Free Markets, Free People

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.


Twitter: @McQandO

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15 Responses to Indicators — Will a disappointed left turn out for Obama in 2012?

  • I look at Wisconsin, where they’re going to try again to invalidate an election by recalling Walker, and I have the answer – they’re gonna go balls to the wall for this clown in 2012, regardless of how disappointed they are.  They see a threat that goes way beyond winning or losing a Presidency.

    Who won’t turn out for Obama will be the independents and middle who voted him in last time.  But there’s no guarantee they turn out for the GOP candidate either. Like in WI, the GOP better be ready to go to war.

    • I was thinking along those lines, too. There may be some dropoff, especially among the youngest voters on the left. They’re the ones most likely to have some excuse to do something else that day. But most of the doctrinaire left will stick, and in fact may fight with renewed ferocity as they did in Wisconsin.
      However, even a minor dropoff is a potential disaster for the Democrats, given that there looks to be a much bigger dropoff for Obama among mushy moderates. I think those two together are going to easily be enough to make Obama’s victory unlikely.

      At best, he might squeak out a narrow win if the GOP manages to nominate a sufficiently bad or uninspiring candidate and/or the legacy media have enough credibility left to trash one more Republican to the point of toxicity.

      There are several factors here, and I think absolutely everything has to go right for Obama from this point for him to have a chance of winning. If everything goes wrong for him (economy stays this bad or gets worse, inflation kicks up, a good GOP candidate, a dispirited media trims back their shilling and excuse making for Obama), then Obama could lose really big.

    • Shark – we just saw “balls to the wall” in WI recalls and they failed. That’s my point. The activists can go bttw, but will liberal voters respond?

      • I believe they will.  The battle in WI was nasty, but it was still over labor negotiations – on the surface anyway- and fought for the most part on favorable GOP turf.  2012 is going to be nationalized and all about (from the Dems side)  TAX THE RICH  IT’S BIG ________’s FAULT   PUSH GRANNY OFF THE CLIFF  RACISM RACISM RACISM PALIN IS NUTS BACHMANN IS NUTS PERRY IS AN EVANGELICAL RACISM RACISM RACISM BLAME BUSH BLAME BUSH BLAME BUSH TEA PARTY TERRORISTS ROMNEY IS EVIL RACISM RACISM TAX THE RICH PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE RACISM.

        The hysteria machine will whoop it up in a way that makes WI look like a high school debate club. Yeah, they’ll turn out for him.


  • Obama has problems with his base but where are they going to go?  Which left winger wants the stigma of running against the first black president?  After all, we’ve been well schooled on how racist that would be.
    The independents are a huge problem.  They’ve got no loyalty to party brand.  Obama is suffering badly here.
    The best thing Obama has going for him is the GOP and their lack of quality candidates.  There is no way I’ll pull a lever for Obama but I can say the same thing for most of the GOP.  I doubt I’ll vote in this election.  I know a lot of people say, “How can you not vote?”  It is simple.  When faced with the choice between bad and worse you’ll end up with either bad or worse.  I am tired of coming out of the voting booth feeling like I need to take a shower.  Protest votes fall on deaf ears.  The sub 5% that the also-rans have tallied up have never made a difference.

  • Just imagine what dispirited and disappointed Leftists might do when faced with a primary ballot with Barack Obama and Lyndon LaRouche, that 60’s radical who is trying unseat Harold Stassen as having been on the most Presidential primary ballots ?

  • McQ [Obama’s] base is dissatisfied and dispirited. 

    They are also morons and have nowhere else to go.  I can’t describe the contempt I feel when I see “Obama 2012” stickers on cars.  I mean, really: how stupid can people be???  They’ll pull the lever for Captain Bullsh*t, never fear.

    McQWorst of all, Barack Obama has to actually run on a record for the first time in his life.

    Oh, you mean the millions of jobs he saved or created?  The war in Iraq he ended?  Getting bin Laden?  Saving GM and Chrysler?  Bringing health care to all Americans?  Giving millions of working-class families huge tax cuts?  Stopping global warming?  THAT is his “record”… as far as he and MiniTru are concerned.  I’m sure that we all would like a “record” like that when it comes to raises and promotions at work.

    shark and tkc put their finger on Captain Bullsh*t’s best hope: his opponent.  For one thing, MiniTru will do everything it can to portray his challenger as a combination of Lenny Small and Adolph Hitler; by the time they’re done, Saddam Hussein would look like a calm, rational, intelligent moderate.  Further, the GOP has a history of shooting itself in the foot.  To a large extent, MiniTru helps them aim by pumping up candidates that are preferable to libs, which is to say, repugnant to the conservative base.  Witness the hoopla over Huntsman.  But the real problem is that the GOP establishment is almost as wedded to big spending as the dems.  They tend to have the same policy prescriptions, only not QUITE as expensive.  Can anybody plausibly claim that McCain, Perry, Pawlenty, Bachmann, and especially Romney would not have had a “stimulus plan”?  Or that they wouldn’t have presented some sort of “health care reform” bill?  Dumped tons of money into GM, Chrysler, and Wall Street to “stabilize” the economy?

    tkcI doubt I’ll vote in this election.  I know a lot of people say, “How can you not vote?”  It is simple.  When faced with the choice between bad and worse you’ll end up with either bad or worse.  I am tired of coming out of the voting booth feeling like I need to take a shower. 

    I feel your pain.  I voted for McCain after swearing to myself that I’d never pull the lever for that crazy, dishonest old fool.  No more.  I’m really not interested in voting for a candidate whose best promise is to prolong our decline.

  • The left is not monolithic. Some will stick with Obama no matter what. There is a floor to his support among blacks, progressives, hispanics, feminists, gays, and academics that is unshakable. I doubt Obama’s approval numbers can drop below thirty.

    That said, some on the left will turn on Obama, like the Hillbuzz guys, and others will just not turn out, like probably 20% of the youth who showed up en masse for Obama in 2008.

    There will be those who double down on Obama as <shark> says. Those who have the most to lose, such as the public sector unions, the American hard left, and those who are stone crazy in their hatred of Republicans, will double down. But quite a lot of the rest will just despair and go squishy in their support next year. I know leftists who volunteered like crazy for Obama in 2008, volunteering for phone banks and knocking on doors. They will likely vote for Obama again, but that’s all.

    Much, if not most, of the appeal of the left is emotional, which is how Obama won the first time. Without the “Hopey-changey, we shall overcome” heart throbbing, it will be a close election hinging on precise electoral college strategies.

    However, I think Obama has not hit bottom yet. His presidency is going to get worse before it gets better, and it may not get better at all.

    Furthermore, after he was elected I said that I thought it 50-50 he would finish his term because he would melt down one way or another. I still think it’s 50-50, and we are seeing clear signs of that possibility.

    • “those who are stone crazy in their hatred of Republicans” .. that accounts for most Democrats in the NorthEast.
      Just came back for the WaPo site, it’s quite obvious if you have drunk the “Kool-Aid” that the Republicans are obstructing Obama at every turn adn those Tea Partier (they use another term) need to be marginalized so the spending can continue.  In a nutshell, they don’t belief there is a debt problem.

    • Just curious, what do you see as signs of a meltdown?  He seems listless and unable to show leadership but I saw that in the beginning.  He’s an empty suit who used to be able to give a good speech but that was about it.
      He’ll do well on the campaign trail because that is his schtick.  Leading the country, not so much.
      So what do you envision as an Obama meltdown?

      • Just curious, what do you see as signs of a meltdown?

        tkc: His increased prickliness, remarks like “Don’t call my bluff”, his belief that his speeches are great, necessary events, even his tardiness. He arrived fifty minutes late to give a ten minute speech.

        So what do you envision as an Obama meltdown?

        There are worse crises to come, I fear. Obama may become entirely paralyzed or blow his cool entirely. Dem party leaders may urge him to step aside lest Obama make things even worse for the party and the country.

  • You Libs have nothing to worry about.  This election will be like 2004, where we had a bad, unpopular president, but the opposition nominated a very weak candidate.  Same situation in reverse.  Also, for the future, you can’t discount the recurring fact of our political system.  With the GOP in charge of all branches of government under W, it went out of its way to self destruct.  The Dems under Obama repeated the process.  Now that the GOP is in ascendency, it will be doing the same thing, though that will be after they have control of both houses of Congress after 2012, which is inevitable.  Obama, however, will be a lock for reelection in a closer election than 2008.  After that government will be in more gridlock for his second term (meaning that government will not be doing more harm as is its want).

  • Will there be enough left left to matter?
    Starting three years ago as I began to appreciate the full dimensions of the Obama candidacy, I was struck with the realization that he was uniquely positioned to destroy progressivism. First, progressives themselves were all-in and knee-padding, “He is golden, godlike… no need to vet him… he has our full faith and credit, etc. etc.” Second, he garnered truly widespread support and approval–hard to claim the deal was queered by whatever when so many are supportive and optimistic.
    And, most importantly, the man himself could not possibly rise beyond merely looking the part. He was platitudinous and platypusean. And the man has not disappointed at any turn. He has stumbled and bumbled through more than half his presidency without once having come close to realizing a positive accomplishment, a train wreck that has been a marvel to watch provided we get busy right afterward cleaning up the debris.

  • Victor Davis Hanson makes the cases the most of the current Obama-bashing is an attempt by the true bleiever Leftist ideologues to separate the “cause” from Obama.  It’s always the messaging and not the message.

  • Without a prominent primary challenger, Obama’s bid for re-election seems to be safe for now. But of those losing faith, the poll reveals that moderate Democrats are more likely than liberals to say the party should nominate someone else and younger Democrats are more likely to favor a new nominee than those who are older.