Jim Hoft linked yesterday a comment from the president’s Communications Director which gets at the real nature both at the nature of the Obama White House and provides yet another example of the Democrat’s reelection strategy. This ostensibly post-partisan figure is in reality a most partisan politician:
President Obama is struggling in the polls against would-be Republican challengers because voters don’t know the GOP contenders well enough yet, a top White House official said Thursday.
Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer expressed confidence that Obama would perform better against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Texas Gov. Rick Perry once Americans familiarize themselves with those GOP presidential candidates.
“My guess is that a significant portion of the people polled, the American people, don’t know what Mitt Romney’s economic plan is yet,” Pfeiffer said on MSNBC. “I’m confident they will know that he supports Cut, Cap and Balance, which would essentially end Medicare, end Social Security.”
. . . .
The numbers, Pfeiffer argued, show what they do because Obama is being measured against voters’ highest expectations rather than against a specific opponent.
“What I think is always true before you get into an actual contest of ideas in an election is the incumbent is judged not against his or her opponent, they’re judged against the ideal,” he said.
This White House sees everything through a political lens. Think about this for a second. This statement comes not from a campaign spokesman, but from the White House Communications Director. And said spokesman says more people will support the president only after they compare him to a Republican.
Now, I grant it’s a clever spin to say people are measuring the president against an ideal, and indeed some of those (particularly those on the left) who disapprove of the president’s agenda are measuring him against an ideal.* Few Americans have abstract image of the perfect president; most don’t think about politics that much. Some, to be sure, measure the president against a a certain “ideal,” an image his campaign created — and the media echoed.
Most of those who disapprove of the president’s performance in office aren’t measuring him against an abstract ideal. They’re not measuring him against anything. They’re just not happy with his record in office, the tone he has adopted the nation’s head of state and the policies he has promoted (and enacted) as its head of government.
It doesn’t that Mr. Pfeiffer — or anyone in the Obama White House can get that it’s the policies that account for the bulk of the growing opposition to the Democratic incumbent.**
*Yesterday in the Washington Examiner, Hayley Peterson cited a Moveon.org poll which found that “27 percent of Obama’s 2008 supporters now disapprove of the president’s job performance — and of those, 63 percent say their disappointment stems from Obama’s willingness to compromise with Republicans, while nearly 30 percent say the president’s policies are too liberal.”
It is that 63% who measure him against an ideal. And bear in mind, that is not 63% of those disapproving of the president’s job performance, but 63% of the 2008 Obama supporters who currently disapprove of his performance — or roughly 17% of those supporters. He can probably win most of those folks back as they’ll vote for him as the “lesser of two evils” (those who bother to vote).
Unless he pivots to the right — and we’ve seen no evidence of that — he won’t win back the 30% (or 8% of his total 2008 supporters) who think his policies are too liberal. And without that 8%, he won’t be able to win a majority of the popular vote in 2012.
(8% of 52.87% (Obama’s share of the popular vote in 2008) is 4.3%. Take that away from the 2008 tally and Obama’s 48.57%.)
**Perhaps this is because, as James Taranto put it, “The so-called mainstream media is engaged in a bizarre propaganda effort, aimed not so much at persuading voters to agree with Obama but at convincing politicians that voters agree with Obama.“