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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Wow, great POV. I never thought about “hope” as the code word for fear. Professor, you have hit another home run with this post.
What about the first two years of his administration? The Tea Partiers in Congress were sworn in nine months ago.
Remember the child’s comeback; “I’m rubber you’re glue. Every thing you say bounces off of me and sticks to YOU!” ?
That works for Liberals. One major feature of EVERY liberal I’ve ever known or heard is that WHAT they accuse of others of (regardless of the validity of the accusation) is EXACTLY what they’re DOING or WOULD DO in the future.
Liberal; the name is Projection.
Wow – exactly what I’ve been saying over the last few days! Reassuring to know others are thinking as I have been, seeing what I see. I was just saying that same “I’m rubber, you’re glue….” childish rhyme to my husband to try to convey the puerile left. He thought I was a bit touched. 😉 But, indeed, liberal leftists: thy name is projection. 🙂
And, as always, thank you, Professor, for the reminder of how much you were willing to do back in 2008 to help keep the conversation sane, and on the level of reality vs. rhetoric. How right you were, and are.
Excellent post Professor. The thing is though, if there was no Internet, and blogs such as this, Hillary/PUMA sites, then that fear strategy would work easily.
I don’t listen to talk radio much, sorry I cannot stand Rush, although he does have some funny commentary sometimes. However, speaking as a former democrat (now Independent), I most of the time now rely on the Internet for the news, even AP stories(which lean left) I sometimes double check with local news accounts of that story. I find myself distrusting people like Brian Williams (a college dropout), Sawyer and whoever the news person at Cbs is less and less every day. I don’t trust them or listen to them any longer.
So, the fear strategy only works if the lefty media outlets, ABC, NBC, CBS, NYT, Wash Post, CNN etc are the only source of information plus people trust and believe them as unbiased reporters, WHICH THEY ARE NOT and which people do not see as unbiased.
So, will the race baiting continue, of course… will the Obama worshipping media call it out, of course not.
I accidently turned on MTP this morning, I rarely watch that nonsense anymore, saw Maxine Waters and Cuomo were on. Now, will Gregory ask Maxine about her disgusting comments, well I didn’t watch but 1 minute of it, but I would say no. Gregory is another reporter who thinks he’s unbiased, which before 2008 I would have agreed with, but I saw how much water they carried for Obama in 2008, Gregory, Williams, Couric, Sawyer, all of them and continue to do so.
So, how will they prop up their Messaih, I’m actually not sure, I was a clinton supporter, and while I hated what he did, I thought the repubs led by Gingrich acted like hypocrites impeaching him, making clinton a victim and the repubs the mean ol’ repubs. My advise to the repub, the Messaih is self-destructing, don’t stand in his way, don’t make it personal, Barry is a very arrogant, elitist man, and that’s how it comes across, so don’t stand in the way, keep attacking on policies, how he says one thing, yet the actions are sometthing else, and fight back hard with this approach, let no charge go unanswered. (this kind of approach I see with Perry, which I respect and hence makes me want to support him)
Fear is going to work, but not the way they think, people are more fearful of Barry getting reelected, not the repubs or the Tea Party people elected but Barry getting reelected, and this is coming from a lifelong loyal democrat. I don’t see myself ever voting for another democrat, they have gotten extremely far radical left.
They have no plans, just tear down people, point out a problem, and then point out who to blame for it.
“Fear stalks the Land” is one of the most insightful observations I’ve ever read.
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.
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.