While the right used to be furious at Obama for being too liberal, a borderline socialist who was acting like an emperor and attempting to turn the country into a Muslim nation, they have now hit on another argument which seems to be resonating better with Independents. He's ineffective, helpless and hopeless, in over his head. Instant jump from too much to too little and since it worked with Carter and Gore, they figure it will again. They might be right on it working. Basically until recently, it looked like this race would be decided by the middle. Now I am not so sure.
Obama's bigger problem is he has pretty well lost his base in his attempt to stick to the middle and cater to business as much as he can. He did it through continuing the wars, through not ending rendition. He has worked to please the right, or so it seems when he talks about Social Security being up for weakening and his reluctance to do what he could to get single payer for health insurance. The right thought he was a socialist? The left thinks he didn't go far enough.
What he gained for this, I don't know, but he seems, for having everybody think he was a great communicator, to have lost the ability to communicate any reasons. Which has led to the left turning on him for being an extension of Bush. They are so unhappy that they are ready to consider sitting out 2012 or even vote for an alternative candidate thereby ceding the election to James Richard Perry. They'd rather have someone who wasn't a progressive than someone who claimed to be but worked against every cause in which they believe. It's not a totally illogical stance.
The latest heresy by Obama was stopping the EPA from enforcing stricter ozone rules for LA. This was basically the last straw for environmentalists who really have nowhere to go but feel it hasn't made much difference who gets the presidency if they all do the same thing to the environment.
The EPA decision wasn't as simple as it sounds on the surface. First of all it was going to be evaluated in 2013 regardless of what was done right now. Second if they did change the rules, it is claimed, because the rules were ahead of the technology and the financing, it would have led to rolling blackouts for the city. You think he's unpopular now, imagine that happening in the heat of a summer or cold of a winter. Obama decided to put off the decision on changing the regulations until that 2013 evaluation. Definitely nuanced governing, which it turns out has been what he does a lot, but it pleases nobody.
Now there is no doubt what Perry would do about this decision. The problem for Obama is that doesn't make it okay with his base what he did. They feel betrayed and it wasn't just this but a whole string of things which are being talked about in every left wing political blog.
I don't know if he's weak or just thinks too much. He comes across looking like he's lost his moorings and is operating in a zone where he doesn't have a set of personal values that help him take a stand even when it's unpopular. It is early yet, but is it already too late for him to change the view Americans are coming to have of him.
The problem for Democrats is where does that leave them in 2012? I remember when some voted for Nader in 2000 because they were purists and the end result was Gore lost, and Bush showed us how bad a right wing president can be. We are still suffering for that and have zero reason to believe Perry won't be more of the same or worse. Yes, you can get worse and from everything I have read about Perry's record, about his character, he will be worse.
I don't even know what an alternative left wing candidate would be if the left truly wanted somebody to challenge Obama in the primaries. Certainly Bernie Sanders, likeable as he is, as an avowed socialist and without personal charisma, can't win a national election. Is there anybody else out there on the left who could? Does anybody really believe Hillary would have been farther left than Obama if she had been chosen to run against McCain? She has the Clinton record for us to look at the deals with China, the ruination of financial regulations, and the duplicity behind the scenes. That would be better? She's more hawkish than Obama. Practically speaking I don't think she'd choose to shut down electricity for a major city if it meant people living in it would suffer. Why wasn't the technology developed? Because of the cost of wars she has supported.
There is only a very slim possibility that the right will nominate Huntsman as a candidate for the left to get behind. The articles I have seen and polling seem to show Republicans wanting revenge for Obama and an extremist as their choice. They are in no mood to compromise as is shown by how they are governing in the House and with the governorships they won in 2010. Huntsman is falling far behind. The argument also is he thinks too much and is too soft. Basically he'd be another Obama.
If Americans want bluster and it's all they really respect, if they don't actually like nuances despite saying they do, well it looks to me like it's going to be President Perry and another lesson in what that means to the country when you let a far right winger have that kind of power.
Interestingly they say Republicans aren't asking Perry social questions. There is a reason for that. They don't want him exposed for what he'll do on the social issues and if you look at his rhetoric, there is little doubt what he'll do. Liberals who want to punish Obama for being a disappointment might find it backfires.
I don't hold Obama unaccountable for this mess. Maybe though he just wasn't up to the job. It might be not many people are unless they think black and white and take into account nothing but their partisan agenda. It might be what it takes to at least keep your base happy.
One final thought for Democrats who are discouraged-- Supreme Court.
Bush gave us Alito and Roberts.
Obama gave us Sotomayor and Kagan.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg has announced her plans to retire during the next presidential term.
What do you suppose a Rick Perry will give us?