The best thing to happen to Barack Obama is that the Republicans cleaned his clock in 2010. He is suddenly looking not so bad for 2012.
The November debacle made it obvious — even to the ultra-conventional left-liberal Obama — that the United States of America is a center-right country. He hired business-friendly William Daley as his chief-of-staff and came out roaring with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, of all places, that made him sound like a re-upped columnist for Reason magazine (well, mostly). It’s not hard to predict that his State of the Union address will stress cutting the deficit and reprise tropes from his let’s-all-learn-to-love-each-other kumbaya from the Tucson memorial.
November also helped him in that it further marginalized his left flank. Left-wing Democrats can now be placated by the most minor of bones. They have nowhere else to go, except perhaps running Dennis Kucinich in the primaries, which would be comic relief. And given the state of the global economy, few believe in Keynesian economics anymore anyway, except a handful of last-ditch bureaucrats in Brussels and the commenters on the Huffington Post.
But wait, you say, isn’t Obama a leftist ideologue? Won’t that come out in the end? What about Bill Ayers, Rashid Khalidi, and Reverend Wright?
Well, sure, but that was then and this is now, I’m sorry to say. As many have pointed out, Obama is a supreme narcissist and, for such a person, advancement of self trumps ideology virtually anytime. Forget the mind-numbing palaver about sticking to his ideals even if it means losing the election. If Obama has to tilt right to win, he will tilt right.
And he doesn’t need Dick Morris to explain to him how to “triangulate.” The information is in plain sight to a ninth grader running for middle school president. Obama also doesn’t need to be as politically astute or emotionally centrist as Bill Clinton to execute this plan. He’s the president, with all those levers at his disposal. Besides, as I mentioned, it’s not all that complicated. He doesn’t even have to believe it. The media will do that for him.