So say reporters Michael Barbaro, Jeff Zeleny, and Monica Davey in an interestingly revealing New York Times article article that appeared online yesterday and on page one of the Sunday paper today. They interviewed “two dozen Democratic officials,” whom they describe as “[e]lected officials and party leaders at all levels,” and “found a palpable sense of concern” over Obama’s (and probably their own) election prospects in 2012.
When they’re not reporting these interviews the Times reporters faithfully mouth the familiar (though still gratingly odd) Times mantra — for example, that Obama has been engaged in a “yearlong effort to reclaim the political center.” If that were the case, why did he run and hide from his own bi-partisan debt commission? It provided ample cover for him if he were really interested in moving to the center. In addition, his frequent refrain that the only thing standing between us and sensible policies leading to economic recovery is the Republicans’ continuing determination to put party above country does not sound like the murmurings of a centrist wannabe.
What is interesting here, however, is not the reporters’ predictable Times biases — by now most readers can easily filter them out — but the concerns of the fretful, faithful Democrats they report. Not surprisingly, one or two comments they quote are painfully, or maybe humorously, incomprehensible. My favorite was from Rep. Elijah Cummings, who managed Obama’s 2008 campaign in Maryland: “I think we know that there is a Barack Obama that’s deep in there, but he’s got to synchronize it with passion and principles.” With spokesmen like Cummings, no wonder Democrats have trouble with their “message.”
What is most striking about the Democrats’ fret is that, based on what is reported here, there is no recognition whatsoever that it is Obama’s policies that caused there 2010 “shellacking” and that now threaten his re-election. Instead, what most of them seem to want is more presidential shouting and stamping of feet.
Some attendees at the Democratic National Committee meeting in Chicago last week, for example,
expressed anxiety that Mr. Obama’s accomplishments were not being conveyed loudly enough to ordinary people…
“Now that they’re slapping him in the side of the face, he’s coming back,” said William George, a committee member from Pennsylvania. “He needs to start stomping his foot and pounding the desk.”
I suppose that if your “message” consists of continuing to borrow and spend, spend and borrow, then stomping your foot and pounding the desk may be as likely to bring independents back to the party as anything else.