FLOTSAM & JETSAM: How Obama could lose in 2012

Monday, July 11, 2011

How Obama could lose in 2012

Sam Smith

Although Obama is currently within about 50 electoral votes of beating most Republican candidates, and even leads his most serious competition – Mitt Romney - by better than two to one, the 2012 race is far from settled.

One problem is that there are signs that the enthusiasm that swept him into office is rapidly fading. This can be seen by comparing his recent poll leads against Romney with his state returns in 2008. Some examples:

Massachusetts down 8
Maine down 9
Michigan down 9
New Hampshire down 10
Pennsylvania down 6
Washington down 6

Far from fatal, but far from encouraging, either.

The problem is not that former supporters will turn against him so much as they will lose interest, stop contributing and fail to show up at the polls.

An underlying difficulty is that Obama has turned out to be a one-con artist. His 2008 campaign was a brilliant illusion that concealed his true political character and paid off well. He has been unable to reproduce this trick even once since he has been in office. His efforts have been boring, annoying, confusing, indecipherable or just plain incompetent. Compared to his indefatigable con man penultimate predecessor Bill Clinton, Obama seems an amateur.

In the best of all political worlds, Obama would be dumped by the Democrats in favor of someone who could get us out of stupid wars, take on Wall Street and provide an economic stimulus driven by something other than endless verbal Viagra dispensed from a White House pulpit.

It won’t happen, of course, and so despite his present lead, Obama could still be headed for big trouble. A few reasons why:

- The thrill is gone. Even the knee jerkers at Move On are infuriated by Obama’s targeting Social Security. Others are just discouraged, disappointed or disengaged. Audacity has turned out to be paucity. And aside from killing Bin Laden, Obama’s administration has been the most boring of modern times. Even Jerry Ford made you smile.

- Against a real candidate – i.e. Mitt Romney – Obama does markedly worse than against the GOP showboaters who are getting all the media coverage. At the present time, Obama only looks strong when pitted against the crazies.

- Obama’s blackness no longer has the effect that it did the first time out. Many blacks feel short-changed, and white liberal post-racial fantasies have been knocked out of the ring. More see Obama as who he is, rather than as a symbol, and that doesn’t score too many points in his favor.

- Liberals like to blame it all on racism. In fact, Obama’s elite Ivy League manner and pro Wall Street politics are much more the culprits.. As far back as the 1980s Jesse Jackson was able to garner lower class white voters by simply addressing their issues and speaking United States. But Americans have a hard time recognizing the role of class in politics and often blame race instead.

- Obama is one of the most boring and pedantic presidents we have had. His occasional basketball tosses and silly little jogs up the steps to the podium can’t hide the vapid quality of what he has to say.

- Obama has a tin ear. He has a hard time responding to things with any emotion. He can’t make anything swing. And thanks to his obsession with teleprompters he rarely even looks his TV audience in the eye.

- In talking to us, he often comes across, at best, as a priggish teacher and, at worse, a scold. 

- Like most liberals today, he grossly underestimates the importance of improving people economic lives. By deserting the economic emphasis that underlay the New Deal, Fair Deal and Great Society, Obama is donating his own base to the Republicans.

- His handling of the stimulus has been a disaster. There’s a widespread understanding the Wall Street has come out of it all miles ahead of ordinary Americans and Obama just doesn’t even seem to notice it.

- Obama doesn’t know how to handle the opposition. For example, when Romney started hitting him for the high unemployment rate, the White House might have told us how many people have been fired by Romney’s various businesses.

- And, in the end, there will be that unemployment rate. If it doesn’t drop significantly between now and the election, it will be a stunning mark of failure. Back in 2009, even Obama admitted he'd have trouble being reelected if it didn't get better.

Again, this is not about people switching parties, but about them staying home, not helping to get out the vote and not writing checks.
In the last election, Obama won by 7% of the popular vote. That means less than four percent of the electorate has to head for the sidelines to change things dramatically.

Not a prediction. Just something to think about.