Politics & Policy

The Straws in the Wind

Sorrows rain down on the president.

“When sorrows come, they come not in single spies but in battalions.” — William Shakespeare

The Obama campaign may not be in panic mode yet — there’s still plenty of time for that — but they must be stooping a bit under the weight of the bad news that has come their way in the past several weeks.

Every month’s jobs report represents a fresh wound for the Obama campaign. That’s the chief sorrow for Chicago, but there are a thousand other cuts.

The acutely embarrassing tale of Massachusetts Senate candidate (and former Obama appointee) Elizabeth Warren’s risible claim to Cherokee ancestry is a perfect encapsulation of liberal absurdity. Even if her story of 1/32nd Cherokee blood were true, how ludicrous is it to say with a straight face that it was an important part of her identity? How much more ridiculous, and, frankly, corrupt, to be counted a “minority” in the great affirmative-action hustle on such grounds?

Professor Warren has now been forced to admit, in contrast to her earlier statement that she learned that Harvard was claiming her as a “Native American” faculty member only when she read about it in the Boston Herald, that she did, in fact, tell Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania about her “Native American” ancestry.

Since Professor Warren lied once, skepticism is bound to greet her new contention that she informed the universities of her Indian heritage only after being hired. This story is haunting her like a bad dream. Even if it isn’t enough to deny her a Senate seat, it highlights for voters around the nation one of the dirty secrets about affirmative action that liberals like to obscure — it is a rigged and often dishonest system that distributes benefits not to those most in need, but mostly to the already privileged.

David Axelrod and his colleagues in Chicago cannot comfort themselves with the money advantage. In 2008, Obama famously broke all previous fundraising records ($771 million to McCain’s $239 million). This year, Team Obama predicted they’d raise $1 billion. That isn’t happening. Obama will still have plenty of money to spend, but the Romney campaign and Republican super PACs are on track to match it, or come close.

The Obama campaign — no, wait, the Obama White House; is there a difference? — has expended time and treasure concocting a “Republican war on women” in an effort to cement the vote of the weaker sex. Turns out, women are more strong-minded than he expected. The latest polls show Obama’s support among women has declined by seven points in the past month, while Romney’s female support has grown by 13 points. Boomerang. It looks like the administration traduced the First Amendment and alienated Catholics for nothing, or worse than nothing.

Wisconsin is a testing ground for whether union power can defeat a Republican reformer. Democrats and unions have poured millions into the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker. He seems on track to win by a large margin. Polling suggests that he has convinced Wisconsinites that public-employee unions are overpaid. The projected results seem likely to validate the old wisdom that “if you aim at the king, you’d better kill him.” If Walker wins, he becomes an immediate star — a huge draw for fundraisers and an attractive spokesman for the Republican party. Wisconsin will also be in play for the presidential race in five months.

When a president is weak, members of his own party begin to assert their independence. The Democrat-controlled Senate again voted 99–0 against President Obama’s budget. A number of leading Democrats, including Newark mayor Cory Booker, former Pennsylvania governor and DNC chairman Ed Rendell, former congressman Harold Ford, former car czar Steve Rattner, and Senator Mark Warner have criticized Obama’s attacks on Bain Capital.

But perhaps the worst news of the month is the decision of former Democratic congressman Artur Davis to join the Republican party. Davis, an African-American with Ivy League credentials surpassing even Obama’s (he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard), was the first non-Illinois congressman to endorse Obama in 2008. His message now is exactly what Axelrod and Co. have most reason to fear: He says Obama has gone too far left. “I thought he was going to be#. . .#pro-growth. I thought he was going to focus on national unity.#. . .#Instead he went in another direction.#. . .#There is no center-right in the Democratic party.”

And there is no joy in Obamaville today.

 – Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2012 Creators Syndicate, Inc.     

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