Two of my favorite pundits, Glenn Reynolds and Michael Barone, frequently excerpt and link Walter Russell Mead’s commentary at the American Interest. Mead, a Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but who supported the Iraq War in 2003, offers trenchant analysis of politics and social trends and frequent criticism of his party and its ideological associates (i.e., liberals).
Given his insight, Mead ranks (along with such conservative “wise men” as Barone, Victor Davis Hanson and Charles Krauthammer) as one of the few pundits regularly offering sage commentary on the news of day, often spotting trends before others notice them. In his post which Glenn linked today, Mead contends that the “driving force in the country remains a deep unhappiness with the status quo and with both parties, but ten months out from the election, this mood looks as if it will hurt Democrats more than Republicans.”
The entire piece is well worth your time (as are most of Mead’s posts), but one passage struck out to me, perhaps because his views reflect my own on Obama’s recent uptick in the opinion polls:
The serial rise and fall of ultimately unsatisfactory GOP candidates makes the incumbent look better by contrast even as the candidates field-tested attack ad themes the Democrats can turn to next fall. President Obama’s numbers are up a bit even as short-lived GOP favorites crash and burn. Throw in the House payroll tax kerfluffle, and the GOP sometimes looks as if it is trying to drive voters away.
One wonders how the polls will shift when the focus turns back to the incumbent. It sometimes seems Obama’s poll numbers tend to drift upward when he does not dominate the news cycle.
How will he fare when the various Republican candidates stop savaging each other and concentrate their fire on his policy failures and the anemic state of the economic recovery?
President Obama went into a deep slumber in December. When he woke up this January, he found himself back even in the polls, with neither a press conference nor another overhyped presidential televised address to be heard. Sleep, quiet, and solitude — all that appears wiser than campaigning, visibility, and speaking, both for Obama and Americans. In short, the president has really hit on something: an Obama going into a Rip Van Winkle somnolent state might just mean waking up again as president.
. . . .
The more he kept out of the news and kept quiet, the more his negative and positive ratings went back in sync, until they are today about even, a radical shift in just about a month — and as a result of doing absolutely nothing. Do Americans sort of like Barack Obama the more that they do not see or hear much of him — at least while they hear too much of the Republicans ripping each other apart?
Via Instapundit. Read the whole thing.