Rightside NewsDaniel Greenfield
The time when the Obama brand still seemed like it might have something to offer the American people is long past. There will still be voters who go to the polls and pull the wrong lever, but they won't do it because they seriously believe that another term will make America a better place. Rather they will do it for reasons of identity. Political identity, racial identity and because 'anything is better than voting GOP' is also an identity.
The emotion that Obama stirred in the hearts of millions, that illusory sense of history created by so many hours of media manipulation, the expectation that now things would be better, is gone. And it isn't coming back. No one will ever look up dewy eyed at a giant projected image of the Beloved Leader and see the second coming of JFK. All they will see is the politician they're stuck with.
The feeling isn't unique, it's common enough to second term leaders of both parties. Republicans were tired of Bush and Democrats of Clinton, by their second terms. Bush and Clinton fatigue is one reason why Democrats turned on Hillary in 2008 and why a Jeb Bush run meets with so little enthusiasm. But neither of those men had been built up so dramatically, which made the fall less severe.
Bush and Clinton never needed much glamor, they were Ivy League boys with Yale degrees slumming as rural populists, thickening their accents and pitching their appeals to the back row. And paradoxically even at their worst, they could always hide behind this false ordinariness. "We're only human, just like you," they could say.
Glamor is all that Obama ever had. With the greasepaint off, there's nothing there but a surly kid with greying hair. An obnoxious posturing preening brat parading down the runways of the world with his media entourage in tow.
Some actors can change from one costume to another, but he is the costume. Worse yet, he isn't even the costume. He's the lights, the stirring music, the hours of anchor commentary, the deliberate pauses, the photographic halos, the teleprompter and the building expectation. Take those things away and there isn't even an empty suit. There's nothing at all.
The Democrats have come to feel that hollowness deep inside. That set of unfulfilled expectations that lies like a hole at the heart of their campaign. An emptiness that can only be filled with hate.
As Obama's popularity has slipped, he has become more openly hateful. The vindictiveness that was hidden away has been put up for display in the store window. What Clinton might scribble on a memo or tell an aide-- he delivers in a speech. And the worse his numbers have fallen, the uglier his words have become.
Obama was never graceful, but the spitefulness is no longer camouflaged. The petty insults have become common as his persona has grown charmless. The scowl hides less deeply behind the practiced smile. Often it no longer hides at all. The small bag of tricks which he used to get this far has been exhausted. There's nothing left now but the angry manipulative child underneath.
Having failed as the Messiah of Hope and Change, he is swiftly becoming the Messiah of Hate. With a country in a state of severe economic decline and his own popularity further down the toilet than a burning Koran, there is no other choice left to him. And it's an approach that suits his temperament.
Unlike 2008, he can't expect to coast to victory on Hope and Change. This time it's his opponents who are running on that. The halo is gone, but the hate campaign is his best option. No one around him thinks he can sell himself as a better alternative to a generic Republican candidate. But if he can make the Republican candidate look like a completely unpalatable choice to most voters, then he can still win.
2012 is set to be half his 2008 campaign .The dark half. All the smears and demonization without any of the hope. There are an uncounted number of Democratic voters who pulled the lever for him, even though they had second thoughts. Voters who might have naturally gone for McCain, if the media had not done such an excellent job of making the McCain\Palin ticket look like the worst thing since the plague. The goal in 2012 is to retain those voters by doing the same thing all over again.
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