Barack Obama hit the campaign trail last week. He convened a joint session of Congress for an alleged speech about a jobs creation bill and used it as his kick-off speech. Symbolically, he gave it on the night the NFL season kicked off as well, though even his handlers knew he lacked the juice to compete with the game and moved an supposedly critical speech out of prime time to avoid getting trounced. (Green Bay beat New Orleans 42-34.)
Then Barry hit the campaign trail with a vengeance, traveling to three states (including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s home district) to taunt Republicans with his newly-discovered populist message. “Pass this bill!” is the sound bite. It will be about as effective as “Whip Inflation Now,” and “Just Say No,” but it sure did get the crowds fired up.
Where was this level of presidential involvement and emotion during the health care debate, when Tea Party savants taunted congressional town hall meetings with shouts of death squads? Barry spent most of that debate hunkered into the White House like Hitler in the Fuhrerbunker, making token appearances so people would know he was still alive. Same with financial reform. Pick any program he’d pledged to support and he was nowhere to be found.
Until now. Is it because people are hurting and jobs are still hard to come by? People were hurting and jobs were hard to come by during the stimulus debate, too. You didn’t see Air Force One zipping around the country so Barry could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people who could no longer make their mortgage payments.
The difference now has no more to do with unemployment or foreclosures than the fact unemployed and foreclosed people vote, and the Republican debates are grabbing all the political headlines. He also needs to look presidential enough to forestall any primary challenges from his left. He’s running for office again, which is the only job he appears to be suited for, since his record after winning elections is sparse.
It will probably work. The Republican candidates are racing to see who can stake out the most untenable positions for the general election, with the exception of Mitt Romney, who doesn’t believe in anything except that he wants Mitt Romney to be president. The 2012 campaign is shaping up early as the epitome of a South Park election: a choice between a giant douche and a turd sandwich. Our political race to the bottom will be complete.