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August 12, 2011

The Liberal Need to Round on Obama

Found in Hot Air's headlines, Victor Davis Hanson talks about the need to go after Obama:

Obama is being blamed for not being liberal enough — after federalizing much of the health care delivery system, expanding government faster than at any time since 1933, borrowing more money in two and a half years than any president in history, absorbing companies, jawboning the wealthy, going after Boeing, reversing the order of the Chrysler creditors, adding vast new financial and environmental regulations, appointing progressives like a Van Jones or Cass Sunstein, and institutionalizing liberal protocols across the cabinet and bureaucracy, from the EPA to the Attorney General’s Office.

In other words, there is now an elite liberal effort to disentangle Obama from liberalism itself, and to suggest that his sagging polls are not a reflection of Obama’s breakneck efforts to take the country leftward — but either his inability or unwillingness to do so!

. . .

Partly, the anger is quite savvy: if one suddenly blames Obama the man, rather than Obama the ideologue, then his unpopularity is his own, not liberalism’s. There is a clever effort to raise the dichotomy of the inept Carter and the politically savvy Clinton, but in the most improbable fashion: Clinton supposedly was a success not because he was personable, sometimes compromising, and often centrist, and Carter was a failure not because he was sanctimoniously and stubbornly ideological, but just the opposite: Clinton is now reinvented as the true liberal who succeeded because of his principled leftwing politics; Carter like Obama was a bumbling compromiser and waffler.

(Emphasis added.) It can never be about the policies. It can never be the public's rejection of liberal ideas. It's always about the candidate or the packaging--i.e., the "messaging"--a communication problem. Ace has written about this several times. We saw it during the lead-up to the 2010 election and for some time thereafter. It wasn't that the public disliked or misunderstood liberalism; it was that the GOP's packaging was superior. And that if Democrats could simply package, brand, and message their ideas better, then they would be an Instant Hit with the public.

The unstated flipside of the messaging argument is that the public is simply too ignorant to get it. Unstated by some, that is. James Taranto writes about the collapse of "the Cult of Obama" and points out that some are lashing out at the American people for being unworthy of Obama. Taranto adds that there are still others who are experiencing moments of clarity. He mentions Drew Westen's op-ed in the New York Times yesterday wherein Westen acknowledged being "bewitched" and "enthralled" by the Obama candidacy. Westen didn't mention whether he thought Obama's pants were perfectly creased, though.

Dave in Texas called it a form of enial.

The need to round on Obama is likely to grow worse, especially if his polling doesn't improve significantly. Talk of a primary challenge will grow concurrently. But since many discount the feasibility of such a move, a serious primary challenge is unlikely. Likewise, although this liberal need to defensively attack Obama will grow, most of it will be saved for after the election--in the event of a loss.

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posted by rdbrewer at 09:22 AM

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