10.23.2011 09:00 AM

In today’s Sun: on Obama, from Washington

WASHINGTON — The former Bill Clinton adviser — a senior guy, a respected guy — doesn’t mince words.

“A lot of the American public has checked out on (President Barack) Obama,” he says. “He’s got a lot of things going against him right now.”

We’re in the Clinton man’s office, overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue, and just a short walk from the White House, where he used to work. His office walls are covered with photos of him with his former boss, as well as political luminaries from around the globe.

He’s a big guy, gregarious, like his former boss — and, like his former boss, a Democrat until the day he dies.

But to him, and not a few other Democrats these days, things don’t look good for Barack Obama. Not at all.


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    JStanton says:

    I recall reading similar articles 6 months prior to the election about Mr. McGuinty’s “chances”. I think there are many parallels.

    Firstly, the men and their records – both inherently decent men, doing a tough job in impossible circumstances. As appalling as their records are described when cast in the pejorative, they could have been so much worse, given the challenges faced. And yet, here we are, bruised but not bloodied; still moving forwards rather than backwards.

    Secondly, their opponents – both are empty vessels cut from the same ideological cloth, both using the tactics of the demagogue: instill fear into simple folk through deceit, mis-cast your opponents as their worst nightmare, use underhanded tactics whenever possible, to undermine your opponent’s civility.

    But people can only be manipulated so far. At some point, even those to the right of the fence have difficulty stomaching the bull shit.

    I think the election is Obama’s to lose. His is a progressive voice at a time when people so badly need one, and his opponents are retreads with nothing new or therapeutic to offer. But he had better re-assert his position as champion of the people, through real action. He used to call that “change”. It’s time he speed-ed it up, so that folks can actually see it effecting their lives for the better.


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      The Doctor says:

      Re: your third paragraph: I can’t help but point out that we don’t actually know who Obama’s “opponent” in 2012 is going to be. Your analogy sort of breaks down there.

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    Sean says:

    One thing that always impressed me about Clinton was his ability to win a political battle when the chips were down. He was able to win battles when he had no business even competing. I like Obama, but in fairness, he did have the table set for him the last time around. I’ve never seen him as much of a scrapper.

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    Sean says:

    this photo says it all…


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      Raymond says:

      Says what?

      “What are you doin’ later, darlin’?”

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    bigcitylib says:

    He still leads all the GOP potentials in head to head polls, and the Dems are up 1.2% in the generics (from Real Clear Politics). It will a bit like Ont. election: sane guy warts and all vs. crazies.

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      smelter rat says:

      Only in your delusional mind, Mr. Tulk.

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        lance says:

        Curious rat, what part of Gords statements do you find fault with?

        The part about the polls not all being in Obama’s favour? That’s true.
        The part about identified progressives declining and moderates increasing since the 70’s? That’s also true.
        The part about every national stage (and a great many local) votes since then being a repudiation of the ’08 choice? Can’t really disagree w/ that either.

        I would disagree with Gord’s last sentence though. It’s going to be closer than people realize…just like the last time.

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        smelter rat says:

        Obama will make mincemeat of any of the current Republican clown brigade in a debate. Do you seriously think going back to the Bush years, with the added psychosis of the current American right is going to “restore America”. Give me a break.

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        Philippe says:

        Hey Gord, I get the strategy about trying to block every single Obama initiative (regardless of the merit) in order to make him look weak – but the problem with your side is you didn’t count on it backfiring, and it will. Your “party of no” is going nowhere fast. Americans get what your side is doing.

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        smelter rat says:

        Actually my opinion of Harper will eventually prove to be prophetic. The man is destined to be the worst PM in Canadian history.

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        The Doctor says:

        SR, your comment about Obama in a debate — fact is, that doesn’t necessarily matter much. I think pinning one’s hopes on a debate performance as a “game changer” is a badge of the desperate. I agree Obama’s a good debater. And I would like Obama to win a second term myself. But I think that via wishful thinking, you underestimate his opposition. Sure some of the Republican candidates are whack jobs like Michelle Bachman. But Romney, for instance, is a skilled politician and a potentially formidable candidate. He polls well against Obama.

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    smelter rat says:

    Do you actually believe the bilge you type, or do you just like to troll?

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    allegra fortissima says:

    “If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost.” Barack Obama, speech, Aug. 28, 2006


    You were right, Mr. President!

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    SF Thomas says:

    You sound like a broken record on republican talking points. I’ve seen many republicans literally use the exact same descriptions and language as you just did Gord. Allow me to offer a few counter points:

    – Obama did run as a liberal. He also ran saying he’d change things. He has in fact ended up playing the same old political games and called for compromise and consensus too much. He has in fact been fairly ‘centrist’ aka corporate friendly (I’m talking about the false centrism and by-partisanship where politicians give into corporate lobbyists in the US and call it centrism).
    – He tends to give away a lot to republicans before even getting to actual legislation so by the time it is actually on the table it is at least half of what republicans wanted and then they vote against it and say he has to go even further.
    – The final result of the health care overhaul was basically a copy of what the republicans pushed as an alternative to government funded health care in the 90s and quite similar Mitt Romney’s (the former Gov of Massachusetts) plan which was basically keep the private health insurance system intact, mandate people must buy insurance and help subsidize it for those at the bottom income level. This was originally thought up by the Heritage Foundation a right wing think tank.
    – The republicans in the senate have broken a record for filibustering and using delay tactics since Obama became President. There is in fact a decent case to be made for their obstructionism.
    – The teleprompter comment is just a repeat of bad jokes some republicans have made like ‘lets steal Obama’s teleprompter and see how well he speaks. By the way I agree with something Jesse Ventura said which is that at least the US now has a president that can use a teleprompter, before they didn’t even have that.
    – Obama has barely touched the banks after they caused a financial disaster. This is a huge sign of either reluctance or lobbyist influence. Either way not something a ‘leftist’ would probably do.

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    Smevoy says:

    He’s not in nearly as much trouble as McGuinty was a year ago, and he may well end up running against a weaker candidate than Hudak. Not time to panic, but certainly a time for concern.

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    james Smith says:

    My house will be paid for very shortly however; given the dwarfs running against BO, if one of these amadans were to win I don’t like the chances of an economic recovery before I retire… in 14 years. My kids & their families can live here with us.

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    M-J says:

    A Clintonite bad-mouthing Obama because he’s not — wait for it — more like Bill Clinton?

    Fucking shocking.

    (And, of course, in fine Clinton-esque style, he doesn’t have the stones to put his name to his opinion.)

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    allegra fortissima says:

    A time for big concern:

    “To see how immanent the danger is, just have a look at the new Congress of the United States, the one that was propelled into power by large scale business funding and propaganda. Almost everyone there is a climate change denier and they’ve already been acting on those assumptions. They’ve been cutting the limited expenditures there are for dealing with environmental problems. If the United States doesn’t do anything significant, the rest of the world isn’t either.

    Worse than that, some of them are true believers. For example the new head of one of the committees on the environment explained that global warming can’t be a problem because God promised Noah that there wouldn’t be another flood. That takes care of that. If that was happening in Andorra or some small remote country in the world, maybe we would love. But it’s not laughable when it’s happening in the richest and most powerful country in the world. Before we laugh, we might bear in mind that the current economic crisis is traceable in no small measure to the fanatic faith in such dogmas as the efficient market hypothesis and in general to what Noble laureate Joseph Stiglitz 15 years ago called ‘the religion that markets know best.’ The religion made it unnecessary for economists and the Federal Reserve to notice that there was an eight trillion dollar housing bubble that had no basis at all in economic fundamentals., that was way off historical trends, and that devastated the economy when it burst. No need to look at it because we have a religion. Markets know best, so forget it. That religion is resuscitated despite what happened.

    All this and much more can proceed as long as the general population is passive, apathetic, devoted to consumerism or maybe hatred to the vulnerable. As long as that’s true the powerful can do as they please and those who survive will be left to contemplate the ruins.”

    Noam Chomsky, The State-Corporate Complex: A Threat to Freedom and Survival, excerpt from the text of lecture given at the University of Toronto, April 7, 2011

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    The Realist says:

    I want Obama to win if only for the simple reason that this great recession is at least another 5 years away from resolving itself.

    It would be in the long term interest of the Republican party to lose the Presidency on purpose in 2012.

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    James Curran says:

    It”s not Republicans defeating Obama. It’s Democrats. Kinda reminds me of my friend Stephane Dion. He was also a man with a plan defeated by those within.

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      The Doctor says:

      except Obama is a talented politician who is capable of communicating effectively to the majority of Americans in their own language. Dion, NOT.

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        James Curran says:

        Perhaps you can’t speak English either. I’m certain you’re French may be suspect. I wonder how many languages Obama speaks.

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          The Doctor says:

          It’s true some Liberals probably sat on their hands when Dion was leader. But the guy was a lousy politician, and the Green Shift was bad politics. Dion had the worst political tin ear since Joe Clark.

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    steve says:

    Obama surrendered without a fight on most issues. His signature issue Obamacare is fatally flawed, that’s why most have checked out. He has done a great job as commander in chief, but people really don’t care anymore about success so far away.

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    steve says:

    Green shift was an excellent idea, the problem is Dion could not generate enough faith.

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