Obama rally Friday shows skewed priorities

Campus is abuzz with the news that President Barack Obama will give a speech in Alumni Park on Friday to support Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, who is also expected to make an appearance, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Alissa Masutani | Daily Trojan

Certainly, it is an exciting prospect. No matter your political inclinations, the opportunity to see a sitting president speak is a rare privilege.

Having Obama on campus will be great publicity for USC and is sure to help USC President C.L. Max Nikias’ ambitious fundraising goals. For the large number of students who support Obama, Friday will be all the more memorable.

However, the fact that Obama has to travel to Los Angeles to make a speech in front of Doheney  Library is a sad reflection on American politics.

The president is busy, to say the least. He is overseeing two wars, working on education reform, managing a record federal deficit and dealing with high unemployment, among other things.

On top of these, there are many important issues for which the president does not even have time to give serious consideration, such as immigration reform. The bottom line is that the president only has so much time to advance his agenda, and it is important for the country that he allocates that time judiciously.

Unfortunately, Obama has been spending the majority of his time lately campaigning for democratic hopefuls and incumbents in an attempt to shore up his party’s tenuous position.

As part of a national tour, the President recently held his biggest rally since the inauguration in Ohio where he boosted democratic support. The speech at USC will be part of a four-day tour of the Western United States.

The White House has made a calculated decision that Obama’s time will be better spent raising money for his allies than running the country from Washington. The sad part is that they might be right.

Experts from across the political spectrum agree that the Republicans stand to be overwhelmingly successful in November’s elections and that this will make passing any legislation much harder for Democrats. The greater the Republican gain, the worse the gridlock will become.

This is an unfortunate fact, because an even split in Washington is a sign of a fairly moderate electorate. Something is wrong with our system when the more moderate the electorate, the harder it is to pass legislation.

Another unfortunate reality behind Obama’s decision is the elevated position of campaign finances.

The main goal that Democrats accomplish by bringing Obama out to speak on a candidate’s behalf is helping that candidate raise money. Sadly, the campaign finance reform that had so much momentum a decade ago — and could subsequently have removed the need for this campaigning — was never passed.

If rules were put in place to limit the amount that candidates can spend on elections as well as regulate donations and Political Action Committees more thoroughly, incumbents would spend less time campaigning and more time actually doing their jobs.

Moreover, campaign finance reform would reduce the influence of special interest groups in Washington by taking away their greatest source of leverage.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem likely to occur anytime in the near future.

Ultimately, Obama’s excessive campaigning is a sad reflection on his performance so far. Many Americans are disappointed with his handling of the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and healthcare. Obama has not used his political capital wisely, and now his party is paying the price.

This is particularly depressing for those of us who saw the promise of a new direction and better future in Obama. The campaign that was founded on hope and change has transformed into a presidency that has failed to deliver on those same messages.

Obama has not mishandled the economy or even the wars — instead, he was handed a near-impossible situation on numerous fronts the moment he stepped into office.

Anyone who was surprised at his healthcare initiative, for instance, was clearly not paying attention to what he actually said during the campaign.

However, Obama’s failure to communicate with Americans, handle the news media and consistently strike an optimistic tone is both surprising and disappointing given how well he did all of that  during the campaign.

Now, the president is forced to try to make up for it by making guest appearances at other campaigns.

His speech on Friday will probably be reminiscent of his campaign: stirring, hopeful and ultimately uplifting.

Unfortunately, Obama seems not to have mastered those same qualities in communication off the campaign trail — a trail he will continue to be familiar with until he does so.

Daniel Charnoff is a senior majoring in international relations (global business). His column, “Through the Static,” runs Wednesdays.

19 replies
  1. Francis
    Francis says:


    When does the US government get the right, to extort money from taxpayers to pay for illegal alien children education, health care and a huge number of undisclosed programs thatcater to these people? But if Senator Reid, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi and all their Democrats followers get returned to the corruption of Washington. Vice President Joe Biden has a similar voting record on illegal immigration to Reid, Boxer, Pelosi, including funding for Sanctuary Cities and no limit to money for illegal aliens. Mark my word the first thing they will do, is to pass the next Amnesty. We might not care to much for the elites in the GOP, but with the involvement of the Tea Party, the majority leaders will not be able to carry on the wishes of their corporate masters as before. With the hidden influences of the shadow government, led by George Soros they are rest assured to stick us with the 13 to 20 illegal immigrants shielded in Sanctuary Cities and States such as California. The Tide Foundation behind the Huffington press, the editorial heavily weighted down with Ultra Liberal George Soros cash.

    The painful result as analyzed by the Heritage foundation is we can add another 2.6 TRILLION dollars, to the US Government deficit of 13 TRILLION. In 2007, it was Senator Harry Reid and Sen.Barney Frank that forced through the legislation forcing banks to lend to high-risk borrowers (Low Income mortgagees) which has destroyed our housing market. U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina will be a major blockade against the infusion of illegal immigration here and will not be passing a Path to Citizenship or AMNESTY.

    We need to take a page of Europe and mass deport them, opening the way for jobs for Americans. This will take time using a new powerful revitalized identification program, for business to use and extract illegal labor. All these so called shovel-ready jobs using shady contractors should be forced to use E-Verify. However Senator Reid only allowed E-Verify to pass as a voluntary program. Harry Reid and his minions are a menace to our society, and him as an Incumbent and all the rest should not be allowed anywhere near Washington. He is certainly a tax and spend ultimate liberal, ready to drain your wage packet and purse by allowing illegal workers to join our Social Security benefit program. Interesting enough, FAIR has also diagnosed that annually we the taxpayers dish out another $113 Billion dollars, catering to pregnant women who steal into America, so they can collect benefits, low income housing for the instant citizenship children.

    The Liberal press never gives the truth about an assessment of number illegal aliens settled here, or the incredulous costs to hospitals, the education system and a overcrowded prisons. Then again, neither political party will offer a genuine, in the American people’s interest to start self-deportation through Attrition. The state of Arizona has the right idea of the passage of SB1070 and I respect them for protecting their citizens and residents even though must fight for sanity in the federal courts. As a blogger I can only give you an outline of costs to you. Under the Democratic Senate and house they will keep on forcing you to pay for all these free handouts that the low income Americans are rejected for. Illegal alien women with Anchor Babies can immediately receive section 8 housing when they have three to six children. Read all the outrageous facts of where your taxpayer dollars go in the illegal alien gigantic pool of money.

    Well termed “Anchor Babies” illustrates the economic costs to support at least 300.000 of these children of illegal alien females every year. Anchor babies born to illegal aliens instantly qualify as citizens for welfare entitlements and have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability Income. In Georgia alone gleaned by a true patriotic American Frosty Woodbridge, ” Births of illegal aliens in Georgia cost to taxpayers (Remember, intentional or not, statistics where illegal immigration is almost unobtainable. 2000– 5,133 births cost: $13 million; 2001– 9,528 births cost: $23 million;2002—11,188 births cost: $27 million. Today I have just heard the State of Arizona is taking a stand on this fireball issue, that their county recorder offices are not issuing birth certificates to children of alien parents.

    Its imperative you GOOGLE–the keyword “Anchor Babies Costs” and read Frosty Woodbridges report and come think,all his reports? Read all the official articles and do your deeper investigation for yourselves. Its likely you will have heart palpitations over the dollar figures. In addition read about one illegal family and the money they are collecting from taxpayers. A Frosty says, “In California the cost for all five of their children for one school year exceeds $35,000.00 times 18 years for a grand taxpayer total of $630,000.00. This is only one family. No wonder California is $38 billion in debt.

    To interate go to GOOGLE–and establish your own priorities of where taxpayer dollars should be going? Why should you enter this country without permission and immediately have access to other people’s money? On the non-profit website of NumbersUSA are all the answers you need to this spreading problem, including Immigration grades of both the Liberal Democrats and Republicans. If pro-illegal immigrant voters don’t remove Senator Reid, Boxer, Pelosi, Napolitano, Leader and Holder, we are looking at a perilous financial situation, a collapsing infrastructure and worse millions more economic migrants trying to slip into our country. The truth is either party is to blame for this mess, Republicans giving in to the profits of businesses using cheap labor. Then we have the Liberals and Democrats hoping to hold onto their power, by showing not for their love for illegal immigrants, but for future votes.

  2. Jim H
    Jim H says:

    How is a Obama supposed to address the nation’s problems without the support of Congress, which implies electing representatives and senators willing to work with the president – not those whose major goal seems to be obstructing progress so they can return to the policies that enriched a few and beggared the nation.

    The economic disaster was built over years. No one can turn it around in just 2. If jobs is your main concern, the only way to quickly increase jobs is stimulus. Corporations are sitting on large piles of cash because of weak demand. If you reject stimulus, you have to accept a greater downturn and a longer turnaround.

    If Obama is such a rank amateur, you have to explain the success of big measures he did push through. Perhaps a novice who knows how to work through people of greater experience, such as Emmanuel, Reid, and Pelosi, is not such an amateur?

  3. Zooey
    Zooey says:

    During the 1980’s, then presidential candidate Walter Mondale was heckled, showered with epithets and debris and forced to terminate his speaking appearance due to the activities of a small group of 28th street “Gentlemen.” That said, it brought shame upon our University. As a 3rd generation alumnus, I know from my own experience, and that of my forebears, that USC has always striven to be an open forum for thought and speech. I hope that the current student body, faculty and the “New” Administration will behave appropriately. Jean Marie Arouet (AKA: Voltaire) noted, “I will, unto my death, disagree with you. Yet I will, unto my death, defend your right to disagree with me.

  4. C
    C says:

    “People don’t have jobs. More food stamps than ever. Etc. etc. etc. Obama COULD have turned it around, but it would have required him renouncing his socialist-leaning policies, which will never create a vibrant thriving healthy economy.”

    Because Western Europe is doing oh so poorly, and the standard of living is so low there. Get off your high horses and perhaps travel around a bit more. Sure, a plethora of huge corporations are located in America, thriving. But the American economy only benefits the wealthy. Poverty is still high and the income gap distribution is continually widening. Socialism is not a bad thing. Get out of United States and experience what the world has to offer.

    • Wow
      Wow says:

      “But the American economy only benefits the wealthy. Poverty is still high and the income gap distribution is continually widening. Socialism is not a bad thing.”

      I really hope you are a student because you still have a lot to learn. The American economy only benefits the wealthy?? You’ve got to be kidding. If/when you graduate, do you plan to work for the government instead of a corporation or yourself? Where do you think the government gets its money to pay salaries and wages? Hint: taxes from the evil corporations as well as the people who receive their goods and services from them (that includes you). Grow up, donate your Che Guevara t-shirt to a homeless person and stop impersonating Pollyanna.

  5. Locke
    Locke says:

    Yeah, it’s all Bush’s fault. Obama just needs more time!

    Right. Hey kids in your ivory tower; listen up. America is careening toward bankruptcy. And while both parties are clearly to blame for the situation — now pay attention, this is the really important part — it is indisputable that over the last 20 months, Obama’s meddling in the private-sector, rampant out-of-control spending, and sheer ineptitude in realizing the job-killing nature of his policies — this has all pushed the nation closer to the precipice.

    People don’t have jobs. More food stamps than ever. Etc. etc. etc. Obama COULD have turned it around, but it would have required him renouncing his socialist-leaning policies, which will never create a vibrant thriving healthy economy.

    You gotta give him this: He’s been true to his principles. And as one of the previous comments noted, if you were paying attention during the election you shouldn’t be surprised at what you got. But the conservatives were warning about the dire consequences, and they were sneered at.

    The more time he has to act, the more damage that will be done.

    And another bombshell is about to hit the American people too, in the form of some very bad news regarding some very large union employers. The Democrats really put their foot in it with this one. Wait and see.

  6. Ida Probity
    Ida Probity says:

    If you think Mr. Obama is wasting precious time campaigning on behalf of Democratic candidates, wait until next year when he has to campaign for his own re-election. At any rate, clearly his forte is giving speeches. Is hot air adding to the global warming problem that he’s not addressing?

  7. Greg Katz
    Greg Katz says:

    Unfortunately, Boxer and Brown will win their respective political positions, though they clearly are not appropriate candidates. Boxer’s been there too long, hold s a very liberal agenda, as does Brown. With that said, young people and the politically ignorant will vote them into office, as the Republicans have not provided a clearly experienced alternative. Whitman and Fiorina may have been successful as CEO’s of their companies, but CEO’s have more power to control their agenda than a Governor or a Senator. That’s why you don’t find many experienced corporate managers in political office. With the problems in Sacto, the Gov is a dead place to be in right now.

  8. Steve B.
    Steve B. says:

    Daniel Charnoff is a clueless individual. Like Bush did not campaign for others during his term in office. At least Obama doesn’t fall asleep in the evening watching TV instead of being hard at work to improve the country.

  9. Christopher Ganiere
    Christopher Ganiere says:

    I agree that the president’s time is wasted in California. The “D” party in California is not only well funded, but also has a wide margin of voters registered to its party – the next largest voting block has 10% fewer registrants. If Boxer and Brown can’t win here, then they truly deserve to lose.

  10. Bob Mulholland
    Bob Mulholland says:

    The Buckley decision (1976) by the US Supreme Court ruled that money was a First Amendment right. So in the US you cannot prohibit the free spending of tens of millions by groups. You cannot prohibit Meggy Whitman from using $141.5 million (so far) of her “own” money . What the Courts have ruled is- you can put limits on contributions for candidates and political parties but not corporations. That’s why more Republicans get elected but not Meggy- she & Fiorina are flawed candidates.

  11. Warren Roche '67
    Warren Roche '67 says:

    My young friends, when you have watched the political scene as long as I have you will be able to see more clearly that you elected a rank amateur to the presidency. This president took a normal, periodic recession and turned it into a serious downturn that is not over, and will not be over for some time. This president and the academics that he has surrounded himself with have projected an anti-business tone that has succeeded, along with his super-majority in the House and Senate, in paralyzing the business community thus punishing the very people who put him in office with record unemployment along with eroding America’s economic position in the world. The mantra of hope and change are laughable to those foreign leaders who are playing for keeps.

    • David
      David says:

      You claim it was, “a normal, periodic recession”??????

      Do you forget that your candidate, McCain, decided to stop campaigning to work on the economy.

      It is and was anything but a normal recession.

    • jack
      jack says:

      “My young friends”. How condescending of you. Based on your nickname, I’m as old as you are. And I’ve been paying attention to the “political scene” probably longer than you have.

      But that’s not the point of my post. Where you reveal yourself as entirely irrelevant is your claim that this was a “normal, periodic recession”. The only thing “periodic” about the worst recession since the Great Depression is that like every other major hit on our economy…it was caused by Republican policies and actions. Like clockwork, every time they’ve touched the economy since the 1920’s…America goes over the cliff.

      You Cheap Labor Conservatives…always fighting for the rights of American comanies to ship all our jobs over to communist China…are laughable.

  12. jack
    jack says:

    Did you copy the talking points for this article from the Fox “News” Propaganda Channel? Obama has performed MIRACLES in less than two years…when compared to the utter destruction left behind by the Republicans. And if he hasn’t solved every problem…we know exactly who was fighting and blocking him at every step. Those same Republicans who’d rather score cheap political points than help America. Meaningless article, mediocrity personified.

  13. fred reade
    fred reade says:

    What a thoughtless piece. Is Obama responsible for the economic catastrophe he inherited? Is he supposed to turn that around overnight as if he is the CEO of the USA? How is he supposed to advance his agenda when congress is out of session? How can he advance his agenda the next two years if the GOP takes over?

    This is a poorly conceived piece with trite and unoriginal rhetoric.

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