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June 04, 2012

Devastating Digest of the Obama Presidency At Commentary

The illusions they cling to.

This capsulizes various reports from inside the White House, including reporter's comments and tidbits pulled from books about Obama's presidency.

It's not a pretty picture. I can't quote it all, so I'll just quote a few tasty morsels.

The beginning is about the four main critiques of Obama from liberals. As usual, it's the typical claptrap about "communications," Obama having too high a moral character to join Republicans in the gutter, and two related problems: that Obama's stimulus package was not big enough (and not socialist enough), which is caused by the second problem, that Obama cares too much about high deficits and therefore is too much of a fiscal conservative debt-hawk.

So the typical stuff: Obama simply cannot cure low-information voters of their resilient stupidity, Obama is too good to prosper in Evil America, and Obama's far too conservative to make sound policy choices.

Fine answers all.

Then the article begins diagnosing Obama's character -- based on reportage from largely left-wing sources.

Perhaps the most unattractive personality trait that emerges from the various descriptions of the president is that he constantly feels underappreciated and is prone to bouts of self-pity. Obama complained that “events had conspired against him,” we read in Showdown. “He would routinely note that he had been handed ‘a real shitty deal’ when he entered the White House.” Prior to the 2010 election, a former senior White House official recalls to Corn: “The world seemed to be going to shit. The president was doing his best, but it was impossible to get credit.”

I wonder how many other people have worked their whole lives for a very high-status job, and then immediately began complaining the job was hard.

What did you think it would be? A "cakewalk"?

A senior administration official lamented that, in Corn’s words, “being responsible for preventing adverse consequences was [a] lonely duty in Washington.” The president and members of his economic team “believed they had not received sufficient credit for having passed a variety of modest-sized job measures.” In speaking about the business community, Obama complained:

“I saved these guys when the economy was falling off a cliff. Now I get nothing but their venom.”

And Corn relays an even more extraordinary episode: “We’re losing white males,” Obama said to a private gathering of labor leaders. “Fed by Fox News, they hear Obama is a Muslim 24/7, and it begins to seep in….The Republicans have been at this for 40 years. They have new resources, but the strategy is old.” This line of thinking is something conjured up in a Manichean, make-believe world. One gets the sense that Obama really believes it, and that he is not alone.

The article then turns to the state-of-mind of contemporary liberalism, noting, for example, that Obama is the least "obstructed" President since FDR in '33 and LBJ in '65 -- for two full years, he had absolutely unchecked free reign. He got everything he wanted.

It's true he's had less success in the following year and a half -- but that's because all the things he got in his first two years failed to improve the nation's circumstance, and he was therefore dealt a historic repudiation at the polls.

Sill, that said: Most of a president's policies are passed in the honeymoon period or not at all. Obama got much more than most presidents get.

George Bush's last two years in office featured an entire Congress (and not just the House) controlled by Democrats. He also faced some obstruction.

But all this excuse-making is of course in service of a simple goal: To avoid conceding any flaws in socialism itself. They will, in the end, always throw the Man and the Execution under the bus in order to keep the Socialism Bus rolling along.

However, there's always a more tempting scapegoat: The dull-witted, racist, fearful American people themselves.

If Obama goes on to lose his bid for reelection, it would be yet another crushing blow to liberalism. And in reading these books, it is hard to avoid the impression that the effort to explain a 2012 defeat is already under way.

...

Axelrod then summed up the case for Obama: “This may not be entirely satisfying, but he believes his highest responsibility is to get things done.” Axelrod’s own job, as he understands it, has been to “find a way to convey this, to politically monetize character.” He added, “It’s not entirely apparent you can do that.”

If the president loses in November, the left, ever in search of narratives, will settle on this one: Barack Obama was simply too good for America.

In other Obama-related news, the RNC is now running an Obama ad.

Sort of. It's the instantly-infamous Anna "Devil Wears Prada" Wintour ad, with unemployment figures running below it. (Embedded after the fold.)

Bob Shrum says if Obama runs on his record, he'll lose.

So he won't do that/isn't doing that.

A CNN poll of adults -- really? Not even voters? -- find Obama with a three point lead, which means he's actually trailing.

Worst yet, even with adults, Romney's favorability numbers have jumped fourteen points since February. (Duh-- I meant Romney's favorables climbed 14 points, not Obama's!)

Romney and Obama now have identical unfavorable figures -- 42% each -- while Obama, supposedly, with adults, enjoys a higher margin of favorability, 56-42 as opposed to Romney's 48-42.

That's not a terribly wide gulf, and it's only the beginning of June. And the impact of the third month straight of Double-Dip Warning jobs numbers isn't reflected in those numbers yet.

And it's a poll of adults, meaning that a 7 point advantage for Democrats is baked into the cake, IIRC. (If my memory fails me, please let me know-- I think Nate Silver has found that a poll of registered adults gives Democrats an artificial four point advantage as compared to actual vote share, and a poll of adults gives them a 7 point advantage.)

One more thing: Obama's losing big-dollar donors. We already knew that.

He's also losing small-dollar donors, Buzzfeed finds, and by an eyepopping stat: 90% of under-$200 donors who donated in 2008 haven't donated to him yet.

I asked @buzzfeedben if they'd examined the timing of donations; that is, if the great bulk of Obama's small-dollar donations occurred in, say, August 2008, then we couldn't really say Obama was off-pace quite yet.

But he says that they checked that, and that Obama is off fundraising from smaller donors, month-by-month, by "similar statistics."

Similar, that is, to 90%.

That's amazing. That may be the most telling statistic I've heard yet.


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posted by Ace at 03:01 PM

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