The verdict of the American people on Obama’s new Republican-bashing strategy is in, and it’s not pretty for the cynical White House strategists who put it together.
Obama this summer placed Hope and Change into a time capsule, to be unearthed for use during his 2012 reelection campaign or, more likely, by historians years hence looking to perform an autopsy. With the Chicago pol that had been cloaked under the Man of Inspiration now free to stick in the knife, Obama has been regularly describing Republicans as not just wrong – that would be far too gentle – but as a gang of unprincipled thugs enlisted by Corporate America to pulverize the middle class.
In a striking moment of clarity, Obama Aug. 9 actually announced the decision he had made to shed his higher self, at least until Election Day. Here’s what he said at a DNC fundraiser in Austin, Texas.
We have spent the last 20 months governing. They spent the last 20 months politicking. Now we’ve got three months to go, and so we’ve decided, well, we can politick for three months.
But the sight of an unpopular president bludgeoning Republicans with false rhetoric is either fueling a GOP rise in the polls and at least not hindering it. According to an averaging of national polls by Pollster.com, Republicans are starting to pull away from Democrats, leading on the generic ballot by more than five points.
The chart shows a steady progression toward Republicans that if anything has accelerated since Mean Obama revealed himself. And for the president, the new persona he has adopted, and the clear suggestion that the old one was just that – a persona – appears to be worsening his own standing. The trend lines don’t look good.
And the revulsion is not limited to Republicans.
According to Pollster.com’s averaging, Democrats have been steadily souring on the president, to the point that now almost one in five disapprove of his performance. Nearly 90 percent of Republicans disapprove, which seems unsurprising until you realize that only about 40 percent gave him the thumbs down when he took office. Seems even Republicans bought the Hopey Changey stuff and were willing to give him a shot.
Ominously for the Dems, Obama’s numbers are almost exactly where Bill Clinton’s were at this point in 1994, just before the Republicans swept the Congressional Democrats out of power in an election that was widely seen as a repudiation of the president.
The White House decision to send Obama in for remodeling was a bad one. The presupposition operating here, perhaps subconsciously among his advisers, is that dumb Americans won’t notice.
Well, Americans are not dumb. They know hypocrisy and phoniness when they see it. A man of high principle does not suddenly become a snarling partisan. The political hacks in the White House would have done better to stick to their original script.