Thingish Things

The Ill-Timed Candidate

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Apr• 08•11

If President Obama loses re-election, his single biggest mistake — if you can pick one — may be his decision to begin his re-election campaign so early.

In practice, re-election drives never begin or end. Politicians  continuously run. But in announcing an official start to the campaign, Mr. Obama and his team may have made a fatal mistake, for two reasons: 1.) Everything he now does will be viewed through the cynical  prism of campaign politics, and 2.) He has not yet fully seized the mantle of his office or accomplished enough to warrant re-election. Why drive those points home to voters now?

When you announce a candidacy, you are implicitly asking voters to judge your performance that day. It’s where you are instructing their minds to go. And here’s where the President’s performance stands today:

–The federal government is on the verge of shutting down and both Democrats and Republicans are pointing to the President’s lack of hands-on leadership as a reason;

–We are a facing a catastrophic debt crisis, and the President has refused to address it;

–The situation in Libya is turning into a disaster. The President’s halting, indeed, halted, leadership and rhetorical ambiguity has been noticed worldwide;

–Our largest Arab ally, Egypt, is in crisis, and our eye appears off that ball;

–The President has deeply strained relations with Israel, our chief ally in the Middle East, which, itself, is under existential threat from Iran and Iranian-backed militias;

–Gas prices are skyrocketing and the terrifying specter of inflation is emerging;

–The economy is effectively stalled, and

— We are still fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and neither are going well.

There’s more, of course.

Not all these things were caused by President Obama.  But all of them are his problems. He’s the President. He owns them, like it or not.

For someone who has such brilliant timing in public speaking, President Obama seems to have lousy timing here.  You are supposed to announce re-election campaigns atop victories.

President Lincoln understood that. He knew he needed a victory to spring the Emancipation Proclamation (and his re-election drive) on a war-weary public, and he got it at Gettysburg. President Obama has no such victory on which to run. His biggest “accomplishment” to date is deeply unpopular and it doesn’t even belong to him. Because let’s face it, Obamacare is really Pelosicare.

The lofty rhetoric that hypnotized hope-filled voters in 2008 rings hollow now. It is insubstantial.  It is wind. Yet that’s what the President will be giving us from here on out. Wind. He does not govern well; he campaigns well, so that’s what we’ll be shown on TV.

Paris Hilton was cruelly used in a campaign ad by then candidate John McCain. God help me, but she comes to mind again. It’s the same old question. Why is she famous?  What does she actually do? Can she really just be a professional celebrity?

This ill-timed re-election announcement begs a similarly biting question: Is Mr. Obama just a professional campaigner?

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  1. Your Friend says:

    Hmm. There’s nothing to agree with in this. We must not live in the same world. GWB only announced his reelection about six weeks later than Obama. Wow. End of the world. Seriously, Bill, who cares about the timing of the announcement? The only reason he’s starting early is because he has to raise his money from individuals, not corporations, and he needs more time to raise the $1B he’ll need to defend all of the lies that spew forth from the right. I can’t go point by point on everything that’s wrong above, but why don’t you start wondering why the government is about to shut down for only the second time in modern history, right after the republicans won in the midterms, just like last time? Why is it shutting down? Because of abortion funding. Because the tea party has your party by the b*lls and none of you have the guts to admit that they’re all stupid and crazy. Mauritius is looking better and better.

  2. I’m not saying it as criticism, just as analysis. I think his timing was really bad. I may be wrong. We’ll see in time.

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