Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It’s beginning to look a lot like a campaign season, ev’ry where you go

Somewhere, amidst my collection of junk, I have a couple of calendars from 2008.
OBAMA: Enough 'counting down the days' to beat him?

They were presidential campaign-themed. One was loaded with photographs of would-be Democratic nominee Hillary R. Clinton, while the other gave us multiple illustrations of eventual nominee Barack Obama. Both calendars counted down the number of days until that January ’09 date when they were to be “sworn in” as the 44th U.S. president.

FOR THOSE WHO think these were overly partisan publications, they really weren’t. Because the same company also had a version that counted down the number of days until Republican nominee John McCain took the presidential oath of office.

So it was purely a commercial money-making venture. Pick your favorite candidate and count down the months and days until Inauguration Day. The Obama version comes off as prophetic, while the Clinton and McCain versions (there may also have been one for Rudy Guiliani) wind up being wishful thinking.

Like those t-shirts for the World Series champion Texas Rangers that are now being worn by kids in isolated pockets of the globe.

What made me think of these calendars was the evidence I have seen about how hostile the mood is going to be for the 2012 election cycle. All those people who opposed Obama in ’08 have had three years to have their anger boil over.


And those of us who see this hostility as the reason that nothing can get done (Did anyone seriously expect the Congressional “Super-committee” to come up with a solution?) are just as angry.

Which is now being reflected in those same calendars now being sold for the upcoming year (and election cycle).

I happened to be browsing in a Barnes & Noble bookstore when I saw two different calendars with the same theme – counting down the days until the Obama presidency is finished.

THEY GIVE A summary of the rest of 2011, have a month-by-month offering of how many days remain in Obama’s presidential term during 2012 – and even include a partial calendar for January 2013.

One which comes to an abrupt halt on Inauguration Day – which these calendars bill as the day we get to Dump Obama!!!!!!!

Yet just as there were alternatives in 2008 so that everybody could pick a calendar that matched their ideological hang-ups, there will be choices for 2012 as well.

In this particular bookstore, they also had a calendar devoted to the concept of trashing the persona of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin – with day-by-day quotations of the more vapid statements she has made since McCain turned her into a nationally-renowned figure.

JUST IN CASE you want a reminder of the kind of people who present themselves as the alternative to Obama.

This is going to be the election cycle where people don’t talk of Hope and Change (or mock it as that Hope-y, Change-y stuff). This will be the cycle where we decide who offends us the most – and we rush out to the polling places to vote for somebody else.

Take the Washington Post, which on Monday used its website to write about a new poll analysis that contends Obama’s backers still like him.

They may be disappointed with how little he has been able to accomplish, which gets reflected in those approval ratings. Yet the Post contends that few people are thinking seriously in terms of switching sides to vote against Barack come next year.

THAT ANALYSIS NOTES a 44 percent Obama job approval rating in a Wall Street Journal/BC poll, with 45 percent personal approval ratings and the same 45 percent saying they “probably” will vote for Obama in 2012.

A simple way of viewing the situation is to say that Obama already has 45 percent of the vote, and has nearly a full year to figure out how to get the remaining 6 percent that gives him a majority.

Considering that the GOP opposition still doesn’t seem to know who it will put forth, their “frontrunners” are people who now get about 20-something percent of the primary vote, and have to gain about another 30 percent overall in order to have a chance to win come the November 2012 general elections.

There may be some people who are hell-bent on voting ABO, but their “Anybody but Obama” stance didn’t work well in ’08, and may not be successful this time around because of the numbers of people who are getting upset enough to say they’re ABGOP (as in, “Anybody but a Republican).

IT’S AN UGLY mood we’re going to see. As evidenced by the Spirit Cup NASCAR race held this weekend. Both first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden (the vice-presidential spouse) showed up for the ceremonial start of the event – and got “boo-ed” by the crowd.

I wonder how many of those people would be an Obama countdown calendar should they ever get sold by their local Wal-mart store?

There are those who are appalled because the first lady and her potential replacement were on hand in Florida for the event to also partake in a military tribute. But it shouldn’t be much of a shock that some people don’t want to believe that anybody who isn’t exactly like themselves can be sincere in participating in a military event.

Although I will give a few members of that crowd the benefit of the doubt. Because one phenomenon I have seen at sports events is a crowd that boos any political person who shows up.

PARTICULARLY IF THEY come across as self-serving with their appearance.

Which is why it always amuses me to hear former President George W. Bush tell the story about his own appearance to throw out the first pitch of a 2001 World Series game – the ballplayers warned him that if his throw was weak, the New York crowd would boo him too.


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