Barack Obama the campaigner is back, pushing the United States to the brink. The brink of what is still to be decided. In his three years as President, Mr. Obama has been one of the most divisive and partisan leaders of modern time.
His rhetoric of unity and compassion as a candidate in 2008 has been abandoned in favor of pointed partisan criticism and a clearer focus on his duties as head of the Democratic party than as the head of a great nation.
Soon-to-be-former President Obama’s game plan for re-election is beginning to take shape. Playing on the resentment built by the Occupy movement and the burgeoning economic equality gaps, Barack Obama will attempt to become a two term President by likewise attempting to divide the country even further.
He was in Kansas this week, spouting his usual “populist” message of our moral responsibilities to tax the rich. By apparently taking cues from Theodore Roosevelt, soon-to-be-former is hoping to galvanize voters to rally behind him as part of an appeal to our sense of justice and equality.
To be fair to him, what else would he run on? He certainly can’t run on his record, at least not on the economy. He can’t use the same strategy of unity and hope that he used in 2008 given that he has an historically low approval rating and the goodwill he built in 2008 under those auspices is nearly extinct.
A compelling article from the Wall Street Journal by Patrick Caddell and Dougles Schoen calls this “the Hillary moment.”
Since no president has ever been re-elected with approval numbers this low, this late in the year, the authors suggest what’s best for the party and the country may actually be for Mr. Obama to step aside in favor of Hillary Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton would likely demolish any Republican challenger given her added chops as Secretary of State, and partially due to the residual positive perception of her husband’s presidential term.
On the other hand, perhaps Democratic party leaders believe the economy won’t get any better, at least not in the short term, so sending Hillary out now would simply set her up to lose in 2016 when conservative candidates like Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio may be prepared to take her down.
If you’re going to send Mrs. Clinton out in 2016 (extremely likely) as the candidate, she will have to beat one of the conservative reformers whose message of major change will likely resound to a populace still facing a sputtering economic future.
If Democratic party leaders were smart (debateable) they’d wait, at least when thinking about long-term success.
Of course, Obama has shown no interest in stepping aside, even if it means going down with his ship. If you can say one thing about our soon-to-be-former president it’s that he truly believes in his ability to win over the American people, no matter how bad the approval ratings are and no matter how often he fails to galvanize support.
Now, all of this is secondary to the most imminent issue: the future of our country for the next 11 months, the outcome of which will likely set the tone for the next decade of American prosperity.
Truly, the only way Obama can win re-election is to try and pit American against American. Rich vs. poor. Political elites vs. everyone else. The governed vs. the governing.
America, perhaps since the Civil War, has never been so divided. Imagine the damage after another year of divisive rhetoric from the man supposedly leading every American.
What Mr. Obama cannot forget is that he doesn’t just serve his supporters. His constituency is larger than any in the country.
If he chooses to base his campaign on blasting his opponents, building animosity and acrimony toward conservatives and Republicans, characterizing them as cogs in the machine of greed, then we will see the true nature of his character.
As a leader, he is no different than his predecessors. No hope. No change. No ability to shirk the “business as usual,” he referenced so many times as a campaigner.
As he normally does, he will speak in generalities, in historical perspective, ingratiating himself to himself first, to history second and no one else beyond that, while also prioritizing in that order.
He has a chance, at a time when this country needs to be brought together, to do just that.
A seminal moment in American history for Barack Obama to live out the promises of his campaign as a reformer and an agent for change we can believe in.
If his early campaign narrative is any indication, soon-to-be-former President Obama is more interested in getting re-elected than doing the job he was elected to do. The effects could create such a rift in this country that we would be left without hope of change.