White House

Rich: Is Obama Punking Us?

Generally supportive of Barack Obama and his administration's policies, New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote Sunday that the "drift toward disillusionment" among Obama's supporters is a "real reason for...worry." According to Rich, Obama is struggling to make citizens feel like the American game isn't rigged. "I feel like I've been punked," a real-estate agent said in last week's Washington Post. Obama's in trouble, Rich said, if he stops Americans from feeling like they’re on an episode of Ashton Kutcher’s former show. Rich sees signs for this cynicism all over the place, including the well-orchestrated—and well-financed—groups that are presenting themselves as grassroots at town-hall meetings throughout the country this month. Similar questions can be raised about the Blue Dog Democrats, who took fistfuls of money from insurers and drug companies and then fought against a public option for health insurance. What may save the president? Continued Republican bumbling, Rich writes. But Obama should watch out: "The larger fear is that Obama might be just another corporatist, punking voters much as the Republicans do when they claim to be all for the common guy."