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Obama ’12: a candidate in search of a theme
(and with an almost visceral contempt for his opponent)

For the better part of this year, even though he lead in the polls, Barack Obama has not seemed a very confident candidate as did previous presidents running for reelection, particularly Bill Clinton in 1996 and Ronald Reagan in 1984.  And he seems far less secure than did George W. Bush in 2004 to which campaign his current bid is often compared.

In many ways, as I have suggested in previous posts, the incumbent seems like W’s father, George H.W. Bush, an incumbent seeking a theme, a reason to justify his reelection  in 1992.  Incumbents often highlight their record — even W did that.  Obama has seemed to highlight his opponent’s deficiencies — even making up deficiencies as the campaign rolls along.

Would be fascinating to see what percentage of the $120 million Obama spend this summer went to campaign ads attacking Romney (that amountmore than his prior opponent’s entire fall campaign budget).  Of the Obama ads I have seen here in Los Angeles, none have touted his accomplishments, all have sabotaged the former Massachusetts governor.

In an insightful piece in the British Daily Mail, Toby Harnden compares the crowds Obama drew four years ago to those he draws today.  Not only do fewer people show up, but

More significantly, the mood of the crowds is different. There is a sullenness, even resentment, that was not present in 2008. Ask an Obama supporter about their man and as often as not you will get a few words about him and then a demeaning attack on Romney or Ryan.

They are taking their cue from the candidate himself. Obama used not to mention Romney by name. In Las Vegas, he did so nine times.

And while he was careful to call him ‘Governor Romney’ and not stoop to the kind of attacks he has left to his campaign and its allies (such as accusing him of being a felon or linking him to the death of a woman from cancer), the contempt he has for his opponent was almost visceral.

(via Powerline picks.)  The Democrat just doesn’t seem confident.  He, like George H.W. Bush in 1992, seems in search of some notion to animate the campaign.  But, unlike that decent Republican, the incumbent Democrat seems to harbor a deep and abiding contempt for his partisan adversary — and even for anyone who opposes his path to a second term (the rhetoric of hope and change notwithstanding).



  1. That is because an arrogant pathological narcissist who thinks he is the “MOST” interesting person in every room(delusions of grandeur) can’t accept the obvious – he is losing!! see link:

    Sort of the “cornered rat” syndrome:

    Comment by m — August 25, 2012 @ 6:01 pm - August 25, 2012

  2. Don’t know who said it, but Obama’s supporters don’t believe that he’s going to make the country better; they think he’s going to make it worse for people they hate.

    Comment by V the K — August 25, 2012 @ 8:03 pm - August 25, 2012

  3. V the K,

    I believe you’re referring to a piece that NorthDallas30 quoted a week or two ago and he was kind enough to give me the link again. Is this it?

    “This is an UnAmerican campaign. It is an Anti-American campaign. It is a campaign by those who hate and fear what America was and who resent having to care about anyone outside their own group. Its group jingoism, its dog whistles and special privileges are repulsive and cynical, treating the people of a great nation like a warren of rats eager to sell each other out for a prize from the Cracker Jack box of identity politics entitlements.

    There is not a single Obama voter anywhere in the land who believes that another four years of him will make this country better. Not a single one from coast to coast. No, what they believe is that he will make the country a worse place for those people that they hate. That he will have four more years to sink their ideas deeper in the earth, regardless of how many families go hungry and how many fathers kill themselves because they can no longer take care of their families. What they believe is that Obama will grant their group more special privileges and the rest of the country can go to hell.”

    Chilling. And absolutely true.

    Comment by Sean A — August 25, 2012 @ 11:10 pm - August 25, 2012

  4. Liberals are not responsible for their words or actions, but conservatives are completely responsible.

    Comment by davinci — August 25, 2012 @ 11:23 pm - August 25, 2012

  5. I don’t think the contempt Obama feels towards Romney is “almost visceral,” I think it is visceral and deep-seated. There was an article about his contempt for Romney the other day in Politico. Neo-neocon discussed that article here and characterized Obama as having “Romney Derangement Syndrome.” That comes closer to the reality, I think, not just for Obama, but for many of the folks in his campaign as their responses to things like the other day’s birth certificate joke seem more and more extreme and unhinged.

    Comment by Kurt — August 26, 2012 @ 1:33 am - August 26, 2012

  6. Obama hates Romney because Romney is everything Obama wants to be but was unable to become without massive amounts of “help” from other people. Sure, Romney was born with some cash in his pocket and connections. So were all of the Kennedys. How well did that turn out for most of the Kennedy clan?

    It all comes down to a very simple life philosophy : you have to play the hand you are dealt. Romney was dealt a good hand, but he played it well. Obama was dealt an okay hand but he choose to steal a card from the deck to enhance his hand. Obama is so envious of not just the hand Romney was dealt but also the way in which Romney played the hand. Envy is a very ugly personality trait.

    Comment by TnnsNe1 — August 26, 2012 @ 12:20 pm - August 26, 2012

  7. TnnsNe1 wrote: “Sure, Romney was born with some cash in his pocket and connections. So were all of the Kennedys. How well did that turn out for most of the Kennedy clan?”

    While this is true, in Romney’s case, though, the reality of his accomplishments is much more compelling. It is not well known, for instance, that unlike other trust fund kids, Romney gave away his inheritance. So he built his own wealth on the basis of his abilities. Although he had the benefits of his education at Harvard Law and Harvard Business School, most of his career success stems from his own intelligence and hard work and not from his family’s connections. And because he built a career in the world of strategy consulting, the connections he made on his own were no doubt more important in his career. Contrast that with Obama who also had the benefit of attending Harvard Law (at whose expense no one really knows), but whose career after Harvard involved few achievements of note aside from publishing books about his favorite topic: himself.

    Comment by Kurt — August 26, 2012 @ 12:43 pm - August 26, 2012

  8. As per Harnden’s piece… it looks like Obama’s theme, this year, is going to be Akin/abortion/GOP “war on women” (so-called).

    I always have the same two thoughts about it, in this order.
    1) Pathetic! Cannot work.
    2) Well, maybe it could work; and if it does, it will tell me that America has gone farther down the tubes than I suspected.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 26, 2012 @ 2:24 pm - August 26, 2012

  9. ILC wrote: “Well, maybe it could work; and if it does, it will tell me that America has gone farther down the tubes than I suspected.”

    Frankly, I think that is one of the ingenious things about Romney having chosen Ryan as his running mate. It puts the the economy and the budget, spending, deficit, and entitlement issues at the forefront, and it positions the Romney-Ryan team well to make those arguments. If they make those arguments, though, and if people re-elect Obama, then it means things really are too far gone already.

    Comment by Kurt — August 26, 2012 @ 5:07 pm - August 26, 2012

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