The general Republican angst out there is largely irrelevant: the 2012 election is a referendum on the current presidential administration because it continues to contravene their 2008 campaign message of “hope and change.” Instead, the governing model business as usual in Washington.
As time goes on, a sinking feeling appears among 2008 Obama voters that this is not what they signed up for. That’s spreading among all likely 2012 voters.
Signals indicate hopes for “hope and change” will be lost on a one-term presidency that wasted partisan power in Washington for much of its time in charge. Never mind that it’s in campaign mode in a tough electoral atmosphere. In 2012, they will pay closer attention to what they have seen.
They were told that the coming Obama Administration would tackle the tough and critical issue of illegal immigration in America. What they saw (from Congressional Democrats, too) was little to address the nation’s approach a to the problem until a lame duck attempt failed to pass weeks before the 2010 partisan power sweep was relinquished by Democrats to the GOP. What they see is that the issue has been more of a hot-button campaign topic to rally voters against Republicans than a general focus of the Democratic leadership to bring beneficial change to the matter. That strategy is with good reason, considering that empty promises have led to a critical regression in support of the president over the past few months.
Not a good trend if there is a repeat of the “hope and change” BOPE (Barack Obama Presidential Experience) narrative over the next presidential term.
The same can be true about the downward trend of support of President Obama by African-American voters. In 2008, they thought that by having the first urban president in the in the White House, Washington would usher in a new way of governing that, if Obama’s leadership was shown to be strong and steady, could heal this country in a way that other presidents and policies did not. Instead of talking about coming together as a diverse nation the first urban president called out his attorney general after a comment about “a nation of cowards” concerning race. Instead of clearly understanding how urban struggles impact America’s overall bottom line of success, America has a president that embraces the old axiom “a rising tide lifts all boats” approach to Depression-era Black unemployment rates and unprecedented social crises crushing urban America.
Of course, when these same sentiments were voiced just a generation or so ago they were attacked as the cause of our current economic disparities and woes – the very causes Mr. Obama used as rallying cries to gather voters and supporters in 2008.
From divisiveness and bickering in government to lack of expedient focus on big ticket items, the message of “hope and change” in 2008 was more of a bumper sticker mantra to rope in voters than a genuine belief and dedication to changing how American government operates. Ironically, there are movements today from the same Obama demographic focused on bringing focus back to everyday people in America than the “populist” Obama Administration promised on the 2008 campaign trail.
But, at least there was the promise of transparent and open government.
The White House’s refusal to release documents in the Solyndra investigation is leading to a possible subpoena of the administration by the GOP-controlled Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight. Although the request is partisan in nature, it comes after a history of transparency-stifling moves by the Obama Administration. It was seen concerning the healthcare debate (via proposed C-SPAN sessions), then overseeing the hyper-partisan Obamacare vote. The same can be said with the tone of post-partisanship from the administration at its origins, only to disappear just months later once a supermajority was secured by Mr. Obama’s party. News of Solyndra stone-walling, secret “transparency workshops,” and a new proposed regulation that authorized lying about the existence of important documents is hypocrisy from the White House.
Couple that with the ongoing investigation surrounding the contradictions on “Fast and Furious” from this administration and it becomes rather clear: the Obama team campaigned in 2008 on the momentum of voters that had no faith in the White House (or a Republican candidate) after an era of wars and conspiracies, perhaps with no clear intention of fulfilling any of its campaign promises for “change we can believe in.”
“Hope and Change” seems to have an expiration date on it, not because of the weight of the economy or the “popularity” of keynote Republicans at this time. It is simply because everything clearly promised by this president was increasingly bypassed as time passed on.
Lenny McAllister is a political commentator found Saturdays with host TJ Holmes and fellow pundit Maria Cardona on “CNN Saturday Morning” at 10:30 AM Eastern (9:30 Central / 7:30 AM Pacific.)