In 2008, Obama ran as “HopeN’Change” – a rock star, “almost a God,” the “Lightbringer.” This was made possible by the fact that no one knew who Obama was; nobody outside of Illinois had heard of him, the nomination was Hillary’s to lose, and the media fell in love with him. The media is still smitten, but today there are over 300 million Americans for whom Obama is not longer a promising future, but a miserable present. The media’s ability to create an illusion is much tougher when reality intrudes.
For Barack Obama, the HopeN’Change campaign is no longer viable. “It could have been worse” is not a compelling slogan. Obama can charm the pants off fellow travelers like Laurence Tribe but it’s really hard to suck up to 300 million people when you throw them out of work, double their gas prices and make their food more expensive.
So now we have the other way that Obama knows how to campaign: the Chicago Way. And that’s ugly.
Mitt Romney has only been married once so unsealing records of a messy divorce is not an option. Of course making Mormonism look like a subversive cult is on the agenda, but that will be done by surrogates.
Even now we can see the opening salvoes of that campaign. Running on race (“"If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon,"), running on sexism (Republicans will take away your birth control), running on hate for the “the Man.”
The Democrats have a hammer-lock on Chicago. Their strategy works there because they can race-bait, bribe and threaten their way to office. If that’s not enough, the dead can be relied on to vote for the Democrat. The problem for Barack Obama is that the country isn’t Chicago. I believe that campaigning the “Chicago Way” is going to turn off the middle-of-the-road voters who voted for Obama in 2008.
Despite Obama’s best efforts, he can’t run on HopeN’Change and running the Chicago Way won’t work. You can expect to see an increasingly erratic Obama as the election nears. He’s not used to failing because he’s always been given a pass. He’s a prisoner of where he came from and who he is. Time’s up for Obama.