January 04, 2012
NYC Letter: On The Fail Trail -- "Hello, Iowa!"
HAPPY NEW YEAR +3
Day 1,078 of CHOPE
Mr. Obama is running unopposed as the Democrat candidate for his party's nomination. His campaign practically runs itself with the economy humming along, unemployment falling to a near-nothing 8.6%, spending miles away from the debt ceiling, and on top of all that -- he is unbeatably likable. So other than raising a billion dollars for bumper stickers Mr. Obama doesn't have much to do right now.
Why not beam into Iowa and steal a headline from the Republicans?
January 3, 2012 (CNN) - President Barack Obama addressed via video conference several Democratic caucus sites in Iowa Tuesday, four years after winning the state's contest in a surprise victory that fueled his campaign on a path to the nomination.
"We've still got a lot of work to do. But think about the change that was accomplished because of those caucuses four years ago," Obama said.
Among the accomplishments he listed since taking office, Obama touted the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the passing of health care reform and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
One, two, three. One, the troop withdrawal from Iraq had been negotiated by the Bush administration. Two, since day one to the present Obamacare has never enjoyed broad public support. Three, DADT, once upon a time touted as a brilliant Clinton policy straddle, was repealed without bold advocacy by Mr. Obama. Because the national debt and government spending polled as the top one and two issues in Iowa, no brags about Mr. Obama's ginormous stimulus or quantitative easings (and this) or preserving American credit or reducing the deficit or deficit neutral "pay as you go" spending or sunny forecasts of 4% growth.
The president joked that he has since grown more "gray" but said he's more optimistic about the ideas of "hope and change" that he trumpeted in his last run.
"We've already seen change take pace," Obama said. "2012 is about reminding the American people how far we've traveled."
The last thing Mr. Obama will be doing is reminding people of the change he has wrought. Democrats abandoned their legislative record in 2010 -- to no avail. Campaign Barry is trying to fashion a "vision thing" campaign that posits all those 2008 rainbows somewhere beyond 2012 while tactically avoiding Mr. Obama's actual record in office.
CBS News reports this bad sign among the faithful:
Voters were engaged in the video, but there was no cheering, chanting or clapping for the president's message during the address, distributed to more than 200 caucus locations throughout Iowa.
No boo-yah out of 200 audiences of Democrat faithful?
Despite some technical difficulties, Mr. Obama was able to take questions from the Iowa audience, including a woman from Cedar Rapids who asked him to address critics who say he hasn't accomplished anything as president.
"The main message that we're going to have in 2012 is that we've done a lot but we've got a lot more to do, and that's why we need another four years to get it all done," Mr. Obama responded.
You may recall Mr. Obama was originally going to "get it all done" in one term.
If you have read this far and hunger for more topsy-turvy, consider this: no Democrats contested in the Iowa caucuses; out of the Republican field Mitt Romney beat out Rick Santorum by a mere 8 votes, both candidates winning 25% of the vote; Ron Paul faded into third with 21%; the rest of the field were distant also-rans. So who was the big winner in Iowa? Cue Mr. Brainiac:
Hours before the election was called for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Vice President Al Gore called the race … For President Barack Obama. Mr. Gore:It’s kind of a cliche, I guess, but the bottom line for me was that this was a good night for Barack Obama. I think that the contest on the Republican side has really dismayed a lot of Americans. Seven different leaders, really an unusual kind of campaign.*
To give credit to the people of Iowa, think about all that we now know about all these candidates and their positions, and what in-depth reporting has been about them and their positions. It’s democracy at work, in one way, I just wish that big corporate money hadn’t played such a big role. But again, I think this was a good night for Barack Obama.
I think it was pretty bad night, actually, for Mitt Romney – a great night for us.
Mr. Obama, the Michigan J. Frog of politics. Great performance for an audience of one. Himself.
* Whatever Mr. Gore's point is we can't say, but the Democrats fielded 8 candidates at the start of the 2008 primaries, six of whom contested in that year's Iowa Democrat Caucuses. [Pause.] Really an unusual kind of campaign.