Streetwise Professor

September 1, 2012

Obama Diagnoses His Worst Mistake: He Hasn’t Campaigned Enough

Filed under: Economics,Politics — The Professor @ 11:33 am

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a looonnggg piece on Obama Agonistes, the struggler facing a tough reelection campaign.  Oh! The injustice!

In it, his confidants identify his problem: He hasn’t campaigned enough:

Over his first term, Mr. Obama, 51 years old, has fundamentally shifted his view of modern presidential power, say those who know him well. He is now convinced the most essential part of his job, given politically divided Washington, is rallying public opinion to his side.

As a result, if he wins a second term, Mr. Obama plans to remain in campaign mode.

Note: that was not from The Onion.  Follow the link, and you’ll find the above in the WSJ.

Umm, when has he ever been out of campaign mode?

This explanation for his failures is a variant on a theme that he personally and his minions have flogged for the past several years: his biggest mistake has been that he hasn’t taken the time to explain the brilliant wonderfulness of The One and his deeds to the boobs in the boonies and the burbs.  So he will dedicate himself to righting that mistake and instructing us slow learners.

This is a rather pathetic attempt to rationalize doing what he really likes to do, and for avoiding what he doesn’t.  He obviously has a distaste for governing, and performing executive functions.  He relishes the adulation of swooning crowds.  He doesn’t like face-to-face pushback from political opponents or those all too few journalists who aren’t flacking for him.  He loves to be able to speak unchallenged to faceless masses of smitten acolytes.

Campaigning is what he likes.  So he has succeeded in justifying in his own mind that it is what the nation needs.  It is all about the personality cult.  Governing, not so much.

And it gets better-or worse, depending on how you look at it.  For what, pray tell, will he campaign? For this:

The president views a second term in some ways as a second chance, an opportunity to approach the office differently, according to close aides. He would like to tackle issues such as climate change, immigration, education and filibuster reform.

Again: Not the Onion.

Filibuster reform?  I say again: Filibuster Reform?  Yeah.  That’ll sweep the nation like a firestorm. And yeah, that’s an obvious priority right now.

And the rest of the list is bizarre, given current circumstances.  The economy is growing slowly.  Unemployment remains chronically high, and the employment rate has declined to multi-decade lows.  The nation’s fiscal situation is fraught, and Europe is providing a real time example of what can happen when fiscal issues are allowed to fester.  Entitlements are clearly unsustainable.  These are the things that matter, in my mind objectively, and undoubtedly in the minds of most Americans.

But Obama intends to squander his second chance the way he squandered his first one, chasing progressive unicorns.

A common meme in many elections past was that Republican presidential candidates were “out of touch.”  What could possibly be more out of touch with pressing concerns than a focus on climate change, immigration, education and freakin’ filibuster reform?

Heretofore Obama’s campaign has been relentlessly negative, focusing on Romney’s business past and his alleged extremism.  (Romney extremist?  Who knew?)  This negativity is quite understandable, given the lack of positive accomplishments to run on: even his signature achievement-Obamacare-is a political albatross that he has to tippy-toe around.  Claims that he will adopt policies that will restore growth, increase employment, and improve our fiscal future would immediately raise the question: why should you be given a second chance on these issues, given you’ve flubbed the first?

Romney and Ryan need to try to force Obama to state a positive program for a second term, and hope that he indeed runs on climate change, or even better, filibuster reform (which would be especially rich given that Obama was not shy about the filibuster when he was in the Senate). They need to turn around the “out of touch” meme.

The WSJ piece is intended to present a sympathetic portrait of Obama, but it is anything but.  It portrays a self-pitying man who craves adulation who is overwhelmed by the real challenges and who detests the gritty reality of contending with the opposition in a closely divided country.

He is, in short, much more interested in being Messiah than Moses.

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  1. Are you sure he is not just role playing his favorite Monty Python skits? The similarity to Sir Bevedere The Wise is absolutely striking.

    Good comments Professor

    Comment by pahoben — September 1, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

  2. Well Perfesser, what are you, some damned commie? Of course this is the problem – he has to get out more so we can perhaps expand our minds to comprehend the wonderful thing that has arisen from that source of Solons, the Cook County Democratic Party. If we peasants could only realize the wonderfulness of the O, no the “BIG” O. we should be grateful (like he is great-ful)that he has climbed of the Olympus of his intellect and all around ubermenschlikeit to share himself with us mortals down here in the Sh*t! Have you no appreciation for a man who can part the waves, lower the seas, pee perfume and defecate ambergris?

    WassamataU? Get with the program!

    Comment by sotos — September 2, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

  3. @sotos-LOL. To me, the only big O is Oscar Robertson 😛 This guy-total poser.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 2, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

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