Punditry, however you define that term, has its pitfalls as I learn each day when I blog. I think Barack Obama is a bad president leading the country on a dangerous course that will do damage to the entire world. But I don’t want to succumb to wishful thinking as I know it is all too easy to do. So while I hope the authors of these two pieces are correct I have misgivings.
Mr. Dunn at American Thinker flatly says it is over. He feels that President Obama’s performance over the last few weeks has signalled the imminent collapse of his presidency and is the beginning of the end. You may read it for yourself in its entirety but I believe his thesis depends entirely on millions of American voters judging President Obama as wanting in precisely the way he does. He then, I think, undercuts his own argument with this quote:
“His hollowness can no longer be ignored. It has become his major feature. The Obama persona has always been pure mythology, with next to nothing holding it together. It has been deteriorating for some time, and that process reached a critical point this week. Now it will accelerate, with the pieces falling off in ever-larger chunks. He has lost the respect of his opponents. He is losing the respect of his own party. Official Washington will follow. The country as a whole will grow angry with the anger of the betrayed. All that will remain will be the true believers. A new myth will take shape: that of Obama the victim, hero of the people and onetime messiah, ambushed and pulled down by vicious and dishonorable enemies. If it weren’t for Boehner, prince of evil… If it weren’t for the GOP… If it weren’t for the Koch brothers and all their cash…
That new myth will be solid, irrefutable, and well-made. It will have to be. If the record is any indication, it’s the only thing they will have for quite some time to come.”
The last sentence is quite true. Having met the “true believers” he speaks of I know President Obama could be arrested and convicted and they would still vote for him him. I believe there are more of them out there than Mr. Dunn wants to contemplate. Over the last few days I have even heard them imputing racism to the Democrats in the congress! This because they criticize a president who doesn’t have a plan. Whatever happend to the argument that once we elected an African-American president we would never have to worry about the race card again?
By my reckoning, President Obama has a lock on at minimum 40% of the vote, no matter what. If there are third parties the president could win re-election with well under fifty percent of the vote. To be absolutely sure of defeating him we have to hold him to 45% of the vote and not one vote more. Not an easy task. He was elected because Democrats voted for him en masse (that can’t be denied) a substantial number of “Independents” (who seem pretty squishy to me) went for him, a large number of disaffected conservatives apparently didn’t vote at all and some unknown number of “conservatives” and super-squishy Republicans voted for him. That recipe for disaster can be repeated, but must not be. All the talk of splits among the Democrats was heard in 2008 but doctrinal disputes didn’t matter a jot and tittle at the polls. So-called “conservative” Democrats voted for him and have supported him blindly since.
I think we are on firmer, if not completely solid ground, with the Hillbuzz piece. Not that Kevin and his crew are always right. After all, I believed them in 2008 when they said hordes of “Puma” voters (remember them?) would ensure then candidate Obama’s defeat. Their post election argument is that the Puma vote was there but was overmatched by the stay-at-home conservatives and the squishy “conservatives” (speaking of, I see Peggy Noonan is poking her head out again) who put him in office.
I find the piece on Ohio interesting for two reasons:
First, it is a reminder that the November 2010 election had consequences and that in most of the country (California an apparent exception) the Republicans (still the more conservative party) made great gains that are expected to alter the playing field for 2012 and make more pickups likely in 2012. That means more statehouses, senate and congress seats and even possibly, the White House. The change in statehouses was very significant for redistricting and a host of other issues. Good. It also means that President Obama will have a little rougher sailing if he does get reelected.
Second, the Ohio organization they speak of suggests to me that the anger that spawned the Tea Party is by no means dead. The Tea Party is alive and organizing and that is a very bad thing for the president and his gang. I don’t think people are any less angry about the situation in Washington than they were. The anger is simmering and is “not newsworthy” at the moment because it has woven itself into daily life. Congress still has abysmal approval ratings and I do believe that the president’s core approval is slipping a bit.
Nothing will keep squishy Republicans and wayward independents in line like a solid grassroots organization built along local lines and fueled by local issues coalescing behind a strong candidate. Now we need a strong candidate or else the whole election may still go along 2008 lines.
It is still pretty early in the season. Far too early to declare Ohio a victory.