The time when the Obama brand still seemed like it might have something to offer the American people is long past. There will still be voters who go to the polls and pull the wrong lever, but they won't do it because they seriously believe that another term will make America a better place. Rather they will do it for reasons of identity. Political identity, racial identity and because 'anything is better than voting GOP' is also an identity.
The feeling isn't unique, it's common enough to second term leaders of both parties. Republicans were tired of Bush and Democrats of Clinton, by their second terms. Bush and Clinton fatigue is one reason why Democrats turned on Hillary in 2008 and why a Jeb Bush run meets with so little enthusiasm. But neither of those men had been built up so dramatically, which made the fall less severe.
Bush and Clinton never needed much glamor, they were Ivy League boys with Yale degrees slumming as rural populists, thickening their accents and pitching their appeals to the back row. And paradoxically even at their worst, they could always hide behind this false ordinariness. "We're only human, just like you," they could say.
Glamor is all that Obama ever had. With the greasepaint off, there's nothing there but a surly kid with greying hair. An obnoxious posturing preening brat parading down the runways of the world with his media entourage in tow.
Some actors can change from one costume to another, but he is the costume. Worse yet, he isn't even the costume. He's the lights, the stirring music, the hours of anchor commentary, the deliberate pauses, the photographic halos, the teleprompter and the building expectation. Take those things away and there isn't even an empty suit. There's nothing at all.
The Democrats have come to feel that hollowness deep inside. That set of unfulfilled expectations that lies like a hole at the heart of their campaign. An emptiness that can only be filled with hate.
As Obama's popularity has slipped, he has become more openly hateful. The vindictiveness that was hidden away has been put up for display in the store window. What Clinton might scribble on a memo or tell an aide-- he delivers in a speech. And the worse his numbers have fallen, the uglier his words have become.
Obama was never graceful, but the spitefulness is no longer camouflaged. The petty insults have become common as his persona has grown charmless. The scowl hides less deeply behind the practiced smile. Often it no longer hides at all. The small bag of tricks which he used to get this far has been exhausted. There's nothing left now but the angry manipulative child underneath.
Having failed as the Messiah of Hope and Change, he is swiftly becoming the Messiah of Hate. With a country in a state of severe economic decline and his own popularity further down the toilet than a burning Koran, there is no other choice left to him. And it's an approach that suits his temperament.
Unlike 2008, he can't expect to coast to victory on Hope and Change. This time it's his opponents who are running on that. The halo is gone, but the hate campaign is his best option. No one around him thinks he can sell himself as a better alternative to a generic Republican candidate. But if he can make the Republican candidate look like a completely unpalatable choice to most voters, then he can still win.
2012 is set to be half his 2008 campaign .The dark half. All the smears and demonization without any of the hope. There are an uncounted number of Democratic voters who pulled the lever for him, even though they had second thoughts. Voters who might have naturally gone for McCain, if the media had not done such an excellent job of making the McCain\Palin ticket look like the worst thing since the plague. The goal in 2012 is to retain those voters by doing the same thing all over again.
Like most egotists, he's more comfortable with popularity contests than policy debates. With 'Who would you rather have a drink' contests. "Me, I'm your buddy. But those guys are just nuts," is his only real campaign platform. And in 2012, that's getting shortened to, "But those guys are just nuts."
The echo of "In your guts you know he's nuts" is still there as the only defense that liberal statists have against principled conservatives. It's the slogan that makes reasonable people distrust their hearts and accept the dogma of the ruling party for fear that they too might be considered nuts. And casting Tea Party Republicans as the new Goldwaters, liable to do just about anything for their crazy beliefs, is a convenient shortcut to victory.
The problem is that while LBJ's domestic policies were radical, his public persona wasn't. Obama can't count on the same thing. His platform was that of radical change. And once in office, that's what he delivered. But unlike the New Deal, few see anything positive what he did. Running on stimulus or ObamaCare is hopeless. Those aren't things that anyone on the left, the middle or the right likes.
In 2008, he ran on the idea of what his administration would be like. But he can't do that a second time. The idea was already realized and the reality of it is popular with no one. That just leaves the lesser of two evils. "Sure, I'm bad but those Republicans are worse." Followed by; "And when you'll look closer, you'll see I'm not so bad." It's not a level of desperation that either Clinton or Bush had to resort to, but there were things about their administrations that weren't so bad. There's nothing like that which Obama can point to. Just a litany of special interest spending followed by the loud thunk of the debt ceiling.
The biggest obstacle to the negative type of campaign that his party would like to run is Obama himself. A negative campaign that focuses on his opponent requires that he get out of the way. Or at least spend less time being a jerk in public. Instead Obama has gone on a national "Be a Jerk" tour, complete with speeches.
In 2008, he was able to maintain the illusion of civility, while letting the media do his dirty work for him. The media is disappointed in him now, but still obscenely eager to be his hit squad. But instead Obama is being his own hit squad. The constant derogatory references to Republicans in speeches that are otherwise as empty of content and purpose as a three inch lake, don't accomplish their goal. Instead they make him look like a 5 foot tall basketball player trash talking everyone else, but unable to sink a basket with the ball taped to his hand.
Obama's manic depressive style of governance, doing nothing for months before suddenly jumping into a frenzy of activity, can work on the campaign trial. But not after most people have gotten tired of you and would like to see less of you. And sitting incumbents are generally supposed to display a higher level of class. They can conduct smear campaigns, so long as they plausibly outsource it to others. Not when they're doing it in front of the microphone.
But even his attacks have a tepid whiny quality to them. Not only isn't Obama FDR or JFK, let alone Reagan-- he's not even LBJ. His putdowns condescend to his listeners, turning what should have been insults aimed at Republicans, into an insult to his audience's intelligence. Too many speeches boil down to, "The Republicans would like to set America on fire and then dance on the ashes, but I think there's a better way." Alarmism that would work better if he hadn't already done exactly what he was accusing his hypothetical opponents of.
The debt ceiling debate was a sample of his irresponsibility. The absolute refusal to accept any real compromise, not only to preserve his spending power, but also because sabotaging government was a more effective election strategy. It's the negative campaign as imagined by an arsonist who doesn't care what happens to the country so long as he wins. And while the media poodles will still bark in his defense, it's a strategy that makes him seem like even more of a failure.
His transformation into a Messiah of Hate is timely in the worst possible way. A politician's mask shouldn't start coming off during a campaign. Let alone before it. But the unctuous smile is sliding off and what's underneath it is the entitled anger of a man who is always used to getting his way. And who has yet to understand that for the first time in his life, he's about to lose.
As usual Daniel Greenfield, right on target. There is an expression that says, " Arrogance is the precursor to downfall." This man is full of nothing but hate and arrogance.ReplyDelete
When he was running for President I remember telling people (anyone who would listen) that it is just as racially motivated to vote for a black man because of his color as it is to not vote for him becasue of his color.
There was a woman at the gym I used to work out at that another gym member and I were speaking to about how important this election was and the like and it appeared that we were getting the message across to her about what was going on in the country etc and she blurts out, "...and that's why I'm voting for Obama..." My friend and I were floored becasue it clearly showed that what she was attributing the country's issues to was from the opposite place. She did not even understand the basic issues that were going on and it was actually scary.
I think now though, there will be people who have such pride and ignorance (still) even though the issues are screaming out at them that they will not be able to make an intelilgent decision and vote to keep this man in office....
sure there's a sizable demographic like that, but plenty of people just want a change which means changing whoever is on topReplyDelete
Great descriptors of The One. But I'm not convinced Democrats are so tired of him. Independents may be peeling away, but I'm starting to see a lot of Obama 2012 bumper stickers around where I live. And when I talk with Dems, I still hear a lot of enthusiasm. If they're feeling negatively, they just focus that feeling on the GOP and play the blame game. There still seems to be a lot of identification with Obama and what he is trying to do, were it not for the evil Republicans.ReplyDelete
What is the percentage of the black vote that shall be on his side whatever he does and can that percentage tilt the ballot in G0d forbid an other 4 Bummel years. I have the impression the only two black Americans not voting for Obama are Alan West and Herman Cain.ReplyDelete
We can hope he will lose.ReplyDelete
it doesn't matter what percent support him, only how many turn outReplyDelete
Devastating analysis of a President in trouble.
Praying the Republicans do not -- yet, once again -- snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
I do believe Palin is the best out there. Failing that, I would look to Bachmann or Cain. (Last choice is Perry, but praying Romney is not the nominee.)
He ain't even Jimmah Carter!!!ReplyDelete
This is great, but I think it needs a few actual quotes and links to speeches to ground it a bit.ReplyDelete
Keep up the good work, and wear your helmet!
Actually, Mr. Greenfield, while you say "it doesn't matter what percent support him, only how many turn out", it is more like "It doesn't matter who turns out. It only matters who counts the votes."ReplyDelete
As proof of that, I would give you Chicago in ANY election, Alaska in the latest Sentorial election, and Nevada. The stench is overwhelming.
Sorry! I am the previous "Anonymous."ReplyDelete
Or should that be I am Spartacus! ?
Votes can't be counted everywhere and they've lost some secretaries in Soros' secretary of state project already.ReplyDelete
Of course if it comes down to Illinois, forget about it.
I am an Ayn Rand fan on domestic issues and great believer in Churchill except that he should have ignored his cabinet and British anti-Semitism on Israel. But there is some good to be said about LBJ.ReplyDelete
LBJ was probably the most pro Israeli president. Stall he was far very perfect he should have ignored the anti-Semites in the US Armed forces and state department. He did not interfere with the 1967 war while Israel was winning unlike Nixon in 1973 who prevented a pre-empted air attack in the beginning than use SR-71 to confirm Israeli losses in the middle then did not allow Israel to finish off the encirclement of the Egyptian army at the end. Of course Nixon was far better than “the best clerk I ever had” was Eisenhower. Whose understanding of Arabic threat was as poor as his understanding of military strategy. In Nixon favour he did supply arms during the war unlike Johnson.
Johnson stated quite clearly by UN 242 and is his own word that Israel did not have to return to the 1967 cease-fire line. He quickly overcame the oil boycott. He was the first USA president to sell modern jets and tanks to Israel.
His Secretary of Defense immediately through all the nonsense of the USS liberty attacks. In fact Johnson ordered the Navy to keep the USS Liberty out of harms way. The Admiral ignored him and ever since have tried to say it was a deliberate attack even though they had intercepted Israeli radio messages that mad it perfectly clear that the Israeli thought they were attacking a Egyptian target.
Reagan promised a lot to Jewish voter but all he delivered was blaming Israel for attacking Iraqi nuclear sight, giving lots of arms to Saudi, denying intelligence to Israel because of all the Bethel, Bush associates, giving the stupid Buchanan Bittburg speech, and stooping Israel from destroying Arafat. Reagan like the Bushes was little more than Saudi agents.
By the way LBJ was the one that did get tax cuts passed. More Reagan and Bush Supreme Court nominee were involved in not overturning reverse discrimination quotas. LBJ was a pro business democratic.
He is a messiah of hate and I can't imagine anyone voting for him after all he has done and hasn't done.ReplyDelete
I know I certainly won't be voting for him. No clue as it which Republican candidate I'll vote for. Most likely whichever candidate shares my view on things such as Israel and taxes but whose supporters aren't so fanatical.
What I mean is the person's supporters don't become so protective that they consider any criticism a form of treason against the party and country.
But yes, I'll vote for the Republican I tend to agree with and who is most even tempered.
What I hate is that, for some people, abortion is EVERYTHING. It could be the Great Depression, but they are still going to vote for Obama because the religious right will somehow get rid of Roe v. Wade. (Mitt is the only R they'll vote for.)ReplyDelete
I believe Obama to be the most venal man ever to hold high political office in the USA. He is much closer to the great evil tyrants of the 20th century then we want to admit. A recent conversation with an Obama voting zombie expressed disappointment in his accomplishments but blamed corporate America for sabotaging the economy. Expect a lot of that line of campaigning expecially from the Goebbels in the press.ReplyDelete
sounds crazy but I almost wish a Libertarian would run and be taken seriously.ReplyDelete
If I can't vote for a REAL Conservative, I'll be voting obama.ReplyDelete
Better a FAST collapse than a slow one.
God Help Us -and GOD SAVE OUR REPUBLIC!
President Nixon initiated the second greatest military airlift in US history to support Israel in '73'. He also prevented the USSR from getting directly involved in the Yom Kippur War, which the USSR had already mobilized to do when things turned against their islamonazi shills in the Mid-East. Nixon did this by a mass mobilization of the US military, one which had not been seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Anon is fairly correctReplyDelete
Nixon did eventually order an airlift, but it was the Kissinger faction within his own administration that brought Israel to this point deliberately.
Well that might be a bit too far, authentic conservatives are hard to come by and give obama another term and there might not be such a thing leftReplyDelete
Is it just me or does he look more like Malcolm X each day?ReplyDelete
You're right David. He does look increasingly like Malcom X. All he's missing is the Nation of Islam bow tie.ReplyDelete
This is an accurate assessment of the man who was supposed to be the master politician of our time. As matters stand, he makes Bill Clinton look like Albert Einstein. But Mr. Greenfield, some of your images and similes are...a trifle overdone. Generally, in this regard "less is more." All the same, my compliments on your insight.ReplyDelete
I definitely need a primer on who the conservative candidates are and what their strengths and weaknesses are.ReplyDelete
I also wonder if they'll walk on eggshells with Obama when it comes time for debates.
This article is sheer briliance.ReplyDelete
Obama was always an affirmative action person - from childhood through to university, and finally to POTUS. In short, he is a spoilt brat, who in a momentary lapse of common sense, the American people put in the White House.ReplyDelete
Just like a spoilt brat, Obama is lashing out in tantrums when he does not get what he wants.
A spoilt brat needs his breeches warmed, and the American people need to do just that.
Thanks for the essay. Of course, Obama is the bitter clinger. His core values are corrupted by Marxism and he is unable to adjust to the reality of their failure. He's no ones fool and is carefully crafting a police state through the department of justice, ATF, IRS, TSA, dept of the interior and probably HHS. He is creating complicity in this evil through government agencies - turning citizen against citizen. His lap dogs are the unions and just look at Wisconsin to see what they are capable of. Never underestimate a communist.ReplyDelete
I read this today and was outraged. Goldberg knows better than to write such crap. Bibi is portrayed as a petulent baby. What is missing from his and Gates' criticism of Bibi was what he was reacting to in the first place. Missing entirely in Golberg's misguided piece is what Obama had suggested as an opening gambit to lure the Palestinian's back to the table; all of which immediately got Bibi frothing mad, as he should have been. Obama, the State Department and Hilary have proven that they are worse than idiots in their combined dealings in the Middle East arena. They are now a danger to Israel and Bibi should hold his stance at all costs. I support him completely.
"We give you weapons, how dare you not shoot yourselves in the head with them"ReplyDelete
That said Jeffrey Goldberg is pathologically unreliable, and after the Castro interview, any scoops from him should be treated like Seymour Hersh's.
And people writing Bloomberg to complain about unsourced articles like this smearing Israel couldn't hurt.