The president has been whipping up the Democratic base recently with his fiery campaign rhetoric. Wait, what’s that?
Sorry, let me start over. The president has been responding to his Republican critics with reasoned arguments, most recently in an official speech at Prince Georgeâ€™s Community College in Largo, Md.
Actually, the president has grown increasingly strident as gasoline prices, the budget deficit, and the national debt all continue to rise. Come to think of it, despite the dizzying rhetorical heights to which candidate Obama soared inÂ Minnesota in June 2008Â (“I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the … moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow”), apparently even the sea level continues to rise unabated. The president’s approval ratings and fund raising, on the other hand, have bucked the trend and are heading south.
In an attempt to reverse the trend in the latter two items, President Obama tore into Republicans in general as backward-looking naysayers who like gas guzzling cars and wouldn’t recognize aÂ clever use of algaeÂ if their lives depended on it. His words were both scripted and off the cuff as the crowd responded approvingly. In the words ofÂ Politico:
Those same people, Obama said, wouldâ€™ve thought the Earth was flat, that television wouldnâ€™t last, that the automobile was only a passing fad.
In truth, it’s the President’s political and cultural allies who think it’s the earth that won’t last, who wish the automobile had been a passing fad, and have so corrupted television that in large measure we’d be better off without it. The president even included a poorly researched slam onÂ Rutherford B. HayesÂ as losing a spot on Mount Rushmore for failing to recognize the potential of the telephone. While one would like to give the president the benefit of the doubt that the Mount Rushmore reference was tongue-in-cheek, his willingness to attack his political enemies in extreme terms gives one pause.
The Obama 2012 campaign has obviously taken stock of the political situation. Despite the bruising battle that the Republicans have been in during a long primary season that is months from ending, Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina issued aÂ fund raising appealÂ this week that said flat out, “If the general election were held today, President Obama would lose to Mitt Romney.” Whatever level of confidence that President Obama continues to exude about his remaining “five years,” this fund raising letter has a ring of desperation. If the political earth were as flat as the Flat Earth Society imagined the real earth to be, the Obama campaign would be justified in fearing that it is headed over the edge.
Jeryl Bier blogs atÂ Speak With Authority