I believe it’s been a week, maybe more, since I even checked this blog. I did not get to the post I wanted to write on JFK, contrasting that smart Democrat’s record with the media coverage of his murder and his legacy. I had a few notes for posts on Obamacare and honesty and one on Obamacare and prediction. Reading something this morning in the Daily Caller reminded me of a piece I had read yesterday in Commentary, articulating an idea which gets at the meaning of Obama’s reelection last year.
Peter Wehner wrote:
In their fascinating behind-the-scenes book on the 2012 election, Double Down, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann write that the campaign’s research showed “that there was a deep well of sympathy for Obama among voters.” In focus groups after the first debate, they write, “people offered excuse after excuse for his horrific presentation. In Florida, one woman said, almost protectively, ‘I just bet you he wasn’t feeling well.’”
That deep well of sympathy–that willingness to give the president the benefit of the doubt and the attachment and connection voters felt for Mr. Obama–has been crucial to his success for his entire political life. He has always been viewed as a likeable and decent man, even when his campaign employed fairly ruthless tactics. But the days of broad public faith and trust in this president appear to be over. And no wonder.
I think this is why the image of Obama responding to Hurricane Sandy was so beneficial to the incumbent. People do want to like him. And in the coverage of the storm and his response, that Democrat looked very much like the man they wanted to like.
It remains to be see whether the disaster of the Obamacare roll-out and the realization (despite his many promises) that many Americans who liked their health care plans couldn’t keep them will erase the goodwill many Americas feel for the incumbent. That said we on the right should not lose sight of the fact that as Halperin and Heilemann put it, many Americans do have a “deep well of sympathy for Obama”.
*And the question now becomes whether we should change the tense on this verb from present to past.