Barack Obama famously declared, “I’ll tell you right now that I’m. . .a better political director than my political director.” He may be right, but you couldn’t tell from his recent analysis of the upcoming midterm election.
Obama claimed that Americans agree with Democrats on every issue, but that Washington politics have “become so toxic” that they aren’t voting. “That’s especially true during the midterms,” Obama added:
During presidential elections, young people vote, women are more likely to vote, blacks, Hispanics more likely to vote. And suddenly a more representative cross-section of America gets out there and we do pretty well in presidential elections. But in midterms we get clobbered — either because we don’t think it’s important or we’ve become so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while.
I love Obama’s use of the words “we” and “our” in the last sentence. Obama is much of what’s happening in Washington and he clearly believe that what happens there is important. Yet, he associates himself with those who are too disillusioned to participate in politics on a consistent basis. Who, one wonders, is that Obama impersonator engaging day and night in Washington politics?
The president is either delusional or the most shameless phony ever to occupy the White House. And he isn’t delusional.
I also love the way Obama attributes the Democrats’ midterm woes to near-immutable laws of political science. Obama knows that the real problem is not voter apathy but voter anger — anger directed at his policies and reflected in his low approval rating.
That’s why Obama delivered this discourse to 75 fat-cats during a fundraiser at the Florida home of former basketball star Alonzo Mourning, not on the hustings in any of the states where the Democrats are in danger of losing a Senate seat. The Dems running for those seats don’t want the president in their states. They understand, as Obama does, that disillusionment with the president, not with politics in general, is the key driver this year. They understand, as Obama does, that Washington politics per se aren’t toxic right now; Obama’s policies are.
In this regard, Obama also knows that, far from agreeing with Democrats on every issue, Americans disagree with them on virtually all of the key ones. He is aware, for example, that poll after poll for month after month and year after year shows that Americans don’t agree with Democrats that Obamacare is good legislation.
But voter disenchantment with Democrats doesn’t end at Obamacare. Americans also disagree with Dems on the key economic and fiscal issues. They trust Republicans more than Democrats to handle the economy and to deal with the federal budget. The Republican’s lead on the economy is its biggest advantage in Washington Post-ABC News polling since 2002.
The polls that show the disillusionment with President Obama and his policies don’t exclude folks who voted in 2012, but might not vote this year, and polling suggests that this disillusionment extends to some of the groups that Obama frets won’t vote. In other words, there has been a shift in public sentiment on the merits of Obama and his policies, not just a drift towards apathy. If this were a presidential election year, Obama would be in serious trouble.
It’s also true, of course, that the political map favors Republicans in this year’s battle for the Senate. If Republicans win the Senate race in every state Romney carried, they will win control of that body. So Obama’s distinction between what happens in presidential elections and what’s likely to happen this year misses the mark.
But Obama’s take on the 2014 election isn’t intended as serious political analysis. It’s an attempt to convince rich people to write checks with which to rally the masses and an attempt to duck responsibility for what Obama fears will be another shellacking.