Just before President Obama left on his vacation to Martha's Vineyard, he held a meeting with members of Organizing for America, the grass roots group which morphed over from his presidential campaign.
He warned them not to get all "wee weed up" with his recent slide in the polls and the sour outlook for passing the most ambitious version of Democrats health care takeover. Looking back to a year ago he said:
OBAMA: Just remember we've been through this before. Some of you were involved when we were in Iowa, 30 points down, and all of Washington said, oh, it's over -- hand-wringing and angst and teeth-gnashing. And then last year just about this time, you'll recall that the Republicans had just nominated their Vice Presidential candidate, and everybody was -- the media was obsessed with it, and cable was 24 hours a day, and "Obama's lost his mojo." You remember all that? There's something about August going into September -- where everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up.Yes we have been through this before and as readers will recall, in September of last year Democrats took full advantage of a long dormant "crisis" in the financial markets, sparked by Democrat's insistence that home loans be available to anyone for the asking and refusing to allow regulatory reform which might have prevented the meltdown. John McCain suspended his campaign and walked right into the Democrats trap. All was chaos and confusion. A perfect setup for a Democrat victory.
Certainly no one expects another market crisis to be manufactured in so short a period of time; especially so since this time it would not benefit Obama. But what else might Obama and the Dems be cooking up?
Permanent Campaign Wearing Thin?
Democrats are promising that Obama will go into campaign overdrive this fall on behalf of health care. But,Obama has been in campaign mode since he was inaugurated. However, Fred Barnes points out that the more Obama talks, the lower his approval goes. Last fall, Obama campaigned with fuzzy hopey-changey rhetoric. He's now realizing that people want more than bumper sticker slogans from their President and especially on an issue like health care which truly is a life and death matter to all concerned.
Lately, Obama's high minded rhetoric from the campaign has given way to a new negativity. Instead of a positive message, we often hear a scold, whose tone has a certain sanctimonious arrogance that turns people off. He attacks Republicans for conspiring against him. Obama insists that "lies" from Fox News are to blame for his falling approval ratings. Senior Democrat leaders label the opposition as "unAmerican" or "evilmongers" with others suggesting that racism is behind their opposition to a federal takeover of health care.
Nolan Finley, editorial page editor for the Detroit News puts it mildly:
It's inconceivable to the liberal political establishment and their pals in the media that the people might have legitimate and fully informed objections to the grand government expansion they've orchestrated. The only answer that makes sense to them is that evil Republicans are scaring people to death.Pew Poll Shows Dems Losing Independents, Women, Younger Voters
It can't be dismissed as solely the work of Republican dirty tricksters. Up until a few weeks ago, the GOP was written off as impotent and irrelevant. And now it can muster the muscle to counter Obama's move-on machine? No way.
Democrats are handing their opponents a victory by misjudging the appetite of Americans for a European-style nanny state.
The liberal elite makes a critical error in assuming the protesters don't know what Obama's health care plan stands for and where it's likely to take them. Americans recognize a slippery slope when they're about to slide down one.
What should concern Obama's strategists the most is how quickly the middle ground voters he relied on for his campaign victory in 2008 are leaving him.
A 12% drop in positive views of the Democrat Party among women from April to August. in the latest Pew Poll. A 14% drop among those age 30-49 with a 9% drop in 18-29 and 50-64 year old respondents.
And notice the 14% drop among those earning less than $30,000 per year. A group which is a natural Democrat constituency.
What's Up Obama's Sleeve?
Now that Obama has unmasked himself as the big spending liberal we all said he was during the campaign, the old slogans don't work any more. Obama and his advisors know that if something doesn't change soon, his presidency will be in serious trouble.
Swine Flu Scare?
Ted Kennedy's death won't rescue a health care bill with a government option. No amount of Democrat astroturfing is likely to do that. The damage is already done. The goal now is for Obama to save face and sign a bill called health reform and stop the bleeding of Obama's approval rating. Even to do that, in this poisonous atmosphere Democrats have created, they'll have to dig deep into their bag of tricks.
Why not gin up the tried and true scare machine? And what better excuse than the Swine Flu. Obama's President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology recently predicted that 90,000 Americans could die of the Swine Flu this season. Of course that might not be such a bad thing according to John Holdren, co-chair fot he Council and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House. Holdren is on record proposing forced abortions and sterilizations for population control (can we say "death panel's" again?) Let's not forget that about 40,00 Americans die of the flu each year.
McCain to the Rescue?
Obama's best hope may be a compromise with Senate Republicans, ala the "gang of 14" which allowed Democrats to continue obstructing Bush judicial nominees if they let a handful go through to a vote. And ready to reprise that role is Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who despite voting more closely with his GOP Senate colleagues has sent out discrete signals he would be ready to make a deal. The question now is whether McCain learned his lesson in September of last year where he walked into that Democrat trap or he is ready to repeat that mistake?
Obama his own worst enemy?
What is to come after the health care issue is settled? Will Obama drop the name-calling, Bush blaming, Fox/Rush bashing and phony charges of racism which have typified the "debate" this summer over health care as he moves on to other contentious issues like immigration?
When Bill Clinton lost the debate over Hillary Care in the early 90's he deftly triangulated and found common ground to work with Republicans on issues like NAFTA and welfare reform. That and Ross Perot saved his re-election bid in 1996. At this juncture, it's difficult to see how Obama, who shot down ideas from Republican congressional leaders by telling them "I won," will suddenly drop the arrogance and scolding habits which seem to be matched only by his ego.
Time will tell if the most liberal former member of the U.S. Senate will suddenly change his spots or his tone!