President Barak Obama greets supporters on the tarmac of the Grand Rapids , Mich. airport, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011, on his way to Holland, Mich. (AP Photo/Adam Bird)

There’s a temptation to ask the snap question: What country fits that quote? 

But to the point, this one is about America. But is it actually true?

Are the people really angry, or just seriously and resolutely determined? It’s sort of like when parents get upset and loudly scold their children, and the children think that as long as the parents are raising their voices and threatening, they don’t have to pay much attention. But when the parents fix their jaw and narrow their eyes to focus like a laser, and just palpably make their displeasure known, it’s serious. It’s ‘uh-oh’ time.

This juvenile scenario struck me while reading this AP piece about Obama heading to the heartland to face the folks.

Obama’s bus tour, his first as president,

(he had no need to meet people in the heartland until now?)

begins Monday

(“after a summer of discontent over a protracted debt showdown with Republicans and the downgrade in the nation’s credit rating.” As noted in the lede paragraph of this story)

and will take him to prairie communities in Minnesota and through Iowa and Illinois, with stops in the farmland and rural towns that launched his first White House bid.

Recalls the days when he was appealing to them for their vote in 2008. Which he has returned to now.

But wait…

The former Illinois senator is expected to tell audiences that he agrees with their frustrations about a dysfunctional federal government.

What? The federal goverment is headed by the Chief Executive in the White House, the President of the United States. As comedian Jon Stewart recently emphasized, the buck (‘if it’s still the buck’ he said) stops there.

What he’s saying in sound bites is this:

“What we’ve seen in Washington the last few months has been the worst kind of partisanship, the worst kind of gridlock – and that gridlock has undermined public confidence and impeded our efforts to take the steps we need for our economy,” Obama said Thursday in Michigan. “It’s made things worse instead of better.”

What he’s really saying is that the Republicans have given him and his party, which couldn’t get a budget passed when they controlled everything, a hard time by pushing back on his agenda. (Sorry for the hopelessly outdated link.)

So.

Obama will have a tough sales job on the road. Unemployment is high, foreclosures are rampant and Wall Street is jittery.

While considered official White House travel, the bus tour will put Obama in campaign-like settings with small-business owners and workers in rural areas.

Which seems like a questionable statement of ethics right there.

The story concludes with this:

Most Democrats, said MoveOn.org’s Justin Ruben, “have not been offering a clear prescription for actually getting the economy moving.”

Obama told workers in Michigan that he plans to roll out more economic plans “that will help businesses hire and put people back to work.” That’s an approach Democrats hope will set the tone for next year’s election in the Midwest and beyond.

Somebody at AP needed to wrap up the story and get it posted without scrutiny. Because that’s hollow rhetoric. And that’s what got us to this point.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....