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February 03, 2011

Kaus Suggests Reason For Obama's Rise In Popularity

This is actually the reason. Many of us saw this coming, or at least the likelihood of it.

Call it the "catharsis theory."

Let's say you have a girlfriend (or a wife, or husband). She's really bugging you with ... oh, say her profligate spending! You drop hint after hint and she doesn't stop. Finally, after the latest credit-card bill arrives, you blow up. You yell at her for half an hour. You cut her credit card in half. She puts forward a vigorous, all-too-familiar defense but then seems to accept the new situation.

What happens after that? I'd say you feel better about her almost instantly. You've made your point. You've set up some restraints to limit future damage, spendingwise. Hey, there were always lots of things you liked about her! She knew what they were. Now she knows what you don't like about her. Maybe she'll change.

Then, as the weeks go by, she doesn't go on any more spending binges! She seems to have learned the lesson.


Once [the credit-card cutting-up that was the 2010 elections] was over, they liked Obama better, without him having to do anything. In fact, his approval rating in the polls started to turn around almost immediately, in November when he still appeared to be figuring out how to react. (Daley wasn't named until January, for example.) He'd been administered his lesson.

If, as the weeks pass, he seems to have actually learned the lesson, he'll only become more popular. Voters don't have to know anything about his chief of staff, under this theory. They don't care that Biden's new top aide is the former head of the centrist DLC. They don't have to like Jeffrey Immelt or crave "green" cars or think "win the future" is an inspirational phrase. They just have to sense that Obama has stopped doing that thing that pissed them off.

Yup, that's it.

Takeaway? People still like the idea of Obama, but not the real Obama. So long as Obama is backed into a ceremonial corner and thus not doing much, they can pretend the idea of Obama is the real Obama.

I guess the tactic must be to confront him early and often and make him lay down markers showing where he stands -- the real Obama, the one people don't like.

I continue to think it's time to start getting personal, and start talking about Obama in terms, as I said before, of "cowardice" and "betrayal." Because the poll number still seem to indicate that 50% or so of the country still basically likes him, even if they don't like what he does, and that will cause them to give him a pass on all his misdeeds. As people do for their friends and family.

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posted by Ace at 04:52 PM

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