Quotes of the day

The 2004 version of Barack Obama, who captured the nation with a dazzling speech about unity and went on to win the presidency on a message of hope, died on Monday. He was 8 years old…

Obama’s illness got the best of him late Monday, as he announced that his campaign for four more years in the White House would be based not on optimism, but rather the shady corporate record of his opponent, Mitt Romney, who ran a private-equity firm that few Americans knew about before this year…

Obama’s admission was in some ways the completion of a metamorphosis that began even during the 2008 campaign, as it became likely that he would be elected. After promising to throw out so-called politics as usual, Obama broke his first promise by rejecting public funding for his campaign because he could raise millions more on his own. He also ran negative ads against his opponent, John McCain, in that race, too…

Obama is survived by a president who will spend most of the next six months on the stump, railing against his Republican opponent as he tries to retain political power. A memorial service will be held at a fundraiser today in Colorado. In lieu of flowers, donations are being accepted at the Priorities USA Action super PAC.


Frank explained: “Everybody has sadistic impulses, and usually they come out when people are feeling cornered. Bush had no filters on his sadism. He just attacked. Obama processes his sadism to the point where he gets somewhat more acceptable. It’s actually mocking a person, like Romney, but it’s also mocking his ideas … The eye-rolling is something his mother did. It’s a way of putting someone else down without ever being directly confrontational.”

Increasingly in the past few weeks, especially since Obama formally declared his candidacy for reelection and the former Massachusetts governor has begun pulling even with him in public opinion surveys, the president is embracing full-frontal combat. Frank theorized that Obama is simply “annoyed,” much like Jon Lovitz’s Dukakis, that a man he considers his political inferior is suddenly in a position to beat him. “He has an edge to him, and the edge comes out when he’s feeling pressed,” Frank said.


While reveling in these fights, the president has not done nearly as much to explain what he would do in a second term, particularly to accelerate the still-sluggish economic recovery. Unless he fills in that picture more effectively, these wedge issues might not hold his key supporters, much less prevent further erosion among the groups, such as blue-collar and older whites, who resisted him even in 2008. Put simply, Obama may not win another term unless he provides Americans a better idea of what he would do with it…

Obama has engaged GOP rival Mitt Romney over the economy, but primarily at the level of philosophy and biography. Usually Republican presidential candidates stress broad ideological arguments about Washington’s economic role while Democrats tout individual programs. So far, Romney and Obama have reversed roles. Even without clarifying every detail, Romney has identified an ambitious list of programmatic goals, particularly cutting taxes, imposing a constitutional limit on federal spending, and converting Medicare into a premium-support, or voucher, system…

The economy’s trajectory will probably shape the November result more than all of these skirmishes will. Yet the central challenge for every president seeking reelection is to convince Americans that he will improve their lives in a second term. And, today, frets one senior Democrat close to the White House, “voters don’t have a sense of what Obama would do to make the economy stronger.” The wedge issues, and the doubts Obama is raising about Romney, are helping the president retain some voters who might be tempted to abandon him. But Obama would be playing with fire to wager that he can hold enough of those voters without providing them a more compelling — and specific — plan to improve their lives than he has offered so far.


The president has tried to distract from America’s economic misery by playing up the so-called culture war. Earlier in the year he decided that he would force Catholic employers to provide contraception to their employees through their insurance plans, and he followed that swipe at social traditionalism by endorsing gay marriage. This embrace of Sixties liberalism has backfired. While contraception and gay marriage often receive popular support in national polls, Americans are far more conservative in the voting booth…

In 1980, Democratic president Jimmy Carter faced an uphill struggle for re-election. Yet, despite an index of inflation and unemployment far higher than Obama’s, he was actually doing slightly better in the polls. In March of that year, Carter led his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, by around 25 per cent. By May, Gallup gave him a lead of 49 to 41 per cent – higher than Obama’s today. Carter’s advantage evaporated in the months that followed, but he regained ground in October and by the last week he was running even.

None the less, Carter eventually suffered a landslide defeat. The scale of his humiliation was hidden by the fact that people were unwilling to commit themselves to the conservative Ronald Reagan until the very last minute. It was only when they went into the polling booth and weighed up all the hurt and humiliation of the past four years that they cast their vote against the president. It looks like Barack Obama will be the Jimmy Carter of 2012.


Thus, to a very real degree, 2008’s candidate of hope stands poised to become 2012’s candidate of fear. For many Democrats, this is just fine and dandy, for they believe that in the Romney-Republican agenda there is plenty to be scared of. For others in the party in both politics and business, however, the new Obama posture is cause for concern. From the gay-­marriage decision to the onslaught on Bain, they see the president and his team as coming across as too divisive, too conventional, and too nakedly political, putting at risk Obama’s greatest asset—his likability—with the voters in the middle of the electorate who will ultimately decide his fate.

Whichever side is right, one thing is undeniable. For anyone still starry-eyed about Obama, the months ahead will provide a bracing revelation about what he truly is: not a savior, not a saint, not a man above the fray, but a brass-knuckled, pipe-hitting, red-in-tooth-and-claw brawler determined to do what is necessary to stay in power—in other words, a politician…

Nothing could more garishly illustrate a bedrock truth about the campaign that lies before us: It will bear about as much resemblance to 2008 as Romney does to Nicki Minaj. In the campaign prior, any mention of Wright caused a collective coronary in Chicago; this time, it provokes high-fives. In the campaign prior, Team Obama boldly bid to expand the map; this time, it is playing defense. In the campaign prior, the candidate himself sought support from the widest possible universe of voters; this time, instead of trying to broaden his coalition, he is laboring to deepen it. Indeed, 2012 is shaping up to be an election that looks more like 2004 than 2008: a race propelled by the mobilization of party fundamentalists rather than the courtship of the center.

If Obama wins a second term this way, the implications for governing could prove salutary—or god-awful. The president, energized by the prospect of a debate about “big things,” purports to take the optimistic view. “I think the general election will be as sharp a contrast between the two parties as we’ve seen in a generation,” Obama told Rolling Stone. “My hope is that if the American people send a message to [the GOP] … there’s going to be some self-reflection going on—that it might break the fever.” And, hey, who knows, crazier things have happened. Likelier, though, is that an incessantly negative, base-driven election will yield an uglier outcome. More polarization. More acrimony. More gridlock. (Yippee!)


Via Newsbusters.


Via the Daily Caller.

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