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Susan Estrich
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President Obama's Great Bad Week


President Barack Obama's campaign had a great and much-needed terrible week or so: bad economic news (that keeps on coming), questions about leaks of national security information (When you leak a target list that makes the president look tough, is that politically motivated? When you do it in June, when no one's paying attention, is that so politically stupid that they couldn't be that stupid?), not to mention being outraised by Mitt Romney and the RNC in a month when the president raised $60 million, and getting killed in Wisconsin, which is how it looked even if they tried to make it look like he wasn't really involved.

That's most people's definition of a very bad week.

You don't have to see this week's polls to know that Obama didn't move up last week.

There are cycles to campaigns, as the talking heads have been saying. Sen. John Kerry outraised George W. Bush in the month after he clinched the nomination for the presidency. Republicans continue to depend far more heavily on big donors than small ones, which plays to both their fundraising base and their political weakness. It's a long way to November. Yada, yada.

But the truth is that many Democratic insiders, notwithstanding the very insecure economy, have been feeling a little more secure than they should. They were starting to believe the conventional wisdom that Romney is a weak candidate, shackled by his ties to the wealthy, stiff and unappealing, too rich, too Wall Street, too boring. I can't recall the last conversation I had with a smart Democrat that didn't conclude, after the usual bashing of Obama's strategy or speech or most recent "joke," with the assessment that, regardless of all that, "Obama wins."

This is not 2008.

You don't get to go to rallies and feel like the world is changing and the earth is moving and "yes, we can."

Obama actually did many of the things he said he would, but the sausage making got in the way. And some of it turned out to be much tougher than it looked. And Washington did not change. And a lot of money got spent.

And people are still unemployed in unacceptable numbers.

Four more years is not the inevitable result, even if the bumbling Republican nomination contest made it look that way. Bill Clinton may have been off the reservation temporarily, but no one has ever suggested that he's grown stupid since becoming the first Democrat since FDR to win two terms. If he's off the reservation, it's because there are troubles on the reservation. If other Democrats weren't seeing this, maybe now they will.

Of course, the result is probably an even less fun campaign.

It's fun to run for reelection when the economy is on the rebound. You can make beautiful ads about it being "morning in America" and clever but not exactly transparent ads about the bear in the forest, like Ronald Reagan did in 1984. You can watch your opponent making five stops a day, while you get your message out in two. You can do big rallies where you ask people if they are better off than they were four years ago and they say "yes, we are."

That is not what the Obama campaign will do. The most obvious way to win an election when you're the incumbent and the economy is still sort of in the toilet is to turn your opponent into an even bigger risk: the devil you don't know. You can't easily tell people they're better off than they think they are, so you have to convince them that it could — and would — be worse under the other guy.

It's not just about "grinding it out," as the president himself once said, with a better organization or more fliers and phone banks. It's also about taking a relentlessly negative approach in everything the campaign itself says and does. It's about independent groups diving even further into the gutter, no doubt on both sides. You certainly can expect the Republicans and their independent backers to stoop every bit as low as the Democrats, and to be flinging at least as much mud at Obama. Nice.

Every four years, just after we get done with all the talk of brokered conventions, we start warning that this campaign could be the dirtiest and most negative yet. Brokered conventions are the fantasy of bored convention watchers. A dirty and miserable campaign is a pretty safe bet, but it's better to plan for it in advance than to assume you're facing anything else.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



7 Comments | Post Comment
It's really been a terrible 3 and half years, not just one week! The Marxist and his Czars will be gone in January '13!
Comment: #1
Posted by: Early
Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:00 AM
Dear Susan,
It is nice to see that you have fallen in line with all the other pundits who are claiming this was a bad week for Obama........Please try to think for yourself and actually look at what happened this past week. First of all, for the 27th straight month, the economy ADDED jobs.....that is right ADDED jobs. What is wrong with THAT statistic? Second, The US took down another top terrorist.......What is that now since Bin Ladin was killed? Thirty something??? Nothing wrong with that. DOW at over 12,400 or more than double what it was when Bush left office (6,200) Anything wrong with that? American auto plants now running at full three shifts......The Lordstown plant in my area of Ohio is going full blast and the tool and die shops in the area that supply parts for this plant are also running double and triple shifts and are advertising to hire new workers.......What is wrong with that??? I think that the problem is that the Obama campaign staff has done a lousy job in touting the achievements of this administration.....especially that the economy is roaring back. GM had its best quarter in 13 years????? Somebody is buying those cars??? That means they have cash to spend. Because of the auto industry boom in my reagion, the auto workers have cash to spread around and the shops and restaurants are now jam packed every night. I just had two new restaurants constructed within a mile of my house that are soon to open.. What is wrong with that? The people of this area of Ohio and Western Pennsylvania know who caused this to happen. It certainly was NOT Mitt Romney who is famous in this area for saying LET "EM FAIL and now wants credit for the auto bailout??? Only the racists who hate Obama because he is black are knocking the guy using slurs like Marxist or Socialist.
Comment: #2
Posted by: robert lipka
Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:50 AM
Re: robert lipka
Cuckoo ! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Back with more idiocy !
The economy added jobs whats wrong with that statistic ? This is what is wrong. Creating a few new jobs every month is wholly inadequate to sustain equilibrium or to create growth. Twenty eight months after the passing of the stimulus and a year after the so called summer of recovery 1.9 million fewer people are employed. In February 2009 141.7 million people were employed in the US. By the end of May 2012 the number had fallen to 139.8 million [Bureau of Labor Statistics] that is down 1.9 millions.The real unemployment rate is about 11-12% with no improvement pending. The economy is not creating jobs let alone creating jobs fast enough to keep up with the socialist barack's job killing policies, over regulation and the numbers entering the labor market for the first time.The mainenance rate, [minimum job creation figure needed to just stand still] is 125,000 new aditional jobs monthly. In 2009, 2010, 2011 then 4.5 million new additional jobs were needed just to maintain equilibrium. Obama has clearly failed miserably but better just blame those racist statistics.
As for GM, since the $33 IPO price in 2010 GM stock has lost more than a third of its value. Really doing well! LOL. With billions in taxpayer bail out moneys and a playing field stacked in its favor as government motors it is hard to imagine GM failing but that is what it is doing. The Chevy Volt? What a joke !
As to only the racists that hate obama because he is black are knocking the guy using slurs like Marxist or Socialist. I hate the bastard for what he is and for his planned destruction of America not because the pos is black. That he is Socialst born out of Marxism is beyond dispute. The Socialist parties of Europe formed by the likes of Leibnecht, Bebel, Blum et al, all trace their origins to Marxism and most emerged from the trade union movements and keep close contacts with the same today as does the Democratic Party in general and barack in particular. The European welfare States routinely confiscate over half of national outputs to provide state health care, pensions, extended unemployment benefits and sundry never ending entitlements for the parasites at the expense of private producers within the State. These Socialist states have learned through failed nationalizations [we are about to learn how nationalization always fails] that it is easier for the State to leave enterprise in private hands and then to coerce it [and ultimately intimidate and destroy it] by taxation and regulation into contributing more than its fair share to what the State deems the social welfare. {"PR Gregory"} This is precisely what obama is doing. This is Socialism/Marxism. He is a Socialist born out of Marxism and any amount of screaming racism, the last argument of aevery dimwit liberal will not change that fact.
Comment: #3
Posted by: joseph wright
Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:25 AM
Joseph I think you'd enjoy Thomas Sowells new article explaining that BHO (boy barrack) is not a socialist, but a facist. He Does not want the government to own the means of production. If that were the case, when the economy fails, he fails. He wants the government to control production, but leave ownership in private hands. That way he can force companies to do whatever her wants, yet when they raise prices he call call it corperate greed. Calling BHO a socialist does not do his insidous plan justice.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:56 AM
President Obama is a National Socialist most likely as you say. The probelms that we face in this modern world are similar to the problems faced by England at the beginning of the 20th century. We have lost most of our manufacturing base and need to be bailed out because we at attempting to run a service economy. Unfortunately, there is no one to bail us out as we did in WWI and WWII. An economy that runs on me doing your wash and you doing mine cannot self sustain.
Comment: #5
Posted by: GKChesterton
Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:00 AM
Re: Chris McCoy
I agree. Does the following ring true about obama, progressives and the Democratic party ? "totalitarian, in that it views everything as political and holds any action by the state is justified to acheive the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well being, and seeks to impose unifirmity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything including the economy and religion must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the problem ans therefore defined as the enemy." I say that it is an entirely accurate pen picture of them all. The "it" is Liberal Fascism as properly defined by Jonah Goldberg in his book of the same name. The boy barack is as you rightly say a Fascist, but then again all Fascists are of the left and first Socialists.
Comment: #6
Posted by: joseph wright
Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:07 AM
The reason President Obama did not inform people of the health care overhaul is because he did not read it. He had absolutely no idea what is in it. Pelosie and gang wrote the law. They were not informed enough to do it. I really do nor believe Mr. Obama had very much education in Constitutional law We will never really know the extend of his education because it is all hidden with the rest of his history. If he did study it extensively he would be much more in depth as a President. He is sliding quickly over surfaces. This is very sad for our country.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Phyllis Sandvos
Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:59 PM
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