Obama, in deer-in-the-headlights fashion, does not quite know where to turn. On one hand, he’s taken the country so far left and sounded so divisive that he’s alienated independents and moderates and thus may earn the greatest midterm congressional rebuke since the Republicans lost 101 seats in 1932. On the other hand, on a number of symbolic issues dear to the Left — closing Guantanamo; junking Bush-era anti-terrorism protocols like renditions, tribunals, wiretaps, and intercepts; leaving Afghanistan; repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell”; gay marriage; cap-and-trade; card check; blanket amnesty — he seems cynical, timid, and no different from an old finger-in-the-wind politician.
Obama’s remedy for sinking polls and impending congressional losses was twofold — to hit the political campaign trail like “Give ’em Hell Harry,” demonizing conservatives for opposing his liberal agenda, and to recapture his hope-and-change aura by going on TV and, in particular, young-audience outlets like The Daily Show and MTV.
Obama’s awkward efforts to appear hip have resulted in Jon Stewart calling the president of the United States “dude” and a general diminution in the dignity of the office.
The obvious remedy is to get off TV pronto, drop the forced hipster act, return to his “no red-state/blue-state divide” tropes, find areas of agreement with Republicans and in so doing reduce the deficit, and talk about what’s right rather than what’s wrong with the United States.