None of the hostility that gets expressed toward Barack Obama surprises me. The people who opposed him back in ’08 made it very clear their hostility went far beyond their mere preference for the opposition candidate.
|OBAMA: An 82 percent split|
In fact, my lingering memory of Election Night 2008 isn’t the Obama victory speech he made from Grant Park. It is the sound of hostility that came from the McCain camp as he tried to say all the right things to bring the country together.
THAT CROWD WASN’T buying it then. And nothing that has happened since then has changed their collective mindset.
So am I surprised to see or hear of incidents that imply there are people who are eagerly looking forward to Nov. 6 as the date they begin to erase the memory of Obama from the national mindset?
That’s what it is all about. The volume from the Obama critics (there’s probably a harsher word that would be more appropriate to describe them, but I’m going to maintain my decorum for now) stirs up some of the apathetic types of our society who don’t really know what they think.
But they figure there has to be something to what all these cranky people are shouting about.
THE $100,000 QUESTION for Nov. 6 is whether the combination of those people who actually bother to vote on Election Day will total 50 percent – plus 1.
Or is the combination of Obama backers and more rational people in our society enough to create a majority of voters to give Obama one more term in the Oval Office?
There are those who think all these debates that have occurred in recent weeks, along with the town hall-style meeting scheduled for Tuesday between Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, have actually closed the gap that once existed because of apathy toward Romney himself.
|CLINTON: Mr. Popularity, compared to Obama|
I don’t know about that. Personally, I think all the debates will do is intensify the feelings people already had.
WITH APOLOGIES TO the memory of the film “Spinal Tap,” the ideologues who already had their amplifiers turned up to “11” to spout their rhetoric are now trying to figure out how to crank it up to “12” or “13.”
It’s going to be a close election regardless of the outcome – even though the most hard-core types of both sides want to believe there is some scenario that will result in a blowout for their side.
Yet I just can’t see that happening.
Consider a recent Gallup Organization poll that acknowledges the partisan split in our nation that has intensified since the days of Ronald Reagan as president. There has been no universally-beloved president during the past third of a century.
YET EVEN BY those standards, Obama has created a split. Their poll showed 90 percent of people identifying themselves as Democrats approving of the president, compared to only 8 percent of Republicans – an 82 percent split.
Even Bill Clinton, whose presence in the White House was detested by the ideologues, only generated a 63 percent split in his 1996 re-election bid.
George W. Bush had a close partisan split when he ran for re-election in 2004 (80 percent). But even he got double digit support (albeit barely) from self-identified Democrats.
This really is going to be the election cycle where people ask themselves, “Who do I hate the most?” Then, they vote against that person’s opponent!
WHICH IS THE real reason we ought to be bothered by the half-wit comments of someone like the son of former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson.
Jason Thompson, who spoke this weekend at a Republican brunch organized just across the state line in Kenosha County, told the partisan crowd that this election cycle could be, “the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago, or Kenya.”
It’s a stupid comment, a bad joke. A part of me thinks it’s too petty to get worked up over.
Yet the part that gets to me is the crowd reaction, as reported by the Associated Press. They laughed, and at least one woman adding that she would start “taking donations for that Kenya trip.”
THIS KIND OF rhetoric does nothing but encourage the hostile types that there might be something legitimate to the hang-ups that have dominated their lives for the past four years – and likely will continue to bother them should Obama get re-elected three weeks from Tuesday.
What comes next? “Impeach Obama” signs posted everywhere?