Being There — the Obama Sequel

Rip Van Obama

President Obama went into a deep slumber in December. When he woke up this January, he found himself back even in the polls, with neither a press conference nor another overhyped presidential televised address to be heard. Sleep, quiet, and solitude — all that appears wiser than campaigning, visibility, and speaking, both for Obama and Americans. In short, the president has really hit on something: an Obama going into a Rip Van Winkle somnolent state might just mean waking up again as president.

If conservatives once alleged that Obama got elected as Being There’s Chauncey Gardiner — the empty vessel that all put their hopes and dreams in — they might complain even louder that he now plans on getting reelected as him as well, as if 2009-2011 were now a dream and we are back to fall 2007 when a political unknown proclaimed himself a new Lincoln declaring his candidacy from Springfield.

Meanwhile, Fratricide

While the Republicans were tearing each other up in Iowa, to the delight of the liberal media, Barack Obama said not much at all from Hawaii. He did not have to, given that no Republican was offering a simple anti-Obama plan to drill for gas and oil as never before, repeal Obamacare, balance the budget, reform the tax code, and redo Social Security and Medicare. Instead his would-be opponents argued over who voted for what fifteen years ago.

We heard from the press and other Republicans in Iowa that Cain was a supposed womanizer, Romney a liar, Gingrich a blowhard and hypocrite, Perry clueless and tongue-tied, Paul a nut, Santorum a whiny complainer, Bachman a loser, and not much of anything about Huntsman. Who cares that the debt is hitting $16 trillion, the Iranians are enjoying our reset diplomacy, Iraq is heating up after our departure, and we are talking to the Taliban via the Muslim Brotherhood? Who mentions that our rendezvous with Obamacare is daily coming closer? Or that the Simpson-Bowles commission, the super-committee, and all talk of the debt is now but a distant, bad memory? Does it matter that Obama decided not to follow federal immigration law and will sue states that do? What are recess appointments when the Congress is not in recess? While Obama sleeps, all sorts of strange things do not.

As this circular firing squad went on in Iowa (strangest of all was the New Newt Gingrich’s 30-day new persona of senior statesman grandly proclaiming unity and civility — only to descend into the Old Newt proclaiming Romney a “liar”), each couple of days Barack Obama’s poll ratings inched back up. The more he kept out of the news and kept quiet, the more his negative and positive ratings went back in sync, until they are today about even, a radical shift in just about a month — and as a result of doing absolutely nothing. Do Americans sort of like Barack Obama the more that they do not see or hear much of him — at least while they hear too much of the Republicans ripping each other apart? After all, in 2008 with no record or much knowledge of his past, Obama The Idea was adored; in 2011 with a record and a fledgling history, Obama The Flesh and Blood was not. Why then not go into deep sleep, do nothing, let his surrogates loose, and let voters' imaginations run wild with past fantasies and dreams — especially in comparison to the screeching of fratricidal Republicans that for now precludes any reexamination of a mostly disastrous presidential record since January 2009?