RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
President Barack Obama can’t even count on Oprah. In a Monday interview, she told CBS that she’s “not going to be out there” campaigning for Obama this time around.
Oprah’s not the only one. College students, critical to the president’s 2008 coalition, are suffering “disappointment and disillusionment” coupled with “a lack of passion and energy for Obama.” That’s the word from Charlie Cook, National Journal’s seasoned reporter and political prognosticator, after visits to college campuses.
Many of Obama’s once devoted followers share these symptoms. The enthusiasm is gone. In eight of the 10 states that have held Democratic primaries this year, turnout has been lower than in 1996 — the last time an incumbent Democrat ran unopposed.
What changed? President Obama showed his true self. The candidate of 2008 looks nothing like the president of 2012. Voters have seen through the phony rhetoric, and that will be his undoing.
Barack Obama was elected not just for what he promised to do but also for what he promised to be: a transformational, post-partisan, selfless leader.
Today, he is the opposite — self-interested and hyperpartisan. Rather than being transformational, he has transformed. Gone is the candidate whose rhetoric promised to unite. In his place stands a president whose words sharply divide: Democrats versus Republicans, us versus them. It’s cynical. It’s off-putting. For the millions who hung their hopes on “change,” it’s depressing.
Barack Obama didn’t win in 2008 because he is a die-hard liberal Democrat. We have long been and still are a solidly center-right country. Gallup polling reports that 40 percent of Americans identify as conservative, 35 percent as moderate, and only 21 percent as liberal. We don’t elect liberal Democrats on purpose. Obama won because he misled America into thinking he was something that he isn’t.
Any doubt should have been erased after a revealing episode last week. At an international summit, President Obama was chatting with outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Unaware that he was talking into a live microphone, Obama leaned over to Medvedev and asked for more “space,” promising, “after my election, I have more flexibility.”
In other words, in a second term Obama will no longer be accountable to voters and can pursue the policies he really wants, from higher taxes and overregulation to increased spending and kowtowing to the Russians on missile defense.
One year ago today, the president announced his campaign for reelection. In that time, he has attended a record 113 political fundraisers. He’s one fundraiser shy of doubling his predecessor’s count from the entire 2004 campaign. Meanwhile, he’s set another record, accumulating more national debt than any president in history, a threat to our economy and to our children’s future. And this was the president who was supposed to put policy above politics.
In 2008, crowds cheered when candidate Obama declared, “I don’t want to pit red America against blue America. I want to be president of the United States of America.” By 2010, though, he had changed his tune, saying a Republican majority in Congress would mean “hand-to-hand combat.” Today, he rarely tries to do business with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
It’s unfortunate because House Republicans have passed 27 bills with some Democratic support that would bolster economic growth. Senate Democrats and the president refuse to act, preferring instead to campaign against Republicans in Congress. Since they cannot run on their own record, they resorted to running against someone else.
Tomorrow, though, Obama will sign the JOBS Act, a bipartisan bill to help business startups. But sadly, because of the president, this is an uncommon occurrence. Obama’s most bipartisan achievements have been his budget proposals, which receive unanimous opposition when introduced to Congress. His 2013 budget failed 0-414 in the House. His 2012 budget went down 0-97 in the Senate. This is the only unity he has brought to Congress.
It should be a well accepted fact that the presidential race is a referendum on Obama. Every election featuring an incumbent president hinges on whether that president has kept his promises. This one is no different.
By now, most Americans know that Barack Obama has failed to keep a whole host of policy promises — fixing the economy in three years, lowering the cost of health care, implementing a comprehensive energy policy and cutting the deficit in half. These alone should make him a one-term president. But they still pale in comparison to the most egregious and insulting broken promise of all: Obama has failed to keep his word on his very character — his persona and his politics.
Democratic operatives in Chicago and Washington are frantically asking, “Where have our supporters gone?” Those supporters are asking, “Where has our candidate gone?”
With his cover blown, this election is now a race against the clock for President Obama. Can he make it to November with some piece of his facade intact? If Republicans have anything to do with it, there isn’t a chance.
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