Confronting politicians on television: America’s #1 growth industry!
It’s hard sometimes for reporters to make intangible mass effects like foreclosure rates, personal bankruptcies and voter apathy seem personal, which is why the media loves focusing in on a stand-in who can represent forces that go beyond any individual. Thus Joe The Plumber became representative of white working class suspicion towards Barack Obama, and the crazy lady who confronted Barney Frank became representative of the often-incoherent criticisms of health care reform. And now Democrats have their own synecdochic representation.
By her own account, Velma Hart is an upper-middle class woman who works as a CFO for veterans service organization AmVets while raising two daughters. She confronted President Obama at a town hall in Washington D.C. last night, and in the process became a symbol of Democrats’ frustration at the Obama administration. As she explained:
“I’m one of your middle class Americans. And quite frankly, I’m exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. I’ve been told that I voted for a man who was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I’m one of those people, sir, and I’m waiting. And I don’t feel it yet.”
Obama, to his credit, avoided blaming Republicans and tried his best to enumerate the various ways his administration has helped the middle class. But the reforms to NewsFeed’s eyes seemed like piecemeal efforts: Making college loans slightly easier to get and forcing credit card companies to tell people before raising their interest rates.
Hart’s speech has earned her media accolades: a cover story in the New York Post, a followup interview with CNN (where she explained that though she was not satisfied with his answer she still supports Obama.) Will she be the face of Democratic discontent in the 2010 midterms?