If any video can show the corruption of President Obama, it is this one. This has nothing to do with the message and the spirit of Obama’s campaign four years ago – which, in hindsight, was one of the most cynical and deceitful political operations in history.
Yes, I know Obama during a debate with McCain once said that he would deploy missiles in Pakistan, and that’s what he has done. But this video below doesn’t have anything to do with what was a central plank of the Obama ’08 campaign and his main argument against Bush: a restoration of civil liberties and respect for international law.
Instead, this is primitive, tribal boasting at its worst, ugly American kind. “Hey, look at me! I ordered a man sitting in a house to be pumped full with bullets, and his body dumped in the ocean! I’m president!” And then implying that Mitt Romney wouldn’t have the “courage” to do so. Well, good for you. I hope you’re very proud of your “achievement” – because killing an already desolate man in a bunker in a desert somewhere is really the only thing that you have accomplished in the past four years.
Seriously everything about this Obama video is disgusting. But yeah, let’s hear it for those liberals mesmerizing about how “cool” Obama is.
Last Thursday the Obama campaign showed its first feat of arms. The tone is harsh, gloomy and realistic, which is a pretty bold move, because I’m pretty sure that one of the primers of advertising is that it should always convey a positive message. It shows all the hardships the country went through in the last 4 years: the economic crisis, an imploding housing market, two nasty wars, etc. And it ends on a sort of positive note, with the capture of Osama Bin Laden, the retreat from Iraq and a slowly recovering economy. It’s narrated by Hollywood A-lister Tom Hanks and features usual suspects like Rahm Emanuel, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton. Would there be a particular reason not to include Hillary Clinton by the way? Also, “Obamacare” is not mentioned (EDIT: Healthcare reform is actually mentioned quite a bit, from 7:15 to ,9:50. My bad).
The underlying message is: it takes eight years of Obama to repair eight years of Bush, so give me another term. I think this ad, or rather mini-documentary, is meant to assure his base that Obama is still the Obama of 2008, but that he is now wisened and hardened. And most of all, he has rescued America from imminent doom by averting financial breakdown, creating new jobs, bringing home soldiers and investing in the car industry. I am wondering if the tone is not a bit too gloomy, because at certain moments the film is almost like an obituary. But all in all it’s a pretty impressive mini-documentary IMHO, which gives a fair portrayal of his accomplishments (obviously, there are also enough negative points would have been mentioned in a real documentary), without any nasty smears to Republicans. It sets the tone for his reelection campaign, which I guess has changed from “Yes we can” to “We will overcome” or “Through struggle we are humbled”, or something like that. If voters are going to buy this (which in the end I think enough of them will) then Andrew Sullivan will be right with his “Obama’s long game” analysis.
Now this is a thorough piece of journalism by William Saletan on Slate. It is a very detailed account of Romney’s standpoint on abortion throughout his political career. Abortion is the ultimate issue in the so-called “culture wars”, which, although some claim we live in a post-”culture war” era, still play a big role in American politics (for example shown in Andrew Sullivan’s coverpiece in last week’s Newsweek). Rick Santorum’s clear position on this issue has already won him a couple of Southern primaries and Romney’s ambivalent position can possibly do him (or is already doing) a lot of harm among social conservatives.
The main point of the article is summarized here:
When you see the story in its full context, three things become clear. First, this was no flip-flop. Romney is a man with many facets, groping his way through a series of fluid positions on an array of difficult issues. His journey isn’t complete. It never will be. Second, for Romney, abortion was never really a policy question. He didn’t want to change the law. What he wanted to change was his identity. And third, the malleability at Romney’s core is as much about his past as about his future. Again and again, he has struggled to make sense not just of what he should do, but of who he has been. The problem with Romney isn’t that he keeps changing his mind. The problem is that he keeps changing his story.
But I strongly recommend to read it in its entirety. It is not only gives a clear history of Romney’s position on abortion, but also shines light on his character. As the author puts it:
Romney believes in telling the truth and keeping his promises. But sometimes he wishes the truth or his promise had happened in a different way. He wishes he could change it. And in his mind, he does change it. He reinterprets his statements, positions, and pledges. He edits his motives and reasons. He compresses intervals. He inflates moments. He tightens the narrative. He rewrites his lines. Yet he always finds a thread of truth on which to hang his revised history. He’s a master of the technicality.
He’s also a gifted salesman. He learns your language and puts you at ease. He gives you the version of his record, position, or motive that will please you most. When he comes down on your side, it’s intentional. When he doesn’t, it’s inadvertent. He focuses not on communicating his beliefs but on formulating, framing, or withholding them for political effect. He tells moving stories of personal experience to show you his sincerity. Then, if necessary, he erases those stories from his playbook and his memory.
It took him almost three years, but president Obama seems to have found his ballsgroove back. Now let’s wait and see if Republicans will pass most of the bill (probably not) and if it will create enough jobs and kickstart the American economy (again, probably not) in order for him to get another term (probably notyes we can).
Marc Ambinder over at The Atlantic has put together a ‘reelection report card’ for Obama. It seems to be a very realistic and empirical info-based assessment of Obama’s prospects, strenghts and weaknesses going into the 2012 presidential election campaign.
I don’t know, however, to which extent this assessment should be seen as complete – taking in all possible sides and angles. I like it for its conciseness, though, so here is an excerpt.
Political Identity: C. Who is this guy, and where does he want to take the country? Obama’s hope-and-change platform in 2008 allowed people to fill in whatever details they wanted. This strategy served a little-known candidate, but it’s untenable for an incumbent. Americans know that Obama has a vision–70 percent do, according to an April 9-10 CNN/Opinion Research poll of 824 adults.
Separate from the birther constellation is a cluster of beliefs with fairly high magnitude. Obama’s style is conciliatory and concessional. Even liberals don’t seem to know precisely where Obama wants to lead them. It’s not a question of goals; it’s a question of guts. Where will he fight? Perhaps his new deficit-cutting plan will show the way. This grade, incidentally, is given without reference to his potential opponents. Throw a Republican with an identity crisis into this mix and Obama’s grade rises.
Campaign Team: A. Obama’s reelection team is experienced, trusted, and not riven by the usual infighting that besets campaigns. It’s true that they’re cocky, but after any number of near-death experiences with health care and other issues, their hubris is a bit more muted. It must here be noted that several potential GOP opponents — notably Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney — are putting together A-list campaign teams too.
Leadership: C. Americans are not sure about Obama’s leadership skills.
One version of the case posits that Obama has spent way too much time blaming predecessors even as he continued Bush policies, from TARP to Guantanamo Bay. His leadership skills tie into his political identity. He seems rudderless at times. His advisers will say that Obama wants to fix problems and is a pragmatist, and that external events have made it all but impossible to chart a straight course and follow it. That may be true, but the challenge is to convince the American people that this style of governing is the right one.
Attributes and Values: A. Americans like Obama; they trust that he wants the best for them–even if they don’t quite know what that is; they see him as honest, on their side, and likable (see Gallup). This will be a significant asset. It helped carry President Bush to reelection in 2004.
Organization: A. Regardless of whether there’s a drop-off in volunteer intensity early on, there’s no question that Obama’s reelection operation will be formidable and well-funded enough to compete with whatever Republicans are able to construct. This includes outside groups who will try to chip away at Obama in battleground states. Democrats will have well-financed vehicles of their own.
Position Relative to His Opposition: B. The Republican field is unleavened at best. The all-but-declared Republican candidates (Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty) all have significant, if resolvable, flaws. Some of those thought to be considering the race — from Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to Donald Trump — threaten to pull the GOP off its rails. Dark-horse challenges could make the field rougher, especially Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana.
Foreign issues: B. He continues the Bush war in Afghanistan and drew down the one in Iraq while joining one against Libya. There’s no crowning achievement like a Middle East peace deal. Guantanamo Bay remains open. Independents liked Obama because he promised to repair America’s relationship with the world and raise its standing. He has done that. He will remind independents of this. It will probably work. Obama’s proposed defense cuts are going to be troubling to voters in the industrial Midwest and the Intermountain West.
Among Democrats, Obama’s job approval is about 5 percentage points away from where he needs to be. Three-fourths of self-identified liberals approve of Obama’s performance to date. He needs these numbers to be higher. Liberal white Democrats and African-Americans are solid Obama supporters. But Obama’s approval rating has dropped significantly among Latino voters (73 percent when he was elected; 54 percent now, according to Gallup), and slightly among younger voters (ages 18 to 29) who were hardest hit by the economic sluggishness. While 55 percent among this group is stronger than it was half a year ago, according to a huge Institute of Politics poll released last week, it needs to be higher. Still, in the absence of a Republican foil, these are generally sufficient numbers for the president. At this point in 1995, more than 4 in 10 Democrats wanted a primary challenger for Bill Clinton; fewer than 2 in 10 do for Obama.
If you wanna know more about Donald Trump’s election prospects, read here.
Skepticism about man-made climate change — once seen as a fairly fringe belief, now a pretty big topic of political debate — is increasingly the norm among Republican voters. A December 2009 Ipsos/McClatchy poll found only 57 percent of GOP voters saying climate change was happening at all, and a 42 percent minority chalking it up to human activity.
In “No Apology,” Mitt Romney sets himself up in the shrinking “climate change is happening but we don’t need a carbon tax” camp.
I believe that climate change is occurring — the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor.
The Guardian on Dick Cheney’s appearance at the CPAC:
To wild applause Dick teased the crowd with a little presidential come-on, saying: “A welcome like that is almost enough to make me want to run for office again.” Cue standing ovation. “But I’m not gonna do it.”
For shame Dick Cheney, your country needs you. On CNN, Wolf Blitzer declared he thought Cheney might run in 2012, assuming the Republicans do well in the 2010 midterm elections in November. And who knows? he might be the only man to stop the Sarah Palin bandwagon from driving the Republican party over off the cliff.