If there was any lingering doubt as to why President Barack Obama likes to remain outside the web of Washington’s political thinkers, take note of the mounting criticism about the direction of his campaign and doomsday scenarios about the next election appearing.
In an article entitled “Second-guessing Obama,” Politico takes a look at the growing concern among many Democratic strategists that Obama runs the risk of losing in the upcoming election. However, as reporters Alexander Burns and John F. Harris note, the criticism isn’t especially consistent and largely teeters around the sentiment, “Mr. President, you should stop listening to your dumb advisers and listen to someone smart like me.”
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That said, many of the president’s skeptics take issue with Obama effectively saying that while the economy isn’t as strong as we’d all like it to be, there has indeed been some improvement. Like, the comment he made that “the private sector is doing fine” in response to a question about the financial problems plaguing much of Europe. The comment itself was blown out of proportion, but apparently the man often assailed for seeming too stoic when it comes to his emotions isn’t doing a good enough job of showing that he feels the pain of Americans.
Democratic strategists Stan Greenberg, James Carville, and Erica Seifert sent a memo declaring that this strategy of saying “things are moving in the right direction … will fail.” Moreover, “These voters are not convinced that we are headed in the right direction. … They actually have a very realistic view of the long road back and the struggles of the middle class — and the current narrative about progress just misses the opportunity to connect and point forward.”
And on ABC, Carville said flatly: “I’m worried that when the White House or the campaign talks about the progress that’s being made, people take that as a signal that they think that things are fine and people don’t feel they ought to believe that.”
Not that President Obama is or should be immune to criticism, but much of this reads like Clinton-era pols trying to exert their influence on a person who’s already proven that he doesn’t necessarily need it to get ahead. Frankly, if you’re going to talk about things the American public knows, try going by recent research that lends credence to your assertions. Say, a Gallup poll that revealed that 68 percent of those polled believe that former President George W. Bush deserves a “moderate amount” or a “great deal” of the blame for the U.S. economic woes compared to the 52 percent who pointed to Obama.
Has President Obama made a few mistakes? Arguably so, but why publicly bemoan the fate of his presidency so early in the race? When has this ever proven to be fruitful?
The Washington Post recently ran a piece this week about the state of Obama’s campaign with the lede, “Is it time for Democrats to panic?”
Not in the month of June.
In June 1992, Ross Perot led the presidential pols with 39 percent to then-President George H. W. Bush’s 31 percent with Bill Clinton trailing behind at 25 percent. Likewise, in June 1980, President Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan 39 percent to 32 percent, and in June 2000, John Kerry led President George W. Bush 49 percent to 43 percent.
I’m all for thoughtful analysis of President Obama’s reelection efforts along the lines of John Heilemann‘s “Hope: The Sequel” for New York magazine or Ryan Lizza‘s “The Second Term” for the New Yorker,” but not this “Obama made a gaffe and didn’t cry on command, he’s doomed” story arcs that are permeating the web this week.
Repeat after me: It is only June, calm down. Obama has plenty of time. And if anyone should know that, it ought to be these folks making all these complaints. Aren’t they the very people who didn’t give Obama much of a shot at becoming president anyway?