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    He always was the “candidate of fear”

    He always was the “candidate of fear”

    Toby Harndon in The Telegraph writes that Barack Obama, 2008 man of hope and change, becomes 2012 candidate of fear and status quo:

    [Blaming the Tea Party for the dispute over Obama’s appearance before Congress] fits with the campaign strategy Obama appears to have decided on – portray Republican leaders as prisoners of the racist, Right-wing nutters from the Tea Party. They’re to blame, the argument goes, for the gridlock in Washington because of their intransigence in the face of nice, reasonable Obama.

    The problem is that every smear and insult possible was thrown at the Tea Party in last year’s mid-term elections but the grassroots movement still drove an historic Republican victory. It is also an obvious attempt to change the subject, moving discussion away from the economy by fixating on alleged racism or religious fundamentalism on the Right.

    Such a strategy also sits uneasily with the one that brought Obama victory in 2008….

    Certainly, attacking the other side can bring victory…. But the risks are high. Obama seems to intend to urge Americans that he be allowed to stay in the White House to prevent Republican extremists taking over the entire government. The candidate of hope and change in 2008 is fast becoming the candidate of fear and the status quo this time around.

    I think Harndon calls the current strategy right, but gives Obama too much credit for being the candidate of hope in 2008.  Obama always has run a campaign based on fear.

    Shortly before the 2008 election, in one of my first blog posts, I called it as it was, Fear Stalks the Land:

    Fear is stalking this land, and being stoked by Obama. The genius of Obama is that he has taken a message of fear, and sold it as hope. And the public buys it.

    I was right then and I’m right now.  The hope thing always was phony and contrived.

    The only difference is that others have come to see it my way.  (As I pat myself on the back)


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    billdyszel | September 4, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    The flip side of the issue is his habit of building up exaggerated expectations that he can’t satisfy once the results are in. Blaming others doesn’t help, because he asserted his ability to achieve extraordinary goals through his own capabilities. If he couldn’t do it by today, there’s no reason to believe that he can do it tomorrow either. Even his most mesmerized acolytes are feeling disappointed.

    Elevating his upcoming jobs program by delaying it, then staging a grand event before the congress sets him up for failure. What can he possibly say that justifies all the hoopla? It can’t be anything but a letdown. Maybe he’ll bring out Gerald Ford’s WIN buttons.

    LukeHandCool | September 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Yep, spot on, Professor.

    There has never been a hint of the charm or good-natured optimism of a Ronald Reagan. The left was reduced to busily tending the meme Reagan was a dunce as his smiling refusal to show ruffled feathers or any bitterness drove them nuts.

    The left mocked Bush for “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

    To me, the undertone of hope and change has always been, “Either you are with us, or you are a racist.” Or, at the very least, “Either you are with us, or you are unhip/uncaring/greedy, etc.”

    There has never been the affable, welcoming embrace of a Reagan. It’s always been smug and self-satisfied … just completely offputting in its arrogance. It’s always left me feeling uneasy.

    It’s funny watching the mental gymnastics, bordering on tendon and ligament defying contortionism, going on now with liberals shocked at how this has all imploded after a mere 2.5 years. Reading Dowd and Tomasky and others basically saying, “I was a rube who fell for these silly, childish slogans uttered by this empty suit” is just delicious. I can’t seem to get enough. Our supposedly “nuanced” thinking betters are admitting, whether they realize it or not, that they are especially gullible. Pathetically gullible.

    LukeHandCool (who will just say again, spot on, Professor).

    You deserve the back-patting (consider your back patted by me. But not in a weird, stalking way, of course. heh). Harndon is an interesting writer, often way off-base about the American people (and even what America is and what it means), but he’s a savvy thinker. And he is, and you are, right about the role of “hope” in 2012. “Hope” is dead, but fear remains.

    What Obama and his team didn’t realize, and still don’t (truth be told), is that American didn’t elect Obama in 2008. America elected “not Bush.” Obama had and has no mandate. Obama had and has no built-in support (any more than any other democrat). When people ask “Where was the TEA Party when Bush was spending like a madman?,” they think they are helping Obama, but what they are really doing is reminding us all that Bush achieved (so to speak) among the lowest numbers of almost every sitting president. At 25%, Bush–and the GOP–was done. In 2006, we (the people) had enough and handed Congress to the dems. It wasn’t that we thought they’d do better. Oh no, that’s just what we do when the president isn’t performing up to par. We shift the balance of power. The dems saw this, understood it on some level, and realized that they could run a cut out figure for president, and that he’d win.

    As happened. What wasn’t understood or grasped by the Obama people was that it wouldn’t have mattered who was up on the dem side, they’d have won in 2008. Hillary? Kucinich? Dean? Sure, whatever nutter they offered up was going to win. Americans were fed up, and the way that Americans indicate that is by passing power . . . hoping, perhaps foolishly, that the message will be received.

    It wasn’t (it never is, witness Scott Brown’s election of the 2010 midterms). And that, more than anything, has me convinced that Obama, even if he can buy himself another term in the WH, will be a lame duck. The Senate will go, absolutely go, to the GOOP, and the GOP will retain the House. BO’s bizarre and thuggish craziness will be investigated (as it is now with Project Gunrunner and his crazy Leninite “greening” of America), and he’ll be diminished forever. Or impeached. Either way, he’s done. He wins 2012, and he’s done. He loses 2012, and he’s done. It’s over.

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