Obama’s Left Turn

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Will Obama be able to replicate his turnout model of 2008 in 2012? With high unemployment, inflation and gas prices, its very unlikely. His problem, more probably, will be to animate his base and breathe it back to sufficient life to give him any chance at all. Most polls show growing liberal disaffection with Obama, as Libya, Afghanistan and his failure to close Guantanamo saps the enthusiasm he needs on the left.

But Obama has a larger problem in moving to the left. You can’t get re-elected president as an advocate. You need to be a leader. Only Harry Truman managed to get a second term by overtly partisan rhetoric, and he was coming off 20 years of the New Deal coalition. A president who attacks the rich and seeks to divide the country may be able to rely on the base to keep his approval ratings in the low 40s, but he has no way to get re-elected.

Indeed, Obama will lose in 2012 because, by the time the next election comes around, voters will see all around them evidence of his weakness and his incompetence. It is now evident in the escape of Taliban prisoners in Afghanistan. It will increasingly be clear as inflation mounts and gas prices continue their upward progression. More and more it will be evident that this former community organizer is not up to the job and has no idea what he is doing.

A positioning on the left may suffice for winning the Democratic nomination or even election to an open seat. But it does not satisfy the national need for leadership, ability, skill and wisdom. Obama cannot be re-elected by running like the candidate of 2008.


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  • USAdecline

    College age voters must be somewhat disenchanted by now. Poor job prospects and college loans to pay. Forced to return home to live with parents. Many have parents who have lost good paying jobs and cannot find similar salaries in new jobs. If this group is idiotic enough to support the socialist again, then American education is truly third rate.

  • Jim_C

    "We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

    "They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

    "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred."

    You think that kind of rhetoric is only going to ring true to the democratic base? Good luck with that.

  • StephenD

    "The key to this electoral model is…turnout. Obama made it work…by adding the votes of new, younger voters, increasing the African-American and Latino turnout, and playing on the unique economic panic of the times.But, absent a big increase in liberal turnout, the appeal of class warfare and populist rhetoric is sharply limited."So the answer for them is…to have another economic panic or similar catastrophe on which to galvanize support for his agenda. Remember, the means never really matters at all. The end result is what matters to them. "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." I have no doubt that those that are able and want to help him are capable of manufacturing a crisis for him to rally his troops around. Gas/Food prices, M.E. unrest, unemployment…you name it and they’ll find a way to work it to their advantage.