Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nothing to add

Well, not too much, anyway.

It may be a petty, minor thing, but this is getting to the point where Obama is looking weak in many, many separate situations, and it's becoming a car wreck for the White House. Having him doing public post-election soul searching; having him give repeated noises in the press about preemptively caving on whatever it is the GOP might be asking for: it's a messaging/political disaster. He took a stout midterm loss and turned it into his own midterm disaster.

At some point someone in this White House has to start figuring out that, screw actual policy, they're getting their asses kicked purely on the PR front, and Obama's not going to get reelected if he looks like a quivering pushover. We know from the healthcare fiasco that there's a bunch of folks in this White House who care more about protecting Obama's image than actually getting useful stuff done: well, image-hoarders, now might be the perfect time to pay attention to what the nice news channels are telling you.

Instead, this is rapidly becoming another perfect example of being so miserly with your "limited" political capital that you end up losing all of it. Obama is keeping his powder so dry that he's losing battles without firing a shot.

To conservatives -- both TeaBagger and moderate -- to low-information voters, even to the mostly disinterested 50% of Americans who don't vote, it's OK to be wrong as long as you're strong. I heard the ridiculous argument about George W. Bush when he was president: "you may not agree with him, but at least you know where he stands." You could always count on Bush to be stubbornly strong on the wrong side of any issue, nearly every single day of his eight years. Even the media fell in line, repeatedly referring to his actions in taking the nation into a war on false pretenses "bold".

When have you ever heard  of any of Obama's initiatives referred to as "bold"?

Americans generally speaking aren't sympathetic to people who appear weak.

This is what happened with Jimmy Carter. He brought Egypt and Israel together and made peace, and for that was branded a wuss. He suffered from the bad luck of that helicopter crash in the desert as the commandos were on their way into Iran to free the hostages, and did not follow up with another strike.

And his only hope in 1980 eventually became that the Republican presidential candidate was too extremist. And America felt that way until the debate where Reagan seemed like a nice enough guy, not too crazy at all, and people rejected Carter in the election.

I'm sure Obama will also be one of our best ex-presidents.

If you do not fight, if you cannot find anything worth fighting for, the American people will reject you.

The next few weeks will tell. If Obama refuses to fight, it will be bad in 2012. And it should be.

No comments: