Today's New York Times has a story about a new metaphor showing up in President's Obama's speeches recently:
In road-testing his stump speech for the midterm elections, President Obama would like American voters to think of a car that has been driven into a ditch. (Take a wild guess who was at the wheel.)
“You had a group of folks who drove the economy, drove the country, drove our car into the ditch,” Mr. Obama told some 200 party faithful sipping sauvignon blanc by the pool Monday night at a Los Angeles fund-raiser.
The president may change a word here or refer to a different member of Congress there, but the basic arc of the anecdote has been the same at his stops so far this week on a three-day, five-state swing.
The White House wants to frame the November elections as a clear choice between the Democrats who have put the country on the road to recovery, anemic though it may be, and the Republicans who, in the White House view, got the country into the economic mess to begin with.
“We put on our boots and walked into the ditch — it’s muddy and hot and dusty and bugs everywhere — and we’re pushing,” Mr. Obama said of the efforts of the White House and its Democratic partners in Congress.
“And we’re slipping and sliding and sweating, and the other side, the Republicans, they’re standing there with their Slurpees watching us,” Mr. Obama said, building up to the punch line, which he has been refining (minus the Slurpees) for several months. “Finally we get this car to level ground. Finally we’re ready to move forward, go down that road once again to American prosperity, and what happens? They want the keys back.”
“Well, you can’t have the keys back,” he said to cheers in Milwaukee on Monday. “You don’t know how to drive. You got us into the ditch."
The President could save a lot of time and words if he just showed everyone Mike Luckovich's cartoon from last Wednesday (Aug. 11):
Of course, then the Republicans would just show today's from Mike Ramirez:
To be fair, Luckovich's cartoon isn't simply illustrating Obama's talking point -- it's adding the insight that despite what the Democrats see as their best efforts, they're still unappreciated, still catching grief from the electorate.