By David Hill - 05/10/11 10:47 PM EDT
It’s interesting to try and figure out what President Obama and his reelection handlers are up to. There’s got to be a strategy, hasn’t there? One minute they seem to be trying to please their base. The next time they seem like triangulators. Lately, in full metal jacket, they seem to be courting the right wing of the GOP. Is their strategy simply to confuse us, like some sort of high-low, low-high martial-arts fighting strategy? Or instead, are there some short-term misdirection ploys going on here before they get down to real business? Our GOP is so slow getting started (and that’s fine by me, frankly), that the other side in the White House knows it can play some games. I’m enjoying the cabaret. But, sooner or later, Republicans have to show their hand and play some cards in the campaign casino.
We know that a lot of moderate Republicans voted for Obama in 2008. But that was mostly for the feel-good sentiments and Bush angst. There wasn’t a real sharp policy focus to it. Now that the socially liberal economic Republicans know that Obama is a typical Democrat and Illinois political spendthrift, some won’t vote for a second term. Obama’s vote counters know that they need to strip off another segment of the right to replace the fiscals and create a minimum winning coalition without them. So they might be aiming for national-security Republicans instead, genuine Palin-lovin’ folks. I hear you laughing. Stop that! I genuinely think that Obama’s team thinks this is a muscular president who now has enough blood on his hands to court the Ollie North crowd, especially the downscale populists who might want some of the economic goodies, like free healthcare and protectionist bailouts. They probably already have the micro-targeted DNA sequencing to make this happen.
If this is true, the neglected Democrat base might notice and be repulsed. The only chance that Obama has for reelection is to re-energize that mighty wave of idealistic new and mostly liberal voters he activated in 2008 and have them once again surge to the polls. Once they hear the banjo music coming from the Obama camp as it tries to court the “Deliverance” crowd, they’ll get throwing-up sick. But desperate times dictate desperate strategies, don’t they?
David Hill is a pollster that has worked for Republican candidates and causes since 1984.