Posted by: sweeneyblog | May 15, 2011

Obama’s Re-election Campaign

When discussing the 2012 presidential election, most people fall into three camps. These three storylines show up through out various partisan groups, the only difference is how they are presented. Consider them, for there is support for all three in recent events, and decide where you fall.

A. Obama is Unstoppable, Easy Re-election. After killing Osama Bin-Laden, Obama has been riding high with a 60% approval rating. The economy has slowly, but steadily been recovering, and this puts him on a fine path to re-election. He has been taking moderate but publicly popular positions (see his latest immigration reform speech) and building a massive campaign organization. He will cruise to re-election.

B. Obama is going to win, but mainly because the Republican field is TERRIBLE! Obama isn’t doing that great. Unemployment remains high; he has not had any major legislative accomplishments since extending unemployment and repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But he is saved because the Republican field is one of the worst since John Kerry won the Democratic nomination by default. When Donald Trump showed up and quickly rose to second in the polls over a couple of weeks because of the birther issue, it shows that your field is really weak. The strongest candidate is probably Mitt Romney, who frankly looks and talks like the guy who just laid you off. Who else is in the field? Michelle Bachmann? Crazy and her vice-presidential pick is an ancient horror. Tim Pawlenty? Dull and uninspiring. Mike Huckabee? Maybe, he’s always been my pick, but he never seems to be serious about it. UPDATE: I was right, he dropped out May 16th. Newt Gingrich? Herman Cain? Really? Anyways, my point is that that this school of thought is that Obama might not be great, but he will coast to re-election because of the weak field on the other side.

C. Obama is doomed. He has pissed off his base, destroyed the economy, etc and will lose in a landslide. Despite the economic recovery news, unemployment remains high, gas prices continue to rise, we are still inAfghanistan and Iraq, and our debt continues to rise. This meme that Obama is doomed is more popular among Republicans but I’ve heard it from Democrats and Progressives as well. Some blame the President for inept handling of this or that, others blame his advisors, or the economy or the opposition, but there is a steady stream of pieces about how Obama is a one-term president.

Those are the three reoccurring stories that get tacked onto whatever piece of political news that comes out. Obama reaches this number in the polls, it must mean (insert a, b or c). The Republicans passed this resolution, it must mean (insert a, b, or c). Political reporting has become so narrative-focused, that I bet you 90% of the stories written from now until the first primary numbers come in are going to be some variations on these three themes.

Notice what isn’t there. There is no room in these stories for say, “We are a deeply divided country that is worried about our future and are unsure of the right path.” Or “Unheard of amounts of corporate cash are going to decide the winner of the election.” Or “People are frustrated with (Candidate), for (these reasons) but will end up voting for (that candidate) because they fit closest with their values and it will be a tight race either way.” Those stories provide context, depth and an understanding of the electorate, and clearly make terrible television and headlines.

So my question for you is do you fall into one of the above categories? I am sitting around option B, I don’t think Obama is a strong as he could be, but the Republican field is pretty weak this time around. What do you think? The floor is yours.

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Responses

  1. I’m in the “I don’t give a rip what the Media says about this election because they’re going to say whatever they can to try to make it a horse race” camp. That is to say that the MSM got it wrong the entire election in 2008 and Obama still won.

  2. I’m in the first “group” – I know that one person cannot fulfill the role of the President of the United States or live up to everybody’s expectations. I think he is the smartest, most charismatic president we have had during my life time. When he came into office the country was already deeply into wars and economic collapse. He has brought us beyond that even though the debt has increased in solving some of the problems. Running the government when it is under the control of corporations is a very difficult course but I’m confident that with another 4 years time he will make the changes he talked about in his winning campaign for president.

  3. Way to go and not mention Ron Paul.

    • You are right, I didn’t mention Ron Paul. He would be, by far, one of the strongest candidates . . . if he could get the nomination. That’s the problem, is that the Republican base doesn’t agree with him, and you can’t get very far without your base.

  4. Isn’t Romney considered dead in the water after his health care speech?
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/13/975724/-Romney-health-care-speech-flayed

    • Never underestimate the power of lots and lots of campaign cash.

  5. The news media is gonna swing this depending on whatever narrative they are currently subscribed to or paid to push. Considering all things, the Republican party is so fractionalized at this point I don’t think they have any cohesive sense of what their base really is and that will make it difficult to put forth a candidate that all conservatives can rally behind. I feel that Obama is doing a tremendous job considering what he was left with, but I don’t count on ANYTHING after the 2000 election. Corporate interests have an unprecedented opportunity to influence the election so I imagine it will come down to who pays the most for the presidency. Sad to think our democracy has been reduced to that.

  6. I am in the “B” camp as I believe are most Democrats. Whether in A or B, the challenge will be for the Democratic party to get its ranks enthused about the nuts and bolts of the campaign. Likely, there will be no primary opponent and either a wacko or bland Republican candidate. I even question whether the Corporations will waste a lot of money on a loser Republican. By and large, Obama has been good to them. He had more Corporate funding than McCain and will likely get more in 2012 than the hapless Republican candidate

    I expect I will wind up voting for Obama if there is no significant Progressive candidate challenging him. But, no way am I in. I can’t stand that slogan. The bottom 98% in wealth are out and will continue to be increasingly so unless we awaken to the obvious that Corporations Are Not People and Money Is Not Speech.
    What could destroy him is a third party challenge from the left. No signs of that, however. Still, he is a huge disappointment to many solidly behind him in 2008.

    The one Republican now that Huck has deferred that could give Obama a run for his money is Jon Huntsman. He is a bit too moderate for the new Republican Party and is another Mormon, but has credentials and charisma without being wacky. If the Republicans decide that winning is more important than extreme messaging, he would be a formidable candidate

  7. Whoops, latest polls show that his “post-assassination of Osama” surge is already nearly gone. Option A is out. Obama needs the political equivalent of an erectile dysfunction pill. Appears he suffers from premature assassination.


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