Hope, Change and Re-election

In 2008 Senator Barack Obama’s historic campaign centered on “hope” and “change” and captivated millions.  Now three years into his presidency Obama can scarcely claim to have delivered either of them.  It is an interesting predicament for the president, now facing re-election, in that these same feel-good platitudes will not serve him in 2012.

Not only has President Obama continues many Bush-era policies, he has expanded government powers such as warrantless GPS tracking and using U.S. military forces in Libya without congressional approval.   The Guantanamo Bay facility is still open and Obama has reversed his pledge to discontinue military tribunals for terrorists in favor of civilian trials in federal court.  That is hardly the “change” that Obama’s voter base was supporting.  Rather it is “more of the same” policies that they were supposedly rejecting with their vote for Obama.

Nor is America filled with much “hope.”   A majority still feels America is on the wrong track (81%) and the economy is virtually stagnant.  Obama now claims to have pulled the U.S. out of a recession, but unemployment is relatively unchanged with new jobs being created by self-employment rather than by large firms.  The president is vainly attempting to spin his economic policies as somehow successful.  But it is the American people themselves that are responsible for these meager gains.  For the president to claim responsibility for this reeks of desperation.

The one area where the president can claim “change” is the health care law, which divided this country and resulted in a mid-term election trouncing of the President’s party.  Any “hope” of bipartisan cooperation or consensus was lost in the rush to accomplish any of the president’s agenda.  Far from creating “hope” it created animosity and only added fuel to the hyperpartisan bonfire.

“Hope” and “change” as buzzwords won’t help Obama now.  They will only remind voters of his failure to deliver them.  Nor is his record one upon which a strong campaign can be based.  I have to agree with Peggy Noonan that it seems, at this point, that Obama’s best campaign hope lies in the GOP selecting a poor candidate to oppose him – a person easy for the left to demonize, and therefore frighten the electorate into voting for Obama once again.

Should the GOP seize this opportunity and nominate a serious and intelligent candidate (like Jon Huntsman) then the Obama 2012 campaign will be in serious trouble – robbed of the fear tactic and unable to dust off previously used, worn out platitudes.  Instead, faced with a strong GOP candidate with centrist appeal, Obama would be forced to defend a weak record of failed policies and broken promises – offering little more than “more of the same.”

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4 Responses to Hope, Change and Re-election

  1. 71lespaul says:

    I think Obama has a lock on a 2nd term compliments of the Tea Party. There is no way they will support a centrist GOP candidate like Jon Huntsman who could potentially beat Obama. If the GOP picks a non-Tea Party nominee, there will be a 3rd party run and that will hand the election to Obama regardless of his track record or lack thereof.

    • Drae says:

      I disagree, LP. Peggy Noonan has numbers that show the GOP primary voters are mostly concerned about fiscal matters (70%), and not social issues (20%). Huntsman may be moderate on social issues, but he’s the man with the best fiscal record. His social positions are not going to hurt him because Americans want a President who will get our economy back on strong footing.

  2. roopost says:

    Drae,

    As you know, while I like your man Huntsman, I’m afraid I’m in 71lespaul’s camp on this. But, I remain hopeful for the sensibility of the centre.

    I’m not sure if you are aware, but we are having a little election of our own in Canada. Don’t blink you may miss it. In support of our desired return to the Centrist flats in the middle of the political valley, I found myself scribbling again: http://roopost.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/armchair-the-canadian-and-us-elections/

    While my heart is for Huntsman, my head is hoping he stays out of the line of fire.

    Kind regards,

    • Drae says:

      Roo – Huntsman is a centrist only on social issues. On fiscal issues, he couldn’t be more conservative/capitalist if he tried. I do not believe his moderate social positions will damage him in the primaries because Americans are concerned about the economy and not much else.

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