Skip to comments.Victor Davis Hanson: Obama’s ‘They’-Did-It Campaign (Brace for an October Surprise.)
Posted on 06/21/2012 6:43:08 PM PDT by neverdem
The next five months should be interesting — given that Barack Obama is now experiencing something entirely unique in his heretofore stellar career: widespread criticism of his performance and increasing weariness with his boilerplate and his teleprompted eloquence.
Starting with his Occidental days, and going on through Columbia, Harvard, Chicago, the U.S. Senate, and the 2008 campaign, rarely has Mr. Obama faced much criticism, much less any accountability that would involve judging his rhetoric by actual achievement.
Yet what worked for so long now does no longer. Obama simply cannot run on 40 months of 8 percent–plus unemployment, a June 2009 recovery that sputtered, $5 trillion in new debt, serial $1 trillion–plus annual deficits, and dismal GDP growth. Few believe any more that what he and the Democratic Congress passed in the first two years of his administration worked — and fewer still that the Republicans are to blame in the last 17 months for stopping him from pursuing even more disastrous policies. He cannot turn instead to the advantages of Obamacare, a dynamic foreign policy, national-security sobriety, a scandal-free administration, or stellar presidential appointments. The furor over security leaks makes it harder to keep conjuring up the ghost of Osama bin Laden.
What then to expect if the race remains tight or Obama finds himself behind?
1. There will be lots more “the dog ate my homework” excuses for the dismal economy. The troubles in the EU, the Japanese tsunami, the East Coast earthquake, ATM machines, Wall Street, inclement weather, the Republican Congress, the Tea Party, and George W. Bush have pretty much been exhausted. But there is always hurricane season, a Greek exit from the euro, or a Middle East flare-up. Expect sometime before October to hear that a new “they” upset the brilliant recovery and is to blame for the chronic economic lethargy. One of the strangest aspects of Obama’s rationalizations is their utter incoherence and illogic: He brags that America pumped more oil and gas under his watch, even as he did his best to stop just that on public lands; he brags that he put in fewer regulations than did Bush, even as he boasts that he reined in business; he brags that he had to borrow $5 trillion to grow government in order to save the country, even as he claims he reduced the size of government. Why does Obama try to take credit for things on Tuesday that he damned on Monday? Is his new campaign theme: Despite (rather than because of) Obama?
2. Mitt Romney is a tough target. If Obama once loudly admitted to abuse of coke, Romney quietly confesses to avoidance even of Coca-Cola. His personal life is blameless. His family seems the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting. And Romney has more or less succeeded at most things he has attempted. No matter, he is Mormon. Expect legions of Obama surrogates to focus on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially its supposed endemic racism, sexism, and homophobia. Religious bigotry is not especially liberal, but the race/class/gender agenda trumps all such qualms, and in any case Obama and his team have never claimed to be especially tolerant or fair-minded in using any means necessary to achieve noble ends. Whereas the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Trinity Church were off the table in 2008, Mormonism will be very much on it by late summer.
3. We will read and hear about race 24/7. Racism is not an easy sell today, given that without tens of millions of white voters, Barack Obama would not have been elected. Nor is it easy to condemn America as racist when the white vote in 2008 was split far more evenly than were the 96 percent of African-American voters who preferred Barack Obama. Nonetheless, racial relations are at an all-time low. Almost weekly a member of the Congressional Black Caucus levels yet another bizarre charge of racism, and a Hollywood actor or singer blurts out something that would be deemed racially offensive were he not African-American; the polarization over the Trayvon Martin case threatens to overshadow the polarization over the O. J. Simpson trial; flash mobbing in the inner cities is as much daily fare on the uncensored Internet as it is absent from the network news; and both Barack Obama (the Skip Gates affair, the Trayvon Martin quip, the “punish our enemies” call, etc.) and Eric Holder (“cowards,” congressional oversight is racially motivated, “my people,” etc.) have made it a point to make race essential, not incidental, to their governance. If in 2008 liberals celebrated the election of Barack Obama as proof of a new postracial harmony, in 2012 a tight race will be cited as greater proof of a new ascendant racism. The idea that to elect Obama wins the nation racial exemption, and to defeat him earns condemnation, is illogical. No matter: By late fall, expect a desperate Obama administration to be dredging up the charge overtly, nonstop, and in person.
4. We should look for new furor against the “system” in direct proportion to the praise heaped on it in 2008 for being redeemed. The polls, if unfavorable, will be described as innately biased. The uncivil Rush Limbaugh, talk radio generally, Fox News, and tea-party bloggers, we will be lectured, are subversive, peddle hate, foment violence, and should be silenced. Whereas David Brooks, David Frum, Peggy Noonan, and Christopher Buckley were recommended reading in 2008, given their balanced and fair-minded critiques of George W. Bush and their appreciation of Barack Obama, in 2012 we will learn that they are right-wing attack dogs for losing their enthusiasm for the first-class mind and temperament of Barack Obama. Whereas a Pat Buchanan on MSNBC railing against Bush’s war and McCain’s neocon advisers was a reminder of how the libertarian Right has positive affinities with the liberal Left, in 2012 such a paleocon “racist” must be kept off the airwaves. Voter-registration laws and voter-ID requirements, remember, are designed to exclude the oppressed and must be relaxed. Advertising has warped American politics. Super PACs are Romney conspiracies. If big Wall Street money went for Obama in 2008 and thereby won investment banking and the stock market exemption from charges of greed and corruption, in 2012 investors may swing to Romney and thereby incite calls to rein in “big money” and furious op-eds about the toxic mix of politics and cash. If Romney outraises Obama, we will hear again the calls for public campaign financing, which were ignored when a cash-flush Obama renounced public financing in 2008. In 2008, academics, foundation people, the Hollywood crowd, journalists, and liberal politicians confessed that they had fallen in love again with an America that had proved it was not hopeless after all; in 2012, America may prove unsalvageable, with thousands vowing to move to Canada.
5. Suddenly around October the world will become absolutely unsafe. In these dangerous times, Americans must forget their differences, come together, and embrace a bipartisan unity — given that it may be necessary, after all, to hit the Iranian nuclear facilities, since we’ll have learned that the bomb may be a reality by, say, mid-November. Just as we have been reminded that Barack Obama has saved us by his brave decisions to use double agents in Yemen, computer viruses in Iran, Seal Team Six in Pakistan, and philosophically guided Predator assassination hits, so too a strike against Iran may suddenly be of vital national-security interest, though keenly lamented by a Nobel laureate nose-deep in Thomas Aquinas. Cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline delighted greens; the war on the war on women pleased feminists; gays are now on board after Barack Obama decided he really did favor gay marriage; Latinos got nearly a million illegal aliens exempted from immigration law. And yet all those partisan gifts have not yet resulted in a 50 percent approval rating or a lead over Mitt Romney. Something more dramatic is needed, given that there are only so many Obama heroics that can be cobbled together and leaked from classified sources.
We do not know who is going to win the 2012 election, only that it will be closer than the 2008 one — and if Obama keeps it up at his present rate he may destroy the Democratic party for a generation. There is no longer an incumbent George Bush to blame. Romney is a feistier candidate than was John McCain. Fundraising is no longer lopsided. The novelty of the first African-American president has become passé. And “hope and change” has been replaced by a concrete record of three and a half years. Given those realities, if his being an unknown quantity was a reason to vote for Barack Obama in 2008, his being all too familiar will be cause for rejecting him in 2012.
its not going to be closer that 2008. give me a break.
It’s Romney’s to lose. All he has to do is step back and point to Obama and say “see!”
Not to be off topic but speaking of our Mormon candidate, has anybody noticed that Ancestry.com is becoming a major sponsor for some of the top conservative talk radio programs?
Nothing wrong with that just something I noticed.
Hum? You are correct and it is an interesting turn of events.
I think interest in ancestry tends to be a conservative thing. Liberals spend their lives trying to distance themselves from their “oppressor” past while conservatives want the connection.
I recently discovered that my great grandfather wasn’t the Austrian immigrant we believed him to be but a Polish Jew. My uncle is trying to find the best way to “break the news” to my liberal cousins. LOL
VDH is right..I intend to mute all Dim ads..and keep my “no network news” habit..
November can’t get here fast enough..Beat Obamanation
It would be a mistake to attack Mormons. Most Christians are well aware that an attack against the Mormons is really about attacking them and will vote accordingly.
All this is assuming there will be an Election Day 2012.
I still think a monkey could beat both of them.
A war. He needs a war.
The last summer of this guy. 10 points + I think. Won’t be long and the jerk will have the anarchist and goons in the streets. Its what they do.
Burn & break, leave a giant mess. Blame it all on Bush, It’sThe democrat way.
“The dog ate my homework” excuses?.....more likely, “I ate the dog that ate my homework.”
That’s right. All he really needs to win is one of those electric dog collars triggered to his mouth. Every time he opens it he gets shocked because No one is interested in hearing him Repeat Obama’s program as a solution to Obama’s program.
And he doesn’t Have anything else.
The possibility of an October surprise is what scares me. I think that Romney should include a couple of sentences in his Acceptance Speech at the GOP Convention warning America to NOT be surprised if the Obama White House tries to pull off an October Surprise to steal the Election. Head the DemocRATS off at the pass. Disarm them before they even have their Convention. Am I off-base on that? Would that not be cool?
I’ll take the MORMON over the MORON!
And, I bet the Mormon Church, with their Genealogy skills knows where B. Hussein Obama was born and will release it, with DOCUMENTED PROOF, before Nov. 6.
Please explain your Post #2. Thanks.
He doesn’t want to attack Iran, but he’s GOING to.
Was he willing to get 500 Mexican (and 2 US cops) killed for a political ambition he fancied? YEP..!
What might he do if his ENTIRE political future were on the line?
He’d kill every Iranian in Tehran, if need be:
I’ve had an account on ancestry.com for years now. And I agree with what you say. But as you probably know, the Mormons are very big on genealogy in fact next to ancestry.com their church is the next biggest website to visit for info on your ancestors. They actually have their own site similar to ancestor.com and I’m not 100% that they are not somehow affiliated with ancestry.com but that’s beside the point.
I found out that my 9th Great-grandfather was John PROCTOR who was accused of being a witch in and hung in Salem in 1692.
It IS Romney’s to lose, and he is doing the best he can.
I agree. Iran may be Obama’s target or perhaps Venezuela since that would be an easier war.
No real justification needed for Venezuela. Obama will make one up.
Bump. Have to show this to some people.
What I don’t get is why the GOP and or it’s PAC’s don’t get out in front of any potential “october surprise?” If they start the buzz(es) of what the OS will be, it can be muted. Even in passing, or speeches, etc. get it all out with off handed comments, etc to blunt it now, no? A surprise is not a surprise if everyone has talked about it recently. JM2C.
No telling what Obama may do if the polls look bad for him late Summer/ early Fall.
I hate to say but after having seen some of his recent desperate moves and abuse of power lately, a war with Iran could be the lessor of evils which the man may try to stay in power. And that scares me.
My mother and uncle have been doing all the research on their own. My great Grandfather sailed from Antwerp bound for Canada on the SS Mount Temple which had a short but eventful history on the seas. Today its at the bottom of the Atlantic full of dinosaur bones.
We’ve also found that my great grandmothers grandfather and his brother signed up to fight for the union on the same day. The brother apparently switched sides and never returned north to Wisconsin.
. My uncle is trying to find the best way to break the news to my liberal cousins. LOL
Spewed caffeine free Diet Coke on my keyboard, CC! LOL.
How did you find out this stuff about your family, CC?
Through Ancestry I found that my 10th great grandfather was Gov. Bradford of the Mayflower pilgrims.
Yeah, I don’t get this comment either, Hh.
Great segway to bring my question back on topic with this article.
Perhaps THAT will be one of our October surprises!
Just in case, we should gather some others. Bookmarking this article could be an October surprise of its own if any of the predictions come true.
You'll be hearing from my lawyer in the morning. I haven't been the same since 1692. LOL
So? I am not LDS, but my grandmother was DAR, and it was she who got me into this genealogy thing.
I’ve found that ancestry.com don’t know shiite, and want you to supply the info.
My idiot brother-in-law once told me that another genealogy website, I forget its name, will do the research for free and let you know your ancestors. I told him he was crazy, but the bozo then supplied them with complete info about me and our entire family. For free. GRRRRRRH!
Anyways Gov. Bradford didn’t have anything to do with the Salem hangings so you’re off the hook.
Lots of inquiries to the INS, various state and local agencies in Detroit, Beloit Wisc, St Catherines Ontario and Buchovina Romania (which has been in Poland, Austria, The Ukraine and probably a couple other countries) . Things like ship manifests are handy. My grandfather’s sister brought a bunch of paperwork and letter when she came for the NASCAR race last week. (She’s 89 and still following the races)
LOL we all got `skeletons`, some good and some bad... An 8th great grandmother was Anne Washington, 3rd cousin of George...
My common ancestor with GW was Lawrence Washington and Aimee Partiger of Kent, England in the early 1600s
This is a good one! Bookmarked.
Also, God help me, my common ancestor with THE ONE is Mareen (Marion) DuVall of Normandy, France... Who immigrated to Maryland about 1650.
They are libel to kill themselves due to the lefts hatred of Jews.
I’m impressed that Romney’s team seems smart and agile...seems he actually WANTS to win....are you listening you big fat slob McCain????
Which of the Signers was your ancestor?
“its not going to be closer that 2008. give me a break.”
No break from me.
2012 will be one of the closest elections in American history, at least in the electoral college.
My prediction is that Romney will win, 270 to 268. If Obama “splits the e.c. vote” in either Nebraska (Omaha area) or Maine, we could end up with a tie and the president will be chosen in the House of Representatives.
I would like to be proven completely wrong.
But I’m a realist.
The country has become so ideologically divided, that we are going to see election struggles like this (i.e., barely discernible “victories”) for the next 2 decades, at least.
My opinion only. Yours is different...
Contact Warren in Mass. She has an inside on how to magically become an indian with history to boot.
“.... accused of being a witch in and hung in Salem in 1692.”
I am amazed that some of these things can be traced back that far.
I am just now starting my search. I have put it off for far to long and now I finally have the time to get serious about it.
I haven’t as yet decided what service to use.
I think Obama wants to pull another air war against Syria in an effort to oust the Assad regime the way they got Khaddafi in Libya.
Big difference is that Russia & Syria have a defensive alliance. Putin just sent some naval vessels to Syria, and they maintain a naval facility there as well.
So, I think Obama will have to look elsewhere for his war.
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