Obama Gives Up

 

Like Mollie, I’m left a little gobsmacked by the latest communications gambit from Team Obama. Based on the early scuttlebutt surrounding the president’s speech there later today, my first thought was that somebody should dispatch mental health officials to Cleveland — because the Obama campaign is on suicide watch. Here’s how Reuters frames it:

In an economic speech on Thursday that could set the tone for months of campaigning, Obama is not likely to unveil new ideas to boost the economy and create new jobs, according to Democrats familiar with the preparations for the address.

Instead, he will make the case that he needs four more years to undo the damage left by George W. Bush, his Republican predecessor in the White House …

You know that point in a declining relationship where you can no longer work up the energy to decide what to do for the evening, so you just stay at home, watch television, and hope to avoid eye contact with your significant other? That’s where Team Obama is right now.

This is year eight ennui from an administration that’s five months away from a reelection vote. Right now, the Obama team is Tom Hanks on the raft in “Castaway” and the second term is Wilson, gently rolling away on the waves — except, rather than screaming at the top of their lungs, they’ve decided that this is a good time for a nap.

What’s the strategy here? Is this a reset speech? We’ve already had, by my count, 87 of those (to be fair, they didn’t specify which summer was going to be “Recovery Summer”). With this new speech, Obama is now officially resetting expectations more often than Harold Camping.

Do they really think their major problem is that the public’s insufficiently aware that the administration blames George W. Bush for its economic problems? If so, take it from this former White House speechwriter, Obama communications staff: there has never been a president whose problems stemmed from difficulty getting his message out. For God’s sake, George H.W. Bush made one offhanded remark at a press conference 20 years ago and hasn’t received a Christmas card from the broccoli lobby since. People listen when the president talks — except when he’s repeating himself ad nauseam to no great effect. There’s a difference between people not listening to you and people not liking what you’re saying.

And where is it written in stone that, as Obama is fond of saying, it will take a long time to get out of this mess because it took so long to get into it? Funny, that didn’t seem to be the case for Ronald Reagan or Warren Harding when they were faced with similar circumstances. But then, neither of them were Harvard Law Review, so I think we can safely assume that was dumb luck.

It’s not exactly shocking that Obama is ceasing to make a serious argument. Constrained by his ideology, he’s only ever had one bullet in the chamber on economic policy and it has now become painfully obvious that it didn’t work. What is shocking is that his campaign is going out of its way to remind people that they don’t have an argument.

Occam’s Razor would seem to dictate that this is rank incompetence from Team Obama. I guess that’s encouraging … because the other plausible alternative would be that Obama just doesn’t care anymore.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @ChrisHurtubise

    With the words ‘gobsmacked’ and ‘scuttlebutt’ in the opening paragraph it was clear that Troy is enjoying life this morning. I love the Castaway metaphor – hilarious!

    • #1
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    @River

    Great metaphor, indeed. But speaking of delusion, the French, Germans, and other EU sufferers of the Left’s ‘progressive’ delusion still solidly support Obama.

    The whole socialist/collectivist world is going to have to wake up from the mass hysteria that has seized it for so many years. In their own parlance, “the system is not sustainable”.

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    @MelFoil

    I was listening to Rush Limbaugh today. His latest name, for the head of the “Regime,” is Barack Hussein Kardashian Oblama.

    • #3
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    @KCMulville

    Obama gave up governing after the 2010 elections. I’m not overly surprised if he only gives a half-hearted (and thus far it’s been half-brained) effort to keep the job.

    What’s frustrating is that he doesn’t have to show the least bit of enthusiasm. Years from now, we’ll all make a point in an argument by saying, “Even Obama got 200 electoral votes!”

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    @

    According to Gallup, 47%  of independents still give Obama little or no blame for the economy. He has a great shot, still.

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    @Mendel
    Troy Senik, Ed.:

    What’s the strategy here? Is this a reset speech? We’ve already had, by my count, 87 of those (to be fair, they didn’t specify which summer was going to be “Recovery Summer”). With this new speech, Obama is now officially resetting expectations more often than Harold Camping.

    In defense of Obama’s speechwriting and campaign teams, there’s only so much they can do with the material they’ve been given.  When most of the facts on the ground work against your boss, the positive case for him slowly dwindles down to “the alternative might have been worse.”

    Being a speechwriter for Obama is like being a public defendent for a thief caught on videotape: you argue the best you can, but in the end you can only hope for a lenient judge.

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    @Fredosphere
    KC Mulville: Obama gave up governing after the 2010 elections. I’m not overly surprised if he only gives a half-hearted (and thus far it’s been half-brained) effort to keep the job.

    Half-hearted, half-brained . . . and monobuttockular.

    • #7
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    @TheMugwump
    wmartin: According to Gallup, 47%  of independents still give Obama little or no blame for the economy. He has a great shot, still. · 1 minute ago

    I’m not so sure.  Rasmussen shows Romney ahead in NC, WI, and MO.  The race is rated even in IA, OH, VA, FL, and CO.  Obama may soon reach an inflection point beyond which recovery is impossible.  That’s my hope anyway.    

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    @Casey

    In 2008 Michael Phelps goes to Beijing and swims his way to 8 gold medals.  This year he seems to be mostly disinterested.  He seems to carry himself with a “well I guess I’m the best swimmer so I should really go to London but hey I’ve already achieved my dream so whatever…” attitude.

    I’m beginning to get the same vibe from Obama that I’m getting from Michael Phelps. 

    • #9
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    @

    When the sour grapes are squeezed, I expect to hear that Obama was  too good for us. A better country would have appreciated his marvelousness

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    @LadyBertrum
    wmartin: According to Gallup, 47%  of independents still give Obama little or no blame for the economy. He has a great shot, still. · 7 minutes ago

     Hmmm. Ever since the bad job numbers the liberal pundits have been in panic mode. We hear more and more comments about how he needs to do something. This nervousness or loss of faith trickles down into nightly news coverage and print. I’m betting it won’t be long before this is reflected in lower favorability numbers for The One. So, he’s still polling reasonable well among independents for now. Watch for the slide. It’s coming.

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    @

    Troy: Thank you for *articulating* my frustration!

    • #12
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    @SquishyBlueRINO

    Harold F. Camping!

    Yowza, that stang.

    Nicely done Troy, nicely done.

    But an Obama-ite Great Disappointment? Only time will tell.

    • #13
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    @Yeahok

    Obama will take credit for the economic boost of Obamacare being totally thrown out as unconstitutional.

    • #14
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    @SouthernPessimist

    Peggy Noonan got it right last week when she said that Obama could be President right now, if he wanted to.

    • #15
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    @ConservativeWanderer

    Why not try it again? It worked in 2008, and no one in Team Obama is smart enough to realize that they’ve reached broken-record territory.

    • #16
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    @TheNewClearOption

    The ‘Castaway‘ analogy is good, but I think this Tom Hanks clip is more apt.

    • #17
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    @LeslieWatkins

    The Obama team ignores Carville and Greenberg to their great peril. But, then, perceptiveness was never their strong suit.

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    @ConservativeWanderer
    Leslie Watkins: The Obama team ignores Carville and Greenberg to their great peril.

    They ignore C&G because their study doesn’t fit into The Narrative of Obama as the Great Leftist Hope Who Will Fundamentally Transform America Into A Socialist State.

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    @AdamFreedman

    Bravo, Troy.   Of course, the mainstream media keeps trying to spin, but their efforts tend to support your argument.  I just saw that the New Yorker has  puff piece about what an Obama second term would look like.   The author, Ryan Lizza, assures us that “Obama has an ambitious second-term agenda, which, at least in broad ways, his campaign is beginning to highlight.”   As proof of this “ambitious” agenda Lizza cites exactly two policy items: (1) climate change — that’s the “most important” Obama priority for the second term, and (2) containing nuclear proliferation. 

     That’s the most compelling evidence that the New Yorker can produce for Obama’s “ambitious agenda?”

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    @TheMugwump
    wmartin

    ~Paules

    wmartin: According to Gallup, 47%  of independents still give Obama little or no blame for the economy. He has a great shot, still. · 1 minute ago

    I’m not so sure.  Rasmussen shows Romney ahead in NC, WI, and MO.  The race is rated even in IA, OH, VA, FL, and CO.  Obama may soon reach an inflection point beyond which recovery is impossible.  That’s my hope anyway.     · 2 hours ago

    I hope so. But I have been talking about “inflection points” and “preference cascades” for two years now, and still Obama keeps chugging along  . . . .  We never seem to actually hit the inflection point, and the preference cascade never actually begins.

    Obama’s ship is listing and still taking on water.  He hasn’t been able to stop the leaking much less right the ship.  The thing about inflection points is that they don’t become apparent until suddenly they do.  Then it’s over . . . glub, glub, glub.    

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    @DrewInWisconsin
    wmartin

    We never seem to actually hit the inflection point, and the preference cascade never actually begins.

    I feel like there are signs everywhere that the preference cascade is under way. Recent polls from the Rust Belt, abandonment of Obama by the AFL-CIO, falling numbers among Black Americans, . . . and the fact that I haven’t seen a single Obama sign in Our Fair City, five and a half months before the election . . . yeah, I think he’s gonna lose big.

    And even though I’m no fan of Romney, I have to admit he has had an amazing response team.

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    @FrozenChosen

    “Constrained by his ideology, he’s only ever had one bullet in the chamber on economic policy”

    Ya gotta love a guy who puts principal above politics!

     

     

    • #23
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    @cdor

    You folks on the  boastful confidence side of this discussion seem way too puffy for my liking. We have a week candidate. The kind who in re-butting one of Obama’s many diatribes against the free market and our private sector, starts out by saying Obama only cares about his union buddies (paraphrasing here) like the policemen and the firefighters. I am sorry, but if there are union people who won’t vote for Obama, they are the policemen and firefighters.  Why start your retort by attacking your only friends on the enemy’s side?

    Secondly, we are also doing battle with the Republican Party itself. Karl Rove is  tilting at windmills and Jeb Bush thinks Reagan wouldn’t be mean enough to gain our support. I am sorry to say this. Obama knows exactly how to speak to dummies. He has been doing it for years. Unfortunately we have a growing amount of dummies and rent seekers and they will all vote for the guy who blames their and his problems on everyone and everything else. So while I certainly pray for the end of this administration, I am, unfortunately closer to wmartin than Paules in my caution.

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    @TroySenik

    Just to be clear, this in no way indicates that I think Romney is a lock for the fall. It’s still June, which means even I have a decent shot in the Electoral College. I’m simply amazed that Obama, who is surely at one of the lowest ebbs of his presidency, is bringing absolutely nothing to the table at the moment.

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    @Casey
    Troy Senik, Ed.: Just to be clear, this in no way indicates that I think Romney is a lock for the fall. It’s still June, which means even I have a decent shot in the Electoral College. I’m simply amazed that Obama, who is surely at one of the lowest ebbs of his presidency, is bringing absolutely nothing to the table at the moment. · 2 minutes ago

    I hear ya… and I think Michael Phelps will wake up when he smells the chlorine.

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    @Mendel
    Troy Senik, Ed.:  I’m simply amazed that Obama, who is surely at one of the lowest ebbs of his presidency, is bringing absolutely nothing to the table at the moment.

    So, what would the veteran speechwriter suggest he bring to the table?  What in his economic record can he exploit without looking like the emperor with no clothes?

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    @Mendel
    Patrickb63

    Mendel

     

     I’m a former attorney  who in private practice had this exact case.  And I had a very L&O judge, who was a former prosecutor.  We went to trial, because of, not despite, the judge.  My client had broken into his pot dealers house, and stole MJ to sell, to pay his wife’s medical bills for cancer treatment.  “Victim’s” house was wired inside and out w/ cameras.  The Commonwealth had video of my client entering the abode from outside,  his entry into the house, raiding the dealer’s freezer for bricks of MJ, and tape of him leaving. The dealer went to the Police because my clent also took a gun and cash. 

    A drug dealer really went to the police to complain that someone stole his stash?  That takes about as much chutzpah as running for president with less than one term in the Senate under your belt.

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    @DrewInWisconsin
    Mendel

    Troy Senik, Ed.:  I’m simply amazed that Obama, who is surely at one of the lowest ebbs of his presidency, is bringing absolutely nothing to the table at the moment.

    So, what would the veteran speechwriter suggest he bring to the table?  What in his economic record can he exploit without looking like the emperor with no clothes? · 17 minutes ago

    DON’T ANSWER! They might be monitoring us, and why would we want to give them advice?

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    @ConservativeWanderer
    Troy Senik, Ed.: Just to be clear, this in no way indicates that I think Romney is a lock for the fall. It’s still June, which means even I have a decent shot in the Electoral College. I’m simply amazed that Obama, who is surely at one of the lowest ebbs of his presidency, is bringing absolutely nothing to the table at the moment. · 32 minutes ago

    What can he bring?

    Even if he was ideologically capable of moving to more conservative policies — he’s most certainly not, by the way — he wouldn’t because his ego won’t let him admit he was wrong in the first place.

    He probably has deluded himself that he actually is right and that things will turn around in time for the election. More the fool he.

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