Wednesday, May 16, 2012
It is interesting to watch Obama commit political suicide. Why is he doing it? Hard to say. It feels good, no doubt, to achieve an apotheosis among the left. Obama, Narcissist in Chief, relishes this role. More to the point, perhaps, is that he doesn't know how to do anything else.
It will cost him the presidency.
Bill Clinton, flawed as he was, was the consummate political strategist. What did he do when his party got thumped in the midterms? He "triangulated" to the middle, and selectively compromised with Republicans on a few issues like welfare reform. It worked, and he was re-elected easily. Two years ago, when Democrats were again thumped, prognosticators all assumed that Obama would follow this playbook, and conventional wisdom was that this would ultimately seal the deal on his re-election.
But he went the other way, hard. Class warfare, gay marriage, vilifying oil companies - you know the drill. All this will help with fundraising and the fawning media, but it's a trap. Simple mathematics doom the strategy.
You see, while most observers obsess about the middle, it's really turnout they should be focusing on, specifically conservative turnout. Practically every election is decided by whether conservatives turn out to vote. Why? Because there are a lot of them. There are more conservatives than there are Republicans or Democrats, and there are, by a 2-1 margin, more conservatives than liberals. 40% of Americans are self-described conservatives. This is a fairly consistent number.
So, while appealing to the "base" can - and does - get Republicans elected, the same is most definitely NOT true for Democrats. At 20% of the electorate, there simply are not enough liberals to get anyone elected, particularly since they tend to undervote as well. For a Democrat to win, he must excite the base while at the same time firing up a huge chunk of independents. This is a tall order, and one Obama pulled off in '08 by pretending to be a "post-partisan" moderate. (It also didn't hurt that he had a weak opponent and a nicely timed financial crisis.)
The amazing thing is that it wouldn't have taken much on Obama's part to sail to re-election in November. He could have picked one thing, say embracing his own Simpson-Bowles commission, or even just a Sister Soulja moment, and re-election would have been his. But, the cat's out of the bag. He is a committed leftist, and, this time, he doesn't mind everyone knowing.
The election will not be close.
Friday, May 11, 2012
It wasn't supposed to go down this way.
It was too early, way too early. The White House, basking in the approbation of liberal elites everywhere, is pretending that this is a great moment for them, politically. Behind closed doors, though, I think David Axelrod is ripping Joe Biden a new one.
So, here's what's going on. Gay marriage is about a 50/50 issue, so in terms of political positioning, this doesn't do much for Obama. In fact, the opposite may be true. Evangelicals, who are not Romney's biggest fans, have now been handed a big fat reason to show up at the polls, and maybe even open their wallets. Obama's people surely know this, but they were willing to take a calculated risk, because the play here was to tilt the national debate towards social issues and away from the economy.
And, it has done that, spectacularly so. The Washington Post, in what was surely a coordinated move, chipped in with an absurd story about an alleged Romney anti-gay incident half a century ago. The two things combined have completely dominated national conversation for the last two days. Unemployment numbers came out yesterday. They were poor. Did you know? Didn't think so.
But, it's MAY. This was supposed to go down in September or October, when gaining control of even two or three news cycles is invaluable. But the logorrheic Biden - gotta love that guy, sometimes - forced Obama's hand early. This card was completely wasted.
Monday, May 7, 2012
I've been pondering something lately, and wonder if the Romney folks have a plan. There are literally thousands of D.C. bureaucrats, paid for by out tax dollars (well, the Chinese help with that), who are committed left-wingers. Under a president Romney, they will do anything possible to subvert his policy agenda at every turn. Why should it be Mitt's obligation to keep employing these people?
The problem is particularly acute at State, Justice, and the EPA. Maybe only Commerce isn't a problem.
This will be an interesting early test for Romney, because a wholesale firing like this will provoke howls of outrage from the left, just like when Bush fired a mere couple of dozen U.S. Attorneys back in '06.
We all know we stand at a historical crossroads. In one direction lies hard choices but salvation. In the other, Greece (or, if you prefer, Detroit). To choose the former will involve taking on just about everything liberals hold dear, and they will crucify anyone who tries. If Romney turns out to be a genial George H.W. Bush or Gerald Ford type, someone who wants to play nicely with everyone, it is the road to perdition. If he's a Reagan, one who weathered a horrible recession and the hatred of a good chunk of the U.S. because he did what needed to be done, there's hope.
But the the problems we face now are greater in scope than those in 1981, and even Reagan failed to do much about Federal spending, our principal issue today. Spending turns out to be the toughest nut to crack. All this means the pain will be last longer this time; after all, the longer the addiction, the longer and more painful the rehab. Accordingly, outrage will reach levels we've never seen before, and we know how effective the left is at being "outraged." It's their perpetual state of existence, the only question being how high the dial is turned up.
The Bush 43 years will look civil.
In the long sweep of history, there are not many capable of withstanding this without caving. It is human nature to want to be liked, and Romney, too, strikes one as someone who wants to be friends. It's a lovely day in his neighborhood. But liberals only pretend to like Republicans, and it's only when they're getting something they want. Teddy Kennedy went back to vilifying George Bush before the ink was even dry on the No Child Left Behind Act.
Which is why I bring up all the lefties in the federal bureaucracy. Whether they have jobs or not 30 days into the presidency may be a good early signal for which fork we will all travel.