>There’s a lot of bad news today. The question is can Obama convince
>the American people that he is the man to turn things around. He has to
>describe to the American people how bad things are, how bad things
>were when he took over and how much is done to move things forward
>in spite of strong Republican opposition. I think when the verge of a big
>paradigm shift. I think this is going to be impressive.
I think Obama is in big trouble. He won the election in 2008 because he
was able to articulate the possibility that a fresh guy could come to
Washington and get things done more effectively and efficiently because
his heart was pure. The public believed Obama was handed a shit sandwich
by the worst presidential team in modern history and he would have to
eat some of it but in the end he would get the job done because he
articulately said he could. I voted for him because I believed he had a
shot at it and I definitely didn’t believe McCain/Palin could do
anything better. Palin was the ultimate deal breaker. He was swept into
office on a breath of fresh air, and the entrance of big blocks of voter
groups that jived with him. Youth and blacks.
But the reality still remained that the point was to get the job done.
Now it’s going on three years and virtually none of the things he came
to Washington to do are done. Is that because those things are
un-fixable or because he can’t fix them? Unclear, but in the end it
doesn’t matter. The public bought into the proposition that Obama could
fix them because he was the fix-it guy and had the brains, savvy and
potency to do whatever it took. Personally, I think a lot of it is
simply not fixable. But a big dent could have been put in some of it. A
perfect example: after Osama was dumped into the ocean, we could have
simply announced we won the objective in Afghanistan and pulled out same
The reality is that all the same shit we needed to fix (and were
promised would be fixed) in 2008 is still there. The economy is still
hurting. Not a single Wall Street criminal in the whole menagerie is in
jail and there is no evidence that any of them have mended their says.
We’re still up to our necks in a war that can’t be won. And we’re still
getting very eloquent speeches from the President that he’s working on
it. As much as it pains me to say it, the authority of those speeches is
being undermined by their ineffectiveness.
Now the Republicans, same guys that brought us all this grief, are
asking the voters to believe they can bring the same magic fixes that
Obama advertised in 2008, and it’s now their turn because Obama couldn’t
get it done. And there is some evidence to suggest that the public is
turning to that group if for no other reason than there’s nothing so
potent as something they want to believe.
So I am coming around to believe that Obama can’t get the job done and
the Jobs Bill is too little and too late. I think the Republicans have
figured out they can gain more ground by stopping the Jobs Bill just to
insure Obama will be rendered un-electable in 2012, and that’s their
plan. Nothing is more exigent that getting Obama out and they’re willing
to hold recovery hostage for the next 14 months to get it done. This
whole deal is starting to smell like Carter v. Reagan in 1980. The
economic situation is almost identical.
It’s about time for wild eyed, foaming at the mouth one-note howlers
like Eddie Brown to come forward telling me how good 2012 is going to be
for radical right wing wackos.
To that I say……not so fast. It may very well be that Obama is
slipping, partially because he believed his own hype and partially
because the public believed the impossible could be done. That doesn’t
mean the “party of no” whose only role in the last three years is to
obstruct have any ability to construct in the same circumstances. The
facility to obstruct doesn’t necessarily confer the ability to create.
Most of the GOP candidates are simply place-markers. Some are outright
clown acts. Of the three that have anything close to a politically
reasonable platform, none have put forth any plan any more convincing
than Obama’s in 2008. The more Perry talks, there more he alienates
huge blocks of voters. Huntsman had some reasonable ideas but sank like
a rock for unclear reasons. That basically leaves Romney as the guy
most likely to alienate the fewest voters.
Romney says that Obama is a clear failure on every level, and more to
the point, that he (Romney) has plans to reverse all those failures in
the face of a stubborn economy that got where it is from many un-fixable
factors (a service economy with no demand for services). The public is
clamoring to get the job done, Obama doesn’t seem to be able to fix it,
so they are willing now to listen to a guy with the identical rhetoric
Obama put forth in 2008? It may very well be that the voters will
believe that an opposition party noted for just that can do magic. I
guess we’ll see soon.
Another factor in the 2012 race needs to be considered. That the GOP can
lose by the numbers.
* The Republicans proved in Wisconsin that they will do everything
possible to gut unions. So no rank and file will vote for them
* The Tea Party is white, male and accumulating a racist bent. Blacks
are still enamored with Obama, not as much as they were when it was a
fresh issue in 2008, but definitely enough to insure they won’t vote for
* The way Republicans have treated Hispanics in Arizona insures that
block will never vote GOP.
* Students may or may not vote in huge blocks again, but most of them
are smart. Smart enough to see through about half of the GOP candidate
list. As a group they tend to vote Democratic if they vote at all.
* Despite some isolated reversals, I suspect the big, high population
States will always vote for a Democrat.
It might be a squeaker, but I don’t think there will be a major
revolution of voters for the GOP in 2008. The incumbent edge is a
powerful thing, especially in the face of mediocre opposition. 14 months
is an eternity in politics. Much can and probably will happen.
Whether Obama is re-elected doesn’t depend so much on him.
It also depends on the Republicans capability of self destructing.
David Crippen, MD, FCCM
Department of Critical Care Medicine
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center