As the mid-term elections approach, Obama is struggling to renew the sense of optimism and ambition of two years ago and finds himself battling to keep both centrists and radicals on board. There are areas of the country where his presence on the stump would hinder rather than help; a handful of Democratic candidates are not just running against Republicans, but him.Yes, it’s all going pear-shaped, eh, Gary? Who’s to blame, then?
Is it the Obamassiah himself?
…the question many who backed him are asking is whether he raised their hopes too high or their expectations were unrealistic? The answer is neither.Really? So who was at fault?
Ah. Of course. Those pesky voters, getting caught up in the hype:
Their mistake was to believe that transformational change was something you could impart to a higher power – the president – and then witness on CNN.Dumb, stupid rubes, eh, Gary?
The problem was not that many set their hopes too high but that rather than claim those hopes as their own they invested them in a single person – Obama – and in an utterly corrupted political culture.You see, Obama didn’t fail – the people failed Obama!
A winner-takes-all voting system where both main parties are sustained by corporate financing, the congressional districts are openly gerrymandered and 40% of the upper chamber can block anything, is never going to be a benign vehicle for radical reform.It’s all a great big conspiracy against the progressives, isn’t it, Gary? We shall just overlook the fact that Obama is tied to corporate financing just as tightly as everyone else…
Moreover, rhetorically, at least, he projected a far more dynamic, idealistic and populist campaign than the one he was actually running. As the community organiser-cum-presidential candidate, he managed to simulate the energy and vision of a movement and then super-impose it onto a tightly run, top-down presidential campaign bid.Yes, I remember you and all the other Democrat cheerleaders warning about this and…
Wait. No, I don’t…
Nowhere was this more evident than the manner in which he sought to harness the symbolic resonance of his race while simultaneously denying its political significance: at one and the same time posing as a direct legatee of the civil rights movement and little more than a distant relative.He wanted to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. And he’s now learnt that, when the hounds find out, you’re in trouble…
Maybe the problem was that he wasn’t progressive enough?
But when it came to matters of substance, far from raising expectations too high he actually set them quite low. He stood on a moderate platform in the middle of an economic crisis that demanded drastic action. And even with that tepid agenda he won only 53% of the vote against a weaker candidate, with an even weaker running mate, who conducted an incoherent campaign.Heh! Yes, that was pointed out by the right many, many times, and they were decried for it and slammed as ‘racist’.
So it’s rather amusing to see it creeping in as an excuse for the expected poor results in the mid-terms now.
All very unexpected, eh, Gary?
So, given the institutions in which Obama was embedded, it was no great feat to predict today's disappointment.And yet, strangely, no-one on the left did.
Those on the right did, however.