This wasn’t the way things were supposed to play out.
Mr. Obama was supposed to be a transformational figure, with an almost magical ability to transcend partisan differences and unify the nation. Once voters got to know him — and once he had eliminated Hillary Clinton’s initial financial and organizational advantage — he was supposed to sweep easily to the nomination, then march on to a huge victory in November.
Well, now he has an overwhelming money advantage and the support of much of the Democratic establishment — yet he still can’t seem to win over large blocs of Democratic voters, especially among the white working class.
As a result, he keeps losing big states. And general election polls suggest that he might well lose to John McCain.
According to many Obama supporters, it’s all Hillary’s fault. If she hadn’t launched all those vile, negative attacks on their hero — if she had just gone away — his aura would be intact, and his mission of unifying America still on track.
Let me offer an alternative suggestion: maybe his transformational campaign isn’t winning over working-class voters because transformation isn’t what they’re looking for.
The question Democrats, both inside and outside the Obama campaign, should be asking themselves is this: now that the magic has dissipated, what is the campaign about? More generally, what are the Democrats for in this election?
That should be an easy question to answer. Democrats can justly portray themselves as the party of economic security, the party that created Social Security and Medicare and defended those programs against Republican attacks — and the party that can bring assured health coverage to all Americans.
They can also portray themselves as the party of prosperity: the contrast between the Clinton economy and the Bush economy is the best free advertisement that Democrats have had since Herbert Hoover.
But the message that Democrats are ready to continue and build on a grand tradition doesn’t mesh well with claims to be bringing a “new politics” and rhetoric that places blame for our current state equally on both parties.
And unless Democrats can get past this self-inflicted state of confusion, there’s a very good chance that they’ll snatch defeat from the jaws of victory this fall.
But no, that would be too sensible. Instead, expend millions and millions of dollars to destroy the most popular Democrat walking and beat up our core Democratic values and voters so GKJM can hang out with his new hip black friend and prove to the world that he is not a racist.
Every time Obama loses, it is the fault of some life-long loyal Democrat. It's Hillary's fault with her nasty campaign (as he is making obscene gestures when saying her name). It's Bill's fault with his racist words "fairy tale" and (Oh, won't somebody think of the children!) "Jesse Jackson". It's the stupid Archie Bunkers of Ohio, the bitter God-n-guns crowd of Pennsylvania, those bitchy old white ladies everywhere. Every freakin' advantage a candidate could hope for and the guy cannot win.
Way back in my youth, I used to show dogs at AKC events. There was a guy who would never admit he lost. He could not say "My dog lost." He always saiid "The judge beat me, the judge made me lose." He would not own his defeats and thus never learned from them.
The fault, dear Precious, lies not in the voters but in yourself. In your arrogance. In your inability to discuss policy. In your proclivity for explaining away your losses as the dastardly acts of backwards voters rather than admitting that they just aren't that into you. In your renunciation of everything that distinguishes us from the Republicans. In your thuggish campaign tactics. In your utter lack of anything that actually qualifies you to hold the position.
It's all cant, which is why most Democrats can't be bothered to pull the lever for you.