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Did Obama Flip A Catch-22?

July 15th, 2010 by Kevin

Obama has had a rough week already, and that\’s not even including his golf game.  His Democrat Governors are openly questioning the wisdom of his lawsuit against Arizona.  Normally safe Democrats are now in trouble.  And the worst, for our narcissistic President, now even Democrat-friendly poll agencies are showing Obama deep underwater amongst the public.

Part of Obama\’s problem is he\’s caught in a Catch-22 of his own rhetoric.  The economy, unemployment and overspending are dragging down his poll numbers which limits his ability to be an effective at pushing his agenda.  On the economy and unemployment he can\’t talk up even the smallest bits of good news, lest he appear out of touch to a hurting American public.  And he can\’t cut spending because his lofty promises of being everything to everyone during the campaign require massive amounts of it.  As long as this election is a referendum on his performance, Democrats chances of salvaging even a moral victory from 2010 are almost non-existent.  Which is why White House press secretary Robert Gibb\’s recent statements that Republicans could take the House is political strategy at it\’s best.

MR. GIBBS:  I think there\’s no doubt that there are a lot of seats that will be up, a lot of contested seats.  I think people are going to have a choice to make in the fall.  But I think there\’s no doubt there are enough seats in play that could cause Republicans to gain control.  There\’s no doubt about that. This will depend on strong campaigns by Democrats.

There are two things being done here.  First, and as subtle as a flying brick, this is a challenge to Democrats nationwide….quit sulking and get working.  You can\’t just accept a GOP wave, you\’re going to have to fight and make them earn it.  But more importantly this was a very clever move to reframe this next election.  By pushing the \”Republicans could be in control\” point, Gibbs is no longer making this about Obama.  Now this is a referendum on Republicans vs Democrats.  This is an attempt to exploit the one silver lining that Democrats have in established polling data.

If there are two things that the polling data has repeatedly shown it\’s that Obama\’s as popular as vuvuzela at a wedding ceremony.  But it\’s also shown that Republicans are almost as unpopular.  It\’s not that the public has fallen in love with the GOP, they\’ve called a hex on both houses.  The GOP hasn\’t done anything to deserve a electoral tidal wave, they\’re simply in the right place at the right time.  Obama and the Democrats overpromised and overreached and the GOP is there to benefit from the wreckage, but only because they are the least ugly of the stepsisters.

Making this election about Obama is a guaranteed loser for the Democrats.  But by making this about who the public trusts most, Democrats or Republicans, suddenly it\’s not so bad.  Sure Democrats are just as unpopular as Republicans, but their popularity falls within the margin of error on most polls.  In a political climate like this, campaigning to a draw is a unbelievable coup for the Democrats.  And if they can frame this election as who the public trusts more, that\’s effectively what they\’ll do.

Republicans have long been expected to retake the House and the talking heads have even begun to seriously speculate about the GOP retaking the Senate, which I\’ll touch on again tomorrow.  But if this ploy to reframe the election works, you can forget all that, and Democrats remain in control of both.

[Crossposted at True North]

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Posted in 2010 Elections, The Messiah, True North | 3 Comments »

3 Responses

  1. J. Ewing Says:

    I normally like to be more optimistic than this, and a recent poll asking “who do you want in control of Congress” favors Republicans by a whopping 15 points– 56 to 41 percent. I’m not sure the Obama strategy is going to work, when he is more underwater and less trusted than they are, and has just agreed to redouble his speaking and campaigning on their behalf. That will return the election to the “referendum on Obama” theme quicker than a Democrat Congressman can lie about their Republican opponent.

    But you are also right in your “whatif” though I believe the reverse is even more worrisome. If the GOP candidates think they’ve got it made, they might start to coast to election, and disaster would certainly follow. We need to not only take the House, but install so many Republicans that even the RINOs can’t prevent commonsense legislation.

  2. Janet Says:

    There’s another view on this – supposed the Rs take the House and even possibly the Senate. When the Democrat instituted tax increases start (1/2011) who will the media and WH blame? The Republicans – after all they (Rs) got elected in November.

    This could result in O easily getting re-elected in 2012.

    Unfortunately, the public does not understand that it’s the legislatures (House and Senate – at all levels) that make the law – Democrats have been in charge in Washington for the last 44 months; national debt has tripled if not quadrupled in 18 months since O became president. There is nothing to stop the Ds from railroading tons of new taxes through in 12/2010. Rs will get blamed.

    I do agree with Kevin’s thought that the Rs better have a good message and make sure that if we win, Rs go on the offense vs. defending attacks by the Ds which will be significant.

  3. EckerNet.Com » Blog Archive » Can The GOP Retake The Senate? Says:

    [...] Did Obama Flip A Catch-22? [...]

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