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Whatever happened to Hope and Change™?

In a blog post titled, Closing (Negative) Argument, left-of-center reporter/commentator Mark Halperin observes that a

. . . new Obama TV spot, which the campaign says will run in four states, will annoy some Romney supporters, but the upper echelon in Boston will surely say it shows the incumbent knows he’s losing.

Via HotAir headlines.

UPDATE: Even Yahoo! is picking up on the negativity:

UP-UPDATE: Even creepier than the Lena Dunham video?

UP-UP-UPDATE: Crowley to Axe: Hey, Uh, Isn’t Your Closing Argument Supposed to Be Positive?

Economic growth, anemic by historical standards
(& far less than what Obama promised when he sold “stimulus”)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:45 pm - October 26, 2012.
Filed under: Economy,Obama Hopenchange

This headline from Yahoo! Finance says pretty much all you need to know about today’s job growth figures: Stronger Than Expected 3Q Growth Weak By Historical Standards. Obama and some liberals on Facebook (and on twitter, as I understand) are trying to spin this as a positive sign, but the first two paragraphs of the article (from a usually Obama-friendly source) should dispel any notion that this is great news:

The U.S. economy picked up some steam in the third quarter. The Commerce Department reported that GDP grew at a 2% annualized rate from July to September. That’s an improvement from the sluggish 1.3% pace in the second quarter but nothing to get excited about, says David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff.

The higher growth in the third quarter was due to increased government spending, which is unsustainable, he tells The Daily Ticker. Factoring that out means growth was 1.3% in the private sector, virtually unchanged from the previous quarter, says Rosenberg.

On Facebook, Bruce shared this chart:
So, while Obama may boast that the economy is growing, the bigger issue is that it’s not growing as fast as the Democrat promised, particularly when he sold the nation on his $800-billion “stimulus.”

Growth, in short, “is less than half of what the White House projected growth would be this year” — providing further evidence that we can’t put too much stock in Obama’s economic forecasts — or his policies.

Can Mr. Obama campaign without name-calling?

Earlier today, I linked a Yahoo! piece noting the increasingly snarky tone of the president’s campaign and observing how most incumbent presidents leave the personal attacks to their surrogates.

Unbeknownst to me then, the story of the president’s very unpresidential would only get bigger today.  Now, comes word that Mr. Obama described his opponent as, well, here’s the quote:  [LANGUAGE WARNING after the “more” link] (more…)

Obama: from hope and change to snark and blame

Even the legacy media is beginning to take notice of Barack Obama’s, well, less-than-uplifting rhetoric of late, as Russell Goldman reports:

If you’re President Obama, you know you pushed the sarcasm envelope at Monday night’s debate when even Rachel Maddow describes the way you spoke to Mitt Romney as being in “very, very overtly patronizing terms.”

Maddow probably meant it as a compliment, but there have been plenty of other observers who were critical of the president’s use of Seinfeldian set-ups and snarky punch lines to score points about military spending and the state of U.S.-Russia relations.

Time’s Mark Halperin described the president’s style as “belittling.” Mike Allen at Politico called it “snide derision.”

(H/t:  Reader Kurt.)  Candidates, to borrow Goldman’s expression, tend to leave “most of the snark to their staffs and surrogates”, but Mr. Obama seems to relish making snide remarks himself.   (more…)

What’s your plan, Mr. President?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:04 am - October 20, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Obama Hopenchange

Mitt Romney and Megan McArdle are not alone.  A number of bloggers, reporters and pundits have been asking just what Barack Obama has planned for his second term.  Some of my conservative friends and correspondents think that the Democrat does indeed have a plan, it’s just that he doesn’t dare make it public because it would show that he’s clearly not the moderate he claims to be.

Even supporters who attended the Democrat’s recent campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, with one saying Obama hadn’t really “done a good job describing his vision for a second term“.  And over at the Hill, Niall Stanage & Amie Parnes report that he’s under pressure to do just that — spell out plans for his second term.

And when pressed, his campaign team offers only banalties:

Campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher disputed the charge that Obama isn’t talking details, noting he has promised to double exports, cut oil imports in half and hire 100,000 new math and science teachers, among other second-term priorities.

And just how is he going to do that?  Where’s he going to find the money to pay for 100,000 new math and science teachers?  What specific policies will he put in place to allow businesses to manufacture products for export?  What will he do to reduce our dependency on foreign oil?

Seems he’d rather attack Mr. Romney than put forward some ideas of his own.

Legacy media beginning to see through Obama’s appeal?

Yesterday, Glenn Reynolds linked a post that I first read on my iPhone, then read again after I had returned to LA (when a reader e-mailed me the piece as it fit in nicely with a conversation we were having.

That piece is Stacy McCain’s reflection on Chris Cilizza’s piece asking whether Obama is overrated as a candidate where the Washington Post reporter duly notes that “Four years ago, that question would have been unimaginable.”  “That the question ‘would have been unimaginable’ in 2008”, Stacy offers

. . . is likely a result of Cillizza having his head inside the liberal media echo chamber where never was heard a discouraging word about Obama. Democrats were pumped up and eager for action after eight years of Bush, and having a completely untested candidate allowed them to project onto Obama whatever they wished to see there. If you bought into that hype (as Cillizza evidently did), then it was easy to imagine Obama the Light-Bringer riding to glory astride a flying unicorn, eating Magic Peace Flakes for breakfast and farting rainbows all day long.

Read the whole thing.  It is fascinating to see so many folks in the legacy media saying what conservatives have been saying at least since Obama started racking up victories in Democratic primaries and cauci in 2008.  Our reader Kurt shared with me this image that Dr. Sanity posted on February 14, 2008:

This is not the change we were looking for

Yesterday, releasing this clever ad, contrasting Obama’s lofty rhetoric with his real record, on Facebook, Rightchange was trying “to reach 160 million adult Facebook users in one day across the country.”   (more…)

Problem is not GOP obstructionism, but Obama’s obstinance*

Barack Obama, wrote David Corn earlier this week, repeating a Democratic talking point, should, in his speech tonight, “Castigate GOP Obstructionism“.

The real story, however, is not one of Republican obstructionism, but of Democratic obstinance.  The Obama team decided early, reports ABC News’s Rich Klein, in his piece about Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book, The Price of Politics,  decided to “to forego bipartisanship for the sake of speed around the stimulus bill was encapsulated by his then-chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel: ‘We have the votes. F— ’em,’ he’s quoted in the book as saying.

The day after Democrats celebrate Bill Clinton, Klein reminds us how the current Democratic president differs from his partisan predecessor:

“Obama doesn’t really have the joy of the game. Clinton basically loved negotiating with a bunch of pols, about anything,” [former Clinton Treasury Secretary and Obama economic advisor Larry] Summers said. “Whereas, Obama, he really didn’t like these guys.”

Obama simply put didn’t make the effort to hammer out deals with Republicans as had Clinton.  He even, according to Woodward, had problems working with fellow Democrats.

No wonder he was, as Jennifer Rubin reports in her commentary on the Woodward excerpts, the real obstacle to progress:

The retelling of the debt-ceiling negotiations, and of Obama’s decision to up the ante by $400 billion on taxes, reminds us that Obama, in essence, spiked the deal. He simply did not get the job done. From Woodward’s book: “It is a fact that President Obama was handed a miserable, faltering economy and faced a recalcitrant Republican opposition. . . . But presidents work their will — or should work their will — on important matters of national business. . . . Obama has not.” Or, as Republicans say, he has not lead. (more…)

Is Barack Obama a Democratic Richard Nixon?

So speculates David Gelernter in the National Review, writing:

No president has seemed this dead to moral imperatives since Nixon at the height of Watergate.  . . . .

Those death-dealing leaks regarding U.S. military and intelligence operations made Obama furious — furious at accusations that top-level White House sources were responsible. “The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national-security information is offensive,” he said in June. He seemed much less bothered by the leaks themselves. What could be more characteristic of the man than his comment that this toxic high-level leakage “makes my job tougher”? He could easily have said “I am boiling mad at these disgraceful acts, and have directed the attorney general to spare no effort to find the culprits and bring them to justice.” He could have, but didn’t. Instead he used a routine cliché: “zero tolerance” for leaks in the Obama White House. What do we conclude about this man and his moral equipment?

Emphasis added.  The president was more offended that his White House was accused of leaking that about the nature of the leaks?  Read the whole thing.

Obama’s “charisma has worn”; his “failures are now his own”

In a nice reflection on Ryan’s speech, Roger Kimball considers the candidate’s critique of the incumbent president and concludes:

Last time around, Barack Obama campaigned on his own charisma and his opponents’ failures. He’s trying it again but the charisma has worn and the failures are now his own. Obama assumed office nearly four years, Paul Ryan observed. Isn’t it time he assumed responsibility?

Read the whole thing. (Via Instapundit.)

Two reasons why Obama not acting like a winning candidate:
negative ad barrage did not (as expected) knock Romney out
& suburban voters only “lightly attached” to his campaign

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:36 pm - August 27, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Obama Hopenchange

Welcome Powerline readers!

For the better part of the year, even as President Obama enjoyed a modest lead in most polls, I wondered why his campaign was acting so desperate, perhaps because his approval remained below 50% or perhaps because rarely topped that number in head-to-head match-ups against Mitt Romney.

I’m not alone in noticing this.  On Friday, commenting on the biased media coverage of this campaign, RedState’s Erick Erickson titled his post, Not the Behavior of a Winning Campaign. (Via Ed Driscoll.)

Finding the tone of the “fundraising emails” he has “received from Barack Obama or his surrogates” increasingly desperate, John Hinderaker wonders “how bad must Obama’s internal polling be, to cause him to whine and beg in such pathetic fashion”.

I’ve wondered the same thing, but now I have another thought  — perhaps the Democrat’s internals track closely with the national polls and show that the $120 million he spent over the summer “in hopes of”, as John put it quoting an Obama advisor, “killing Romney,” hasn’t been as effective as they hoped.  The ads may have pushed Romney’s numbers down, but haven’t made him an unacceptable alternative to a failed incumbent.

Indeed, the polls are tighter now than when Obama began his anti-Romney advertising barrage.  And perhaps that’s what’s making the Obama team sound so desperate. Their strategy isn’t working.  They had hoped to have knocked Mitt Romney out by now, perhaps in the hopes of running a more upbeat fall campaign. (more…)

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. (more…)

Who are you calling “unpatriotic”, Mr. President?

(Not to mention “irresponsible”.)

In his post on the looming $16 Trillion Debt, up from “$10.6 trillion on Inauguration Day” 2009, Jim Geraghty shares this video from the 2008 campaign:

On March 19 of this year, CBSNews reported:

The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama’s three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency.

The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.

Wonder if any reporters have asked Mr. Obama about that in recent days.

Democrats use Todd Akin to scrape the bottom of the barrel

Instead of covering the dire economic situation our nation is facing, ” the media,” Jennifer Rubin writes, “following like lemmings behind the Obama parade, are still fixated on Todd Akin.”  It’s not just that they’re fixated on Todd Akin, it’s that they’re eager to tie the Republican Party to the Missourian, conveniently forgetting that nearly every prominent Republican has criticized his crazy comments on rape, the candidates himself contending he misspoke and having apologized.

Mrs. Boxer accused her partisan opponents of a “sickness” and not liking their mothers.  And no one is calling the three-term Senator to apologize nor attempting to tie her fellow partisans to her.*

Our media, however, are obsessed with Akin, with “the three news networks – ABC, CBS, and NBC – [giving] Akin’s gaffe four times the coverage they gave to Vice President Joe Biden’s overtly racist comments last week in Virginia.” Let’s see . . .  one is the elected Vice President of the United States and the other is a candidate for elective office from a state with just 2% of the nation’s population.  And the candidate’s gaffe gets more coverage.

How many episodes of his show did Piers Morgan devote to Biden’s gaffe?

It’s not just the networks.  The Associated Press reports:

Meet the newest campaign issue for House Democrats: Todd Akin.

From Colorado to New Hampshire to Illinois, Democrats already are using the incendiary comments about rape made by the Missouri congressman and Republican Senate candidate as a political bludgeon.

(Via HotAir headlines.)  They’ve even attacked Republicans who have asked for Akin to exit the race.

In many ways, the Akin affair says more about the Democrats than it does the Republicans.**  It shows their desperation in this campaign and their determination to use whatever issue at their disposal to demonize Republicans. (more…)

Talking about Romney’s Taxes Sure Beats Talking about the Economy

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:18 am - August 21, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Obama Hopenchange

When I caught footage of the president making an issue of Mitt Romney’s tax returns yesterday in a White House press conference, I wondered if any of his predecessors had ever, from inside the White House, speculated about the their opponent’s personal financials. Given the question (about his negative campaigning) the president could have just avoided the tax issue and left it to his minions and allies?

Charles Krauthammer contends that Obama is focusing on such picayune matters because if the election is decided “on the issues”, Obama “loses”:

Via Noah Glyn @ The Corner.

The media have had enough of presidential attack politics?!?

Even the media’s had enough“, reports Politico’s Kevin Cirilli:

The race for the White House has grown so toxic that it’s become a top topic among reporters and analysts covering the contest — and some are even calling on President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney to call a truce.

The media have had enough? You mean, the media that have parroted Democratic talking points about Mitt Romney’s dog, asked his neighbors for dirt on him and sough information about his high school years from classmates on the opposite side of the political fence?

Geez, wasn’t Mr. Obama supposed to elevate the tone of American politics?  And which candidate was it whose team first raised issues unrelated to his opponent’s ability to lead the country?  “You have“, writes Commentary’s Alana Goodman

a Democratic campaign that’s painting its opponent as a felon, a tax-dodger, a dog-abuser, and a killer who will bring back slavery. On the other side, you have a Republican campaign that’s responding to these attacks as “hateful” and “inappropriate.” The media spinBoth sides need to tone down the “toxic rhetoric”

She reminds us that (more…)

An Obama victory in 2012 would undermine Obama’s 2008 rationale for his election

In 2008,” wrote the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein soon after “Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., introduced himself to a national audience as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate“,

. . . the central component of Obama’s meteoric rise was that politics had become too cynical and small, and that it was important to have a more substantive debate on the pressing issues facing the nation.

Obama was going to be a new kind of politician who did not engage in the petty politics of the past, a leader who showed respect for opposing viewpoints, who treated his ideological adversaries with dignity.

In contrast to his rhetoric in 2008, Obama today is running for reelection by waging perhaps the “lowest, meanest most negative campaign in history“.  George Will delineates the striking contrast between the Democrats’ negative campaign today with Barack Obama’s lofty rhetoric of 2008:

He on whose behalf the Soptic ad[*] was made used to dispense bromides deploring “the smallness of our politics” and “our preference for scoring cheap political points.”

Obama is trying to win by going to gutter, by leveling shameful, dishonest attacks on his Republican rival.  And yet the crux of his 2008 appeal was that he would be a new kind of politician, elevating our political discourse.  If the Democrats wins this year, he wins by playing that old kind of attack politics.

So much for hope and change.

* (more…)

Obama interest in Romney’s taxes is all about digging up dirt

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:48 am - July 25, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Obama Hopenchange

Yesterday, I linked Victor Davis Hanson’s piece about “selective transparency” where that historian reminded us that “neither Jimmy Carter nor Ronald Reagan released more than one year’s [tax] returns. The reformist John McCain released just two“:

True, the 2004 Democratic candidate, John Kerry, offered some 20 years of returns; but that gesture meant almost nothing because his billionaire wife, Teresa, supplied the vast majority of the funds that fueled Kerry’s opulent recreational lifestyle — and she kept largely quiet about where her money was banked and invested.

So, when your Democratic and independent friends parrot the Obama campaign talking point, ask them whether they were calling for Mrs. Kerry to come clean about her taxes — and if they speculated what her husband might have been hiding in his wife’s returns.

And also ask them if they were aware of how long the Obama team had been clamoring for Mitt Romney to release his, not so much because they wanted the presumptive Republican nominee to be open about his finances, but because they wanted to find little details they could use against their partisan rival.  “Soon after Obama For America opened its campaign headquarters at One Prudential Plaza in Chicago in the spring of 2011,” reports BuzzFeed’s Michael Hastings: (more…)

What has Obama done to change the tone in Washington?

On August 28, 2008,” The Washington Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti reminds us, when Barack Obama

. . . officially accepted his party’s nomination and launched [that] fall[‘s] campaign, he said his presidency would break from the “politics of the past,” diminish the “cynicism we all have about government,” and change “the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and each other’s patriotism.” Politicians who “use stale tactics to scare voters,” who say an opponent is “someone people should run from,” and who “make a big election about small things” had held the American people hostage for far too long. Obama would be different.

Well, he doesn’t seem to have succeeded.  Yesterday on CBS “Sunday Morning,” the Democrat acknowledged that “Washington ‘feels as broken as it did four years ago,‘”:

He says he’s most frustrated by the inability “to change the atmosphere” in the nation’s capital “to reflect the decency and common sense of ordinary people” who want their leaders to solve problems. . . .

Reflecting on more than 3 ½ years in office, Obama said, “I think there’s no doubt that I underestimated the degree to which in this town politics trump problem solving.”

So, we elected a man who had served in the United States Senate and remained clueless as to the way the city worked?

With a bit of snark, Howard Portnoy reminds us that the president acknowledged his own naivete instead of responding to the question whether he “he was on the list of those deserving some of the shared blame“:

So, when Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) raised an objection in January of 2009 to the idea of a tax credit for people who don’t pay income taxes, the president’s haughty response—”I won. So I think on that one, I trump you”—did not in his view fan the flames of resentment or hostility.

Do wonder if anyone can detail what precisely Obama has done to to fulfill his campaign promises to change the tone in our nation’s capital?

Does this mean the Obama campaign is lying?

Just caught his via Yahoo!:

Undeterred by independent fact-checkers that have debunked the thrust of their claims, the Obama campaign is redoubling attacks on Mitt Romney as an “outsourcer” in a new TV ad airing in eight battleground states.

The 30-second spot — titled “The Problem” — claims Romney condoned the Chinese “taking our jobs and taking a lot of our future.”

“He made a fortune letting it happen,” the narrator says, focusing on Bain Capital outsourcing to China, a country Romney has vowed to challenge as president.

It’s the latest in a steady drumbeat of negative attacks on Romney’s record as a corporate buyout specialist, alleging he profited off of deliberately bankrupting companies and sending jobs overseas.

What ever happened to hope and change?

Do hope the Romney campaign — or the presumptive Republican nominee’s SuperPAC defenders — fire back with ads wondering why the incumbent is running a relentlessly negative campaign, actively misrepresenting the Republican’s record.

Seems the only way Obama can win is by repeating repudiated attacks on his Republican rival.