Campaign for Obama II needs a jolt to its mojo
While he was enjoying the golf and surf of Martha's Vineyard during last month's vacation, I hope President Barack Obama took time to listen to some of his favorite music on his ipod.
Since he chose Chicago for his adopted home after finishing Harvard Law School there's also the chance he learned a little about the Blues, a long time music staple of the Windy City. If he does have a few of the Blues greats on his ipod musicography maybe the legendary B.B. King's, "The Thrill is Gone" is on his playlist.
That would be most appropriate as the reelection campaign is starting to gear up and the president clearly has lost that magic connection his early 2008 speeches engendered with young Democrats, Latinos, African Americans and independent voters allowing him to make history as the first black man to work at the White House at night without being a domestic servant or Secret Service agent.
Mr. Obama, the 2008 thrill isn't just gone. It's been kicked to the curb.
Today, nearly a quarter of all Democratic voters say they are dissatisfied with the results of Obama I, according to a CNN poll broadcast last Tuesday. If this continues through the Christmas season, the chances for Obama II will hardly worth a $2 bet.
NY Times professional poll watcher Charles M. Blow (an avowed Obama admirer) last month wrote about an Aug. 15 poll that "found Obama's approval rating had fallen to the lowest level of his presidency, and a Galiup poll released a few days later found the number of people not satisfied with the direction of the country and who disapproved of the president's performance on the economy, budget deficit, job creation, education and foreign affairs had reached the highest levels of the administration."
And, keep in mind; these numbers are evident less than six months after the president personally managed the successful attack on Osama Bin Laden, the man responsible for the massacre of nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11.
Sure Congress as a whole is liked by less than 20 percent of the American electorate. But Congress as a group is a faceless mass. Voters most often denounce the institution, but when asked how they feel about their particular Representative; the numbers always shoot up exponentially when they recall what their local congressional rep did for their neighborhood or civic group.
Closer to home, the generally reliable Franklin & Marshall College poll showed that 52 percent of its Pennsylvania respondents don't want to see Obama II in 2012.
Franklin & Marshall Poll director G. Terry Madonna says that like most of the rest of the country, Pennsylvanians blame the federal government for the sorry state of the economy and the persistent unemployment rate, especially in urban centers and small towns.
It was just this red hot irritation with the country's economic misery and loss of faith that a turnaround is near which lead the Congressional Black Caucus earlier this summer to issue several biting remarks about the administration's focus on the poor and host a series of job fairs that attracted wall-to-wall crowds.
Ordinary black Americans sensed how hard it woula be for Mr. Obama well before the television pundits started talking about the "gridlock of divided government." We sensed (from the moment a Southern congressman screamed, "Liar!" during the president's first State of the Union message, that the first and only thing the hardliners in the GOP cared about was blocking Obama's agenda. It's an obsession that all the happy talk about a "post-racial society" can't wash away...even with a fire hose.
Many black voters inwardly cringed as they were forced to watch helplessly as this beleaguered president repeatedly stretched out his hand in bipartisan gestures only to be rudely dismissed by men and women who called him a "tar baby" as Colorado's Congressman Doug Lamborn did a few weeks ago.
And here is where it gets tricky.
Most black political, religious and civil rights leaders are loathe to publicly bash Mr. Obama for fear of further weakening his frazzled presidency. Most would prefer having "Scarface's" Tony Montana as a next door neighbor than do something to help any of the Republican alternatives win next year.
Yet, if Mr. Obama continues on this same track (as implausible as these imbeciles appear) one of them could actually win.
Mr. Obama does not have to engage the Lamborns or Michele Bachmans personally. That wouldn't look presidential. But why hasn't this administration empowered select spokespeople who enjoy that kind of verbal jousting, even in the gutter if necessary since today's news media thrives on the loudest and meanest words they can get on videotape?
The "no drama Obama" may have worked well in the 2008 campaign. But the American public is desperate to have their Commander-in-Chief sound like he's the man in charge of the domestic agenda as well.
Take last week's announcement of the new chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. The president promised this man would help him build a jobs plan.
At a time when joblessness and slack home sales and house building are at near catastrophic levels of distress, Mr. Obama hires another egghead—from another Ivy League school where most of his other economic sycophants came from.
What a refreshing jolt it would have been to see him name a real business leader to that post; someone who had actually created some jobs, someone who knew what not having a paycheck for three weeks in a row actually felt like.
President Clinton lied about his sex life. But, so have most of the rest of us.
He may have been ridiculed when he fell back on the catchphrase, "I feel your pain." But guess what? We got the meaning.
Clinton, through all of his messiness (especially the self-inflicted kind) never lost his mojo. He instinctively understood that on rainy days, when the thrill of going to church is all but gone, even among the devout, on those rainy days, that's when leaders have to preach their best sermons to let people know they are with the masses in spirit as well as deed.
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