Friday, August 27, 2010

But what if it doesn't?

Douglas Schoen is advising Barack Obama on how to “secure his political future”. His advice basically amounts to “do what Bill Clinton did - at my urging - after the 1994 mid-term elections”. One specific piece of Schoen advice caught my eye:

Beyond that, the administration must emphasize that it understands the electorate's concern about fiscal prudence, the deficit, the debt and the need to balance the budget.

But what if the administration doesn’t understand any of this? Well, then, I imagine many consultants would say, the administration should lie and say they do. After all, maybe Bill Clinton was lying when he suddenly claimed to have seen the light in 1995. Good advice, I suppose - what else are they going to say at this point - but I see a problem with that strategy.

When Bill Clinton changed direction, it was possible to believe (accurately or not) that he had come to understand the electorate’s concerns. Maybe he actually considered us all rubes who were too stupid to understand the wisdom of his original plans but since he didn’t insist on referring to us as such we were able to believe that his change of heart was sincere. He had, we could convince ourselves, listened to the great wisdom of the American electorate and was swayed by their beliefs, their convictions, their understanding of what was best for their country.

That’s going to be a hard sell for the current administration. This administration is going to have to convince us that it’s listened to the great wisdom of a bunch of stupid, backward, racist wingnuts and been swayed by their idiotic beliefs, their small-minded convictions, their complete lack of understanding of anything and everything. Even the Obama of 2008 would have trouble putting that over; I can’t imagine how the Obama of 2010 would manage it.

(Both links via Contentions)

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