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Tone Deaf in the White House

March 26th, 2013 - 6:54 am

This one is a real head-scratcher:

The White House hopes to bolster President Obama’s political standing by shifting attention from the bruising budget battles of the last month to immigration reform and gun control.

Democrats welcome the pivot after watching Obama’s standing in polls fall amid fights with Congress over the budget and the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.

They see immigration and gun reform as a better playing field for Obama that could provide political wins for the president.

Poll after poll shows Americans side more with the GOP (or at least against the Democrats) on gun control and immigration. So how is this pivot supposed to help?

Obama spent two years making speech after speech, trying to bolster support for ObamaCare, and moved public opinion not one whit. And that’s before the gawdawful law started making itself felt. Here we have two issues where most Americans have had their views set for probably their entire adult lives — and Teh One is going to improve his numbers by going against the grain?

I don’t think so. He — and we — are in for a mostly-miserable 46 more months.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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The pivot is to focus on issues that can manipulated emotionally. It's hard to get people to fired up about budgets (and it's hard to argue against math). It's easier to get your base out using emotional appeals on hot-button issues.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Whenever the White House says something, it's best to remember that you are not the target audience. Neither are most Americans. But somewhere there IS a target audience, one that they need in 2014.

Without knowing the polling numbers, I'd venture a guess that older voters are less anti-immigration and pro-gun than they are worried about what Republicans will do to their Social Security check. Or at least that'll be the case after the media demagogues the Social Security issue for a solid year. Meanwhile, there may be some districts that can be flipped with a high Hispanic turnout...

Are they right? I have no idea. But when I'm puzzled at the Administration's statements, that's the kind of thing I've learned to look for.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is less about affecting any real policy change than it is about the shaping of perceptions: The midterm election season is well underway.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Still doesn't make it a smart move. In fact, Obama is likely to endanger Congresscritters in marginal districts than he is to help.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's the CW, outside their bubble. But it fits with a broad-based attempt to paint the GOP, and in particular Paul, Cruz and Rubio as far outside the mainstream. In the same way, the whole campaign on gun-control turns on appeals to emotion, to creating a perception that supporters of gun rights are extreme and unappealing - same with immigration. It's a matter of shaping the cultural narrative at an almost subliminal level. Remember: The last election seems to have been swayed in some measure by turning out the low information voter, precisely the person most likely to be swayed by appeals to emotion and cultural standing. Whether or not this works, we'll see.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Gotta go with QED on this one. Yes, Steve, it doesn't look like a smart move. But this country is filled with people who didn't make a smart move last November.

This is an emotional appeal to the base (or the LIV--but I repeat myself). Plain and simple. Obama's hoping to get them fired up more than the Tea Party can fire up its base.

I think Obama's playing a losing hand, and frankly, I hope he pushes it really hard. The bigger he plays this, the more likely we are to see the Senate go red in 2014. Still long odds, but I'm willing to hope for the best.

Of course, the SoCons are chomping at the bit to stay home next election cycle, if the GOP goes rainbow. That's the real weak link in the whole red coalition.

*sigh*

It's all a matter of which side disintegrates first. Of course, the whole country could just go belly-up before that happens, so there's that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Narrow your focus from SoCons to Evangelicals. What they will do in future elections becomes an interesting question. For the greater part of the 20th century, Evangelicals were not that involved in electoral politics. For the most part they were content to live and let live. What changed everything were the USSC decisions on school prayer Engle v Vitale and Abbington School District v Schempp in 62-63 and, of course, Roe v Wade in 73.

They now have seen Reagan, and one of their own in GWB, come and go with little effect on the culture that surrounds them. I wouldn't be surprised if the larger movement begins to turn inward. After all, the Amish and Mennonite communities have managed to preserve themselves and their values without being involved in electoral politics, or the culture at large. Outside the metro areas one can easily imagine these communities reverting to a pre-62 attitude.

With respect to the GOP, for example, Huckabee recently promised a walkout over the issue of SSM. If the Court makes the issue moot as a matter of law. What then?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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