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July 29, 2010

It was about time the White House PR team come up with something to fight Obama’s plummeting popularity numbers. When he’s neck on neck with a hypothetical President Palin, a solid majority wants his signature health care law repealed, Independents‘ and the Hispanic vote are slipping through his fingers, and his endorsements are more of a kiss of death than a Midas touch, you know it was time to try and reignite the Obama charm yesterday.

But whether the Obama-the-helpful-infomercial-guy shtick is going to do the trick, the French Cowboy doubts it. Nevertheless, let me say that I find Obama’s really good at this. With Obama going into politics, the world has lost a talented help desk person. Although, that might be going a step too far, as Obama’s clearly better at holding monologues than at patiently answering questions he finds annoying.

Obama’s appearance on The View is a more classic attempt to get the swoon back into politics. Will it work? If he were a White House staffer, the French Cowboy would hope for the best, but not expect miracles. (Although, if he were a White House staffer, the French Cowboy would probably not see how one cannot be mesmerised by Obama dazzle.) The female vote is more effectively attracted by Sarah Palin these days. And there are many levels on which a sympathy vote for Mme Palin translates into actual votes against Obama or his agenda.

But all is not personal charm in politics. Obama’s been long enough in office to have a history of huge but unpopular legislative “successes”, along with a plethora of smaller blunders that, looked at in isolation, might not be of big importance, but which, accumulated, show an administration that’s ideologically apart from the overwhelming majority of Americans, arrogant in style, and — maybe worst of all — incompetent.

Polls have shown that Obama has been and is quite appreciated as a person, but that this doesn’t mean that voters like his policies. To attract votes, Obama will have to make the electorate forgive and forget his last two years. And that won’t be possible without doing a couple of things that the majority of Americans actually want to see done. Obama’s most ardent supporters, though, were creatures from the far Left who are now disenchanted by their president. In order to regain Independents, Obama will have to disappoint his core supporters even more.

The alternative to moderating policies would be to turn Independents into liberals. But with Obama, Americans have had their share of super left policies and the wind is blowing in favour of conservatives now. In the French Cowboy’s opinion, the Obama enchantment is gone for good. So you can order the tool kit now:

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