Civility, Liberal-Style | Main | Any Recent Obama Converts? [ArthurK]
August 03, 2011

Michael Goodwin: The Country Is Giving Up On Obama

Via Jammie Wearing Fool (with more at the link), Michael Good win puts it in an interesting way.

[T]he result [of the debt-ceiling compromise] doesn't suit our president, who has an itch for punishing wealth and more spending. To scratch it, he turns reflexively to scapegoating. The man who promised to unite the nation instead relishes dividing it at every opportunity.

So we heard again that the evil "oil companies" and "billionaires" and the "wealthy" and "big corporations" need to "pay their fair share." Doesn't he ever get tired of saying the same things?

I don't know which is worse: That he really believes such drivel will help America, or that he's cynically throwing red meat to the Bubbas of his far-left base. Either way, he needs new material.

But the debt debate made it clear that Obama's idea shop is running on fumes. Like a broken record, he's stuck on the same song -- bigger government, higher taxes. No matter the circumstance, he repeats the mantra.


Unemployment is a staggering 9.2 percent and rising, and most economists believe the economy is in serious danger of a double-dip recession. Obama's answer: Let's do it all again.

He gives lip service to the pain of the unemployed and underemployed, then trots out the old ideas. Usually he doesn't even bother to repackage them.
Maybe he hasn't noticed or doesn't care, but the country is giving up on him. The shellacking his party and policies took in the 2010 midterms would be repeated if there were an election today. He's sinking, and his approval is now a woeful 40 percent -- that's Jimmy Carter territory.

I think this is interesting because it strikes me that this is how Obama voters become Obama opponents.

The moderates/fake Republicans/disengaged types who voted for Obama will probably never (mostly) share our ideological opposition to him. Had that soil been fertile ground for such seeds, they wouldn't have voted for him in the first place.

They will vote against him, though, for failure to produce good results. The only way he can make up for a failure to produce good results is to at least offer a plan that strikes people as plausible.

If you can't say "Look what I did for you," the only alternative (and it's not even a good alternative) is to say "Look what my fresh ideas, if they were to be implemented, would do for you."

Not a great way to get re-elected, but beggars can't be choosers. Plan A is always to be an unqualified success. Plan B is to be qualified success.

Plan C -- which is I guess the best-case option for Obama now, unless the economy takes a serious turn for the better -- is to cadge together some plan that might strike people as at least having potential.

After Clinton was repudiated in 1994, he tried Plan C, triangulation, and a series of micro-proposals, like a push for school uniforms, that didn't do much but at least convinced the public he was on the job.

That -- plus, chiefly, an economy which finally started to recover tangibly -- got him re-elected.

But Obama isn't even trying Plan C. He's trying Plan F for Failure: The same old crap.

As has been widely predicted, Obama can't go with Plan C because he's just not like Clinton in this respect. Clinton was a genuine liberal, and would have taken the country down the path of socialism if he could have, but he was also cagey and cynical, and I don't mean those, at the moment, in a bad way.

But Obama is... well, I'm not sure he's wise enough to be cynical. He believes this crap. Clinton did too, but didn't see as convinced of it as Obama.

Clinton would sell out his own grandmother for political advantage, so he'd certainly run against the liberals in his own party.

But Obama can't do that. True, Obama could sell out his grandmother as a racist to get him out of a jam, but he's closer in kinship to the far left than to any blood relative.

He can't, and won't, cross the left. So he can't offer some kind of new plan. Just the same dreary class warfare and redistribution of income and ever-growing welfare state.

In the 90s, if I remember right, liberals fretted that their fellow liberals were less interested in the boycotts that because fashionable during the 80s. Many liberals got tired of the long list of foods they weren't supposed to eat -- apples (they have alar!) and grapes (migrant farmers aren't paid enough to pick them!) -- and just tuned out of the Boycott of the Week.

This was called "Compassion Fatigue." It's not that these liberals disagreed with any of these boycotts. They just grew weary of trying to remember what they could and could not eat. They never argued against the boycotts; they just silently demonstrated their disinterest in them by ignoring them.

That strikes me as a plausible model for how an Obama voter might become a Romney (or Perry, etc.) voter: Not through outright repudiation, not through a major intellectual journey and ultimate re-orientation. Those happen sometimes, of course, but most people are content to go through life believing in all the false and foolish things they've always believed in.

But through a less intellectual driver: Simple fatigue. Weariness. A snap decision, made mostly in the gut, that one is simply tired of someone, and that he is no longer charming, or compelling, or fashionable.

A bit like falling out of love. Few really plan on falling out of love with someone. It just happens. There is a period of increasing dissatisfaction, and then one day, without any definitive event to mark the change, one finds he's just no longer fond of someone he'd once loved.

Obama's on the television too much. He threatened Republicans, during the debt ceiling negotiation, that he would take his case to the public; the public didn't much care.

The public viewed him as cloying. And needy. And attention-seeking. And weak.

I think many people are, as Goodwin says, "giving up on Obama." In fact, I think many people have already given up on him, past tense, and are really just waiting for a suitable eligible candidate to announce himself (or herself), at which point will come the "It's not you, it's me" speech.

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posted by Ace at 02:35 PM

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