Indicators — Will a disappointed left turn out for Obama in 2012?
There are any number of indicators that point out that perhaps the left is both dispirited and disappointed with Obama. That may translate into low turnout in 2012. And while many will argue his campaign money machine will overcome that, we’ve seen examples where money was lavished on campaigns but the results of elections were less than expected.
Take the recent Wisconsin recall election for example. Unions and outside liberal interests pumped in more than $35 million dollars to opposed 6 Republican Senators. The goal, despite the spine the left is now trying to establish, was to oust enough to take back the majority in the Senate and block Governor Walker’s agenda. The result was the recall of 2 and allowing the GOP to keep their Senate majority. The $35 million spent on these 6 elections was almost double the $19 million spent on all 115 recent Wisconsin legislative elections and just a couple million short of the governor’s election total.
What that indicates is an inability, in a reliably liberal state and despite the money spent, to motivate enough voters to go to the polls and turn out the Republican. We’re repeatedly told that polls indicate Republicans are exceedingly unpopular, but the only poll that counts – this time in Wisconsin – doesn’t bear that out.
If the union machine can’t reliably turn out voters in a mostly liberal state for an election like this, what does that portend for Obama?
Gov. Scott Walker faces a recall election soon and polls are claiming it will be close. Maybe. But here’s a little clinker for the left. It appears his “agenda” is working and doing what it is supposed to do.
Indicator two: Talk of a primary opponent for Obama. I’m not sure it will happen, but it does indicate deep dissatisfaction with the incumbent. The Daily Beast reports this anecdote:
At a New York political event last week, Republican and Democratic office-holders were all bemoaning President Obama’s handling of the debt-ceiling crisis when someone said, “Hillary would have been a better president.”
“Every single person nodded, including the Republicans,” reported one observer.
The entire point of the article was to highlight the 18 million Hillary supporters saying “I told you so”. They weren’t particularly enthusiastic about voting for Obama last election. How enthusiastic will they be in 2012?
Indicator three: Town Hall meetings. In 2010 they were the venue in which the Tea Party’s anger was vented. And we saw a wave election follow. This year, indications are that the Town Halls may be dominated by dispirited and complaining liberals, if what Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) experienced becomes common.
On Tuesday night, McCollum’s fellow Democrats packed a music recital hall at St. Catherine University to give the six-term congresswoman an earful about their disappointment with Obama and his economic and military policies.
The crowd of about 150 was largely friendly and civil, but they were passionate about their opposition to the conservative policies flowing from the Republican-controlled Congress and what they consider an all-too-conciliatory White House.
John from St. Paul wanted to know why Obama has moved to the right. "Whose side is he on?" he asked. "What are progressives telling him?"
Just what Democratic members of Congress want to have to do, defend an increasingly unpopular president’s record. Just ask the GOP how well that works. What one can expect to see is an attempt by many Democrats to distance themselves from Obama if they feel he is a liability come election time. Oh, and a little clue as to the major issue in this next election (as if anyone paying attention really needs a clue) came out during the question and answer session:
While liberals dominated the question-and-answer session, a woman who identified herself as a fiscal conservative received a warm ovation when she told the congresswoman, "You’ve got to look for ways to live within your means."
She bottom-lined it for them. Now liberals in Congress have got to find a way to do what the woman said while trying to save their favorite welfare programs.
These indicators, all preliminary at this point, give a picture of an incumbent president in trouble. His base is dissatisfied and dispirited. Even in an election which the left raised to national prominence and spent lavishly on, they were unsuccessful in accomplishing their goal. The 18 million Hillary supporters who loyally pulled the lever for him last time aren’t at all happy with him and may not show up to vote for him this time around. And liberals in general are expressing their dissatisfaction with his performance.
Worst of all, Barack Obama has to actually run on a record for the first time in his life. And that record is certainly nothing to brag about. 2012 should be a very interesting election season.