Green Room

President Barack Rumson

posted at 12:52 pm on April 7, 2012 by

Jay Cost has a piece up essentially agreeing with my take on Pres. Obama’s “grim warrior” campaign, but with extra twists worth exploring:

If Obama is reelected with such terrible feelings about the national condition, it will be unprecedented in the history of public opinion polling. Obviously, that would be no little feat, so what this president is doing is a classic case of misdirection.

The country needs a bad guy to blame for its problems, so day in and day out Obama is providing them with a smorgasbord of villains from which to choose: Wall Street, Big Oil, the Tea Party, Paul Ryan, Rush Limbaugh, the Supreme Court, the Catholic Church, and so on. In fact, virtually everything that comes out of this president’s mouth is about redirecting blame onto some straw man.

I am reminded bf Pres. Andrew Shepherd’s rant about his opponent at the end of The American President:

I’ve known Bob Rumson for years, and I’ve been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn’t get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it. Bob’s problem is that he can’t sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.

This is what screenwriter Aaron Sorkin thought (and likely thinks) conservatives do, but it is what the real president now does, chiefly picking various conservatives as his preferred objects of fear. Indeed, while liberals like Sorkin are fond of painting conservatives as unduly preying on nostalgia for a better time (the Golden Age fallacy), progressives like Obama reflexively defend what Walter Russell Mead calls the Blue Social Model — a 20th century approach to (and cause of) 21st century problems.

There is also the question of whether this is “how you win elections.” Historically, the answer is “no.” Jay casts his eye back to Truman’s 1948 campaign. In the past, Brendan Nyhan has suggested that the economic growth in Q2 of 1948 (and I would say Q4 of 1947 through Q2 of 1948) had more to do with Truman’s reelection than the conventional wisdom of that campaign suggests. Jay Cost (relying on Michael Barone) argues the slowdown in Q3 of 1948 was key. Based on the current economic forecasts, Pres. Obama seemingly has a lot riding on this rather academic argument.

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bho has always blamed someone else for that ever had failed. bho has zero he can run on that has helped our Republic. So, every one or thing gets blamed for his failure. bho pits one group against another, then another, and another just plowing up snakes to keep every one bent out of shape. I do not know how in this world bho would get re-elected unless some ‘crisis’ happened to see he does?

I want that anti-American out of Our House come Nov. and pray that it happens.

letget on April 7, 2012 at 1:09 PM

The lib talking heads will keep pounding the meme that things are going in the right direction just not fast enough, or look at Fluke, or war on women by repubs, or any of 1000 other things like unemployment is going down to try and paint our dear leader as the Won who needs to be reelected. Too bad Sorkin and his ilk don’t have eyes to see.

Kissmygrits on April 8, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Using 1948 as a gauge is problematic because of that election’s unique political conditions. While Thomas E. Dewey is analogous in a way to Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee — a northeastern governor on the left of his party’s base who was a bit of a stiff campaigning — Truman had the advantage among the swing voters of that era of being given the mantle of being the ‘moderate’ Democrat via the independent campaigns of Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond.

The Q4 ’47-Q2 ’48 numbers no doubt helped, but having the most radical part of the FDR coalition basically march out on you to start their own party was a signal to the swing voters that those people weren’t going to be an integral part of a full four-year Truman term. No such situation exists for Barack Obama; if anything, he’s been trying to lock down the left side of his base in recent weeks by embracing the more radical elements of his coalition that’s been disheartened over the past 38 months that the president never went into full-Hugp Chavez mode like they hoped.

An Obama with weak economic numbers who retains his current economic team and has key spokespeople who still think if we just tax the rich and big business a little more and it will solve everything isn’t going to get the benefit of the double with swing voters unless the economy improves rapidly over the next 4-5 months. If the jobless rate remains in the 8 percent region and the left remains a key part of Team Obama, Romney’s threshold for winning the moderates over by voting for change is going to get lower and lower. The GOP and his handlers just need to make sure Mitt doesn’t decide to grow a little pencil mustache…

jon1979 on April 8, 2012 at 12:26 PM

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Allahpundit on April 9, 2012 at 10:57 PM