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Roger Simon
Roger Simon
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Can Obama Get His Mojo Back?


The Republicans are riding the tiger. It is the tea party tiger, and to a large extent, it is a tiger of anger, intolerance and a fair amount of looniness. (Just 41 percent of tea partiers believe President Barack Obama was born in the United States.)

Tigers run very fast and very well, but if you fall off the tiger — if, for instance, you make the mistake of saying that BP, not the federal government, is the villain in the gulf oil spill — then the tiger will consume you in a few quick bites.

The Democrats do not have a tiger at the moment, but they want one. The Democrats want the energy, the spirit, the enthusiasm, the mojo that they had after Obama's victory in 2008.

That spirit is gone, stolen by the tea partiers who wave their "Don't Tread on Me" flags, wear tri-cornered hats and carry side arms with a sense of giddy delight.

Who would have thought just months ago that the Republicans would be the party of enthusiasm? The Republicans were the party of tired, old white men, thrashed by the magnetic and mesmerizing Obama, whose words flowed like silver from his lips.

Then, a terrible thing happened: Obama began to do things. He saved the economy from disaster. He provided new medical coverage for children. He passed historic health care reform for the entire nation.

But who turned on him? Liberal Democrats. Eric Alterman, a liberal author and columnist for The Nation, wrote recently, "Few progressives would take issue with the argument that, significant accomplishments notwithstanding, the Obama presidency has been a big disappointment."

I admit, I did not read the remaining 17,000 words of the article — I am saving it for my next coma — and that is because I had trouble grappling with the phrase "significant accomplishments notwithstanding." If you toss significant accomplishments out the window, how would Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln or George Washington do by that standard?

Aren't significant accomplishments what presidents are supposed to accomplish? And isn't it more than a little unfair to toss those accomplishments aside and then judge those presidents?


Not if you judge them by the loss of their mojo. Which is how some liberals are now judging Obama.

Fear not, however, the pooh-bahs of the Democratic establishment have a plan: They are going to get Obama's mojo back by inventing their own tea party. As The Washington Post wrote Monday, "In an effort to replicate the tea party's success, 170 liberal and civil rights groups are forming a coalition that they hope will match the movement's political energy and influence."

The groups include the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza.

Already this represents a significant difference from the original tea party movement. That was — and still is — a movement in search of a leader. The Democrats have a bunch of leaders in search of a movement.

The article notes: "The effort is separate from the Democratic Party's plan to spend $50 million trying to reach those same voters." (Oh, well, what's $50 million in duplicated spending? It's not like it's real money.)

And what do you suppose the new coalition is going to spend its money on? Poverty? The environment? Education? Of course not. None of those things is exciting or energizing. None creates mojo.

"The coalition's first goal," the article said, "is to plan a march."

The planning has not been easy. In fact, it has been "arduous, debating everything from the name of the coalition to what the branding and logo should look like."

After much arduous debating, the coalition has been named One Nation. I am on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what the branding and logo will look like.

The tea partiers already have the tri-cornered hats, the rattlesnake flags and firearms as their branding.

Maybe the liberals could adopt sushi, a latte and an iPad.

As for a logo, I am thinking of a bumper sticker I saw years ago: "If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Attention."

To either side.

To find out more about Roger Simon, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at



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