[Posted by Karl]
At Saturday night’s annual Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner, Pres. Obama delivered some of the soaring oratory which is his trademark:
“Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes,” he said, his voice rising as applause and cheers mounted. “Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”
“The future rewards those who press on,” He said. “I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.”
Let me be clear: The One has time to complain. Beneath the applause, Obama’s self-pitying appeals to racial solidarity are intended to stifle criticism inside the CBC (e.g., Reps, Maxine Waters and Emanuel Cleaver) and outside the caucus in the black community (e.g., Tavis Smiley and Cornel West).
Suppressing internal dissent is just one part of “Operation Vote,” the Obama’s campaign’s aggressive new program to expand support from minorities and other parts of the progressive base to eke out a narrow reelection in 2012. Of course, Team Obama says they have not given up on wooing independents; they cannot afford to lose them by a large margin. But William Galston (Third Way/New Dem) explains how poorly Obama and Democrats have done on with the political center:
In mid-2005, as disaffection with the Bush administration and the Republican Party was gathering momentum, the Pew Research Center asked American to place themselves and the political parties on a standard left-right ideological continuum. At that time, average voters saw themselves as just right of center and equidistant from the two political parties. Independents considered themselves twice as far away from the Republican Party as from the Democrats, presaging their sharp shift toward the Democrats in the 2006 mid-term election.
In August of this year, Pew posed a very similar question (note to survey wonks: Pew used a five-point scale, versus six in 2005), but the results were very different. Although average voters continue to see themselves as just right of center, they now place themselves twice as far away from the Democratic Party as from the Republicans. In addition, Independents now see themselves as significantly closer to the Republican Party, reversing their perceptions of six years ago.
There’s another difference as well. In 2005, Republicans’ and Democrats’ views of their own parties dovetailed with the perceptions of the electorate as a whole. Today, while voters as a whole agree with Republicans’ evaluation of their party as conservative, they disagree with Democrats, who on average see their party as moderate rather than liberal. So when Independents, who see themselves as modestly right of center, say that Democrats are too liberal, average Democrats can’t imagine what they’re talking about.
More epistemic closure and magical thinking of liberals for the establishment media to ignore.
Operation Vote may be most interesting for raising the question of what Team Obama knows (or thinks it knows) that we don’t. Recent dKos/SEIU polling showed a 77% re-elect number for Obama among African-Americans (lower than Dems overall), with 16% definitely voting against him. But modern history strongly suggests even a lame Democrat will win 85-90% of the African-American vote. And the dKos/SEIU poll also shows 68% of African-Americans are very excited about voting in 2012— edging out conservatives and Tea Partiers as the most enthusiastic 2012 demographic (although the TP takes the title including “somewhat excited” voters). Team Obama is acting like they can take nothing for granted.