I’ve made this point before. Conservatives continue to underestimate President Obama’s re-election chances. Among the indicators they are using are recent election results, beginning with Scott Brown in 2009, then the 2010 midterms, and now the Scott Walker recall denial as well as the cities of San Jose and San Diego, California to reign in pension benefits for city government workers.
I heard a caller on Michael Savage’s show the other day trying to explain to the incredulous Savage that none of these results were harbingers of what’s to come for President Obama in his bid for re-election in November. The caller put it simply and eloquently: Obama the man was not the subject of any of those elections. When it comes to this man, the young people swoon and gush. Take Obama out of the equation and, by God, people may actually apply common sense to their votes.
Sure, I get the argument that the post-2008 election results would seem to be overwhelming rejections of Obama’s policies. However, we still don’t know whether that will translate when the time comes to vote for or against Obama the Persona, or Obama the Myth, as one might call the phenomenon of how the man is presented by the media.
I’m guessing that, for example, in the city of San Jose, private sector Democrats also voted to reign in pension benefits for city workers. Does that mean they are going to vote for Mitt Romney in November?
It all comes back to my point from a few weeks ago, which is that presidential campaigns are often personality contests, I postulate. Obama’s “slow-jam” personality was not on the any of those aforementioned ballots.
I once knew of a woman who steadfastly refused to vote for Ronald Reagan for one reason: she could not stand the sight of his turkey neck and couldn’t stomach the thought of having to see it displayed in nightly newscasts for 8 years. Thus, I submit for your approval the “TNF” – the Turkey-Neck Factor. (Incidentally, Hillary Clinton, according to this rule, would not fare well in subsequent elections; have you seen her lately?)
The point is that these other races were local. People vote on local issues for different reasons. Often they are voting for someone they’ve never even seen or heard. The Presidential race is different. People, not all but certainly some, want affability. Now, we can debate whether Obama is genuinely likable or not, but the Obama Persona clearly is.
Conservative pundits who seem downright giddy lately should not underestimate the power of the Obama Persona or the chances that Obama the Likable beats Mitt the Stiff (as he’s portrayed by the media) this November. Evidence to support this? Well, even as post-2008 election results have seemingly been plebiscites on Obama’s record, Obama still leads in the Gallup Poll, albeit by a point or two only, over Romney.