Team Obama really pushing for the “triumph of hope over experience,” huh?
posted at 5:01 pm on August 19, 2012 by Erika Johnsen
Does this video give you “chills”? Because that’s the reason a deputy campaign manager for Obama for America provided in persuading me that I should watch it and share it with others in an e-mail late last night:
This video, right here, explains why I’m working day in and day out to win this election. When the hours are long and the fight is hard, I know that what we’re doing will make a real difference in people’s lives.
You have to watch this video — and then share it with whoever you think needs to see it. It gave me chills:
Well, it definitely did give me chills of a certain sort (which is indeed why I’m sharing it with you), but somehow I don’t think they’re the kind of chills for which Team Obama was going.
I realize that any good advertising campaign, be it for a presidential candidate or a brand of toothpaste, relies to some degree upon compelling slogans and powerful images, and that for maximum memorable impact these things should be relatively simple. “Change!” is a somewhat more succinct and inspirational rallying cry than “We must reduce entitlement spending and foster robust economic growth in order to balance the federal budget and save our children’s futures!” But at some point, these advertising campaigns are supposed to be selling us a substantive product, and with President Obama — the advertising is the product. The stark realities of the Hope & Change presidency mean that the substance of President Obama’s message is all washed up, and all they’re left with is the message itself. Sorry, but this video doesn’t really “explain” much of anything to me, except to point out the many areas in which President Obama has had spectacular shortcomings — I’m really quite mystified as to why I should give him four more years keep working on these things after four years of watching the economy stall out.
David Shribman has a great op-ed out this morning really gets to the heart of what I’m feeling here: President Obama is the quintessential permanent campaigner, and he’s trying to convince voters to give him a second chance based on a beguiling-but-empty platform of more hopenchange symbolism — ’cause he sure as heck has yet to win his spurs as a movin’-and-shakin’ leader.
His first term was disappointing; even he implicitly acknowledges that. He is looking to renew his vows with the American people — the 18th-century English pundit Samuel Johnson would call that the triumph of hope over experience, his classic definition of the second marriage — and he’s returned to his most comfortable role: candidate.
A third of a century ago American pollsters and consultants began speaking of a “permanent campaign” — the notion originated with Carter pollster Patrick Caddell — that transformed the act of governing in the White House into an extension of campaigning for the White House. …
Mr. Obama was a silver-tongued orator in the campaign but he lacked a silver bullet in the presidency. He was a darling on the stump, a dud in office. This is not a remarkable view. It is held in the White House itself. …
Outside the Washington Beltway, and perhaps inside it as well, the president seems to be two men, one a brilliant practitioner of the political arts, the other a conscientious objector to politics. But politics comes in two dimensions. A skilled president must know how to get the office and then know how to use it. Failed presidents triumph in the former and stumble in the latter.
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