DC talk about the working person in the rest of the country. They also seem out of tune with what is happening in the country.

The president needs to show some real concern for the average American. Like the days of Jimmy Carter we are fast approaching a crisis of confidence in the current presidents' leadership style.

I was hoping after a full year in office I would be comparing the president to FDR or Lincoln but instead I am comparing him to the unpopular Jimmy Carter.

There is great rhetoric from Obama but there is no real feeling that I see that he is connecting with the working people across the country.

Without this connection he will be a one-term president.

President Obama: It is all about jobs and the economy.

You may care about jobs and the economy but it sure is not coming through as being authentic.

These are tough times and I hope you are tough enough to handle them for all of our sakes, and the sake of the economy!

So far on the economy and job creation, your administration gets a failing grade. And like many other Americans we had such high hopes on your election which makes us feel even more let down at the moment.