Gregory Frets Obama Losing ‘Scope’ to ‘Usher in Economic Restoration,’ Friedman Sees ‘Tragedy’

Pivoting to the downside for President Obama of the swirling scandals, Meet the Press host David Gregory fretted over “a bigger issue that the President faces, which is where is his agenda left in all this?” Citing a poll showing the public thinks fixing unemployment should be a higher priority than investigations, Gregory despaired: “The President’s coming under fire for losing his scope, effectively, in a second term to rebuild America, to usher in economic restoration.”

“Well, that’s the tragedy for him. It’s a tragedy for all of us,” New York Times columnist Tom Friedman agreed. 

After more than four years of ObamaNomics, who outside of the news media lives in a fantasy world where additional new actions by Obama are going to “rebuild America” and “usher in economic restoration”?

Audio: MP3 clip

Unmentioned by Gregory, how that same Quinnipiac poll determined “American voters say 76-17 percent, including 63-30 percent among Democrats, that a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate charges the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups,” a finding even George Stephanopoulos noted on ABC’s This Week.

From the Sunday, June 2 Meet the Press on NBC, after some back and forth amongst David Axelrod, Republican Congresswoman Marsh Blackburn and Republican strategist Ana Navarro about the IRS scandal:

DAVID GREGORY: Tom Friedman, this is part of a bigger issue that the President faces, which is where is his agenda left in all this? I want to show something. You wrote about how to get a job this week which got incredible response. Here’s a poll from Quinnipiac this past week, that shows the following. “What should be a higher priority?” Investigating Benghazi and AP at 22 percent, people said, relatively low. The economy and unemployment was at 73 percent. Clearly a much higher priority as you look at that poll. The President’s coming under fire for losing his scope, effectively, in a second term to rebuild America, to usher in economic restoration.

TOM FRIEDMAN: Well, that’s the tragedy for him. It’s a tragedy for all of us. Because we are in the middle, I would argue, David, of a huge inflection where two points I would make about this moment. One is that the -- the thing that sustained the American middle class for 50 years was something called high wage middle skill jobs. There is no such thing anymore as a high wage middle skill job. There’s only going to be a high wage high skill job. So every decent middle class job today is actually being pulled in three directions at once. It’s being pulled higher. It takes more skill to have. It’s being pulled out. More software, robots, automation and people around the world can compete for it. And it’s being pulled down. It’s being outsourced to history, to the past, being made obsolete faster.

I had an experience a couple weeks ago. I had to deal with Hertz for a pretty complicated change in reservation. For the first time I did the entire transaction with Hertz without any human interaction. This was a complicated interaction I had. It really made a point of that. What’s been happening to blue collar jobs, that kind of pac-man of automation outsourcing and digitization is now coming after white collar jobs as well. This requires a huge strategic response for the country.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center