Why Obama Has No Message
The White House has been handed a golden opportunity with Republicans threatening $5 trillion in Medicare cuts and a government shutdown. Yet Republicans are controlling the political messaging. Obama has an adverse fear for slinging mud at Republicans. That affects his political team.
Republicans are playing to the Tea Party base with the shutdown and Medicare cuts. Obama's idea of negotiating is cutting heating for the poor and a federal pay freeze with getting nothing in return for Republicans. This style of governing makes perfect sense if you are Rick Scott. The cuts Obama placed make little dent in the deficit, hurt the poor and government retaining employees. Obama made the cuts strictly for positioning himself as a centrist. How many independents in America will decide their 2012 vote because federal pay rates heating assistance are make or break issues? I say no one.
Obama is not governing. He has giving up on making proposals to create new jobs. I final decision on Afghanistan has been kicked down the road to 2014. Policy is set a drift because America has a President terrified of not being re-elected.
The problem with the Obama's political team's message is stuck in the 90s. The Democratic Leadership Council has folded. Congressional Blue Dogs had their heads handed to them in the midterm elections. Obama's reaction to these events was to appoint Bill Daley as his Chief of Staff. This Third Way (a neoliberal organization) press release illustrates what Daley stands for.
Secretary Daley said: “I believe in Third Way’s unique mission—advancing moderate ideas, challenging orthodoxies, and building a big tent political movement that can attract an enduring majority. Their views are right for both campaigning and governing: pro-market, strong on security, and seeking common ground on culture issues. Third Way is doing exactly the work that we must do—with the White House, Congress and statehouses—if we’re going to own the center of American politics and create the kind of pragmatic change the country wants.”
Mr. Daley continued: “We’ve really got to listen carefully to the public. Voters are not re-embracing conservative ideology. But we must acknowledge that the left’s agenda has not won the support of a majority of Americans—and, based on that recognition, we must steer a more moderate course. Third Way is playing a central role in helping us navigate that course.”
Obama publicly declared, "I am a New Democrat." The Wikipedia definition of New Democrat.
In the politics of the United States, the New Democrats are an ideologically centrist faction within the Democratic Party that emerged after the victory of Republican George H. W. Bush in the 1988 presidential election. They are identified with more pragmatic and centrist social/cultural/pluralist positions and neoliberal fiscal values. They are represented by organizations such as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the New Democrat Network, and the Senate and House New Democrat Coalitions.
Translation: New Democrats are pro-corporatist and socially conservative. Obama promised the Chamber of Commerce less regulations. Obama signed an executive order forbidding federal funds being used to fund abortions. If Obama campaigned on these positions he would have never made it out of the presidential primaries.
Tampa politician Bob Buckhorn was a corporatist Democrat in the 90s. Buckhorn was best known for attempting to ban lap dancing in strip clubs. Buckhorn's move to the right of center resulted in 3 campaign losses.
In 2011, Buckhorn ran for Mayor and ran an extremely policy driven campaign. Buckhorn ran a successful social media campaign and won in a landslide. The former New Democrat moved to the Left. Buckhorn explained the change.
"I didn't fear losing, because I've felt losing," he says. "I know what it feels like, and I know it doesn't kill me. So when you really have no fear of losing, it changes your perspective."
Obama's governing and message problem is he is afraid of losing. America loses when the President isn't willing to fight for job creation, financial reform or a sane foreign policy.