In recent decades, the conventional political wisdom is for any freshman President to immediately race to positions held by opponents, hence governing from the “center” by homogenizing divergent views. The theoretic objective is to secure power.
Thus, Obama’s advisers advised.
Meaning? Supporters that just got the man elected were fed to the wolves, Bush’s extreme right executive orders issued four days before the blessed farewell weren’t withdrawn, and Obama started discarding most of his campaign pledges. Expectations of progressives were dashed.
Obama’s boys saw picking up “independents” as the only way to win the next cycle – as if “independents” were impressed by a President breaking promises to the faithful. So, they started working on it from Day One. Guantanamo was one of the first to go, then single-payer, government option, Copenhagen, labor bills, torture, off-shore justice, drilling pristine lands, infrastructure bills, no-taxes for the rich, illegal surveillance, CIA rendition, etc. It was as if we elected another damned GW.
Sure, the Stimulus bill squeaked through, GM-Chrysler bailout, and a watered-down Healthcare. Repeal of DADT took two years, but that’s no feather in the cap to most. After Republican spin got through, even Bin Laden’s capture was no accomplishment. His other notable foreign policy achievements are all but specks on America’s screen – given the state of the economy and the mesmerizing power of FOX.
“Independents” are not enthralled by disloyalty but influenced by a passionate base of either stripe. When Democrats are energized, “independents” swing Democratic. When Republicans are energized, “independents” swing Republican. That should be the political conventional wisdom, not lethal advice offered by the Davids Axelrod & Plouffe, Harold Ford, and old-school Clintonites. The “centrist” DLC is not in tune with the grassroots. Obama should be if truly concerned for the country; that’s my advice.
Obama’s voters were suppressed for the sake of “winning” the independent vote. We saw how well that turned out in 2010. Trial balloon? Consultants should have been shown the door. But insane moves to the right continued up until realizing recently the base has been neglected.
Axelrod and the Democratic Leadership Council set the stage for the 2010 defeat, and if left to their erroneous devices, will lead to a repeat in 2012. The only reasons Barack Obama is limping along in the polls are his extraordinary intelligence, verbal skills, appealing charisma, and charming family. And, oh yes, Republican clowns running against him.
A year out, I predict him to win, but only marginally. Unfortunately, if saddled with a Republican Senate and House, the country faces further decline. It cannot be pulled from the ashes by a Congress determined to favor the rich and myth-passionate culture warriors.
The rise of the Occupy Movement only came about because Obama dampened his base. A void was created when DLC and White House consultants advised the President to gravitate right toward the “center” instead of keeping promises. Turning right required Obama to focus on the interests of the 1% at the expense of the 99%. Millions of his followers were disillusioned and have now turned to other means. And I doubt he can recapture their support.
As Seth Meyers so aptly put it at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner last spring: “Candidate Obama 2008 could beat Obama 2012.”
The situation would have turned out differently had Obama listened to true progressives. Sorry advisers not only damaged him, but the country. Think what better condition we’d be in had Democrats stood for something and kept the House. The Tea Party only got their way because Obama’s consultants advised a race to the right.
Pandering to conservatives suppressed the base. They felt no energy after their change-president let them down. Independents leaned toward the Tea Party Express only because the right was energized, the left demoralized.
On the other hand, GW’s advisers broke with conventional wisdom in 2001. The base was kissed, opponents were kicked. Bush-Cheney stormed into office with both feet on the ground – cutting taxes for the rich, draining the treasury, prepping to invade Iraq, attacking labor-environment-social issues, politicizing justice, cementing a secret energy policy favoring Enron and Exxon, and taking a wrecking ball to the nation’s economy. His base loved it.
In January 2009 we thought it was OUR TURN to set things straight when the new sheriff was sworn in. Instead, we were served shit from centrists who prioritized 2012 over removing the nauseating Bush dung heap.
Their political theory impaired a renewal most urgent. But which actors are most responsible – the consultants or the client? Obama didn’t have to listen to idiots, did he?