Robert's Virtual Soapbox

(or, The Sanctimonious Professional Leftist's Blog)
MARCH 26, 2012 4:06PM

Obama’s ‘Etch-A-Sketch’ moment?

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So this exchange between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev was caught on a live microphone today:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this – this can be solved, but it’s important for him [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

Is this going to become Obama’s “Etch-A-Sketch” moment? That is, is Obama going to be pilloried for playing the game of politics the way that it is played?

A spokesperson for Mittens Romney was criticized for having simply pointed out the obvious fact that a fall presidential campaign is different from the primary season presidential campaign — duh.* If you don’t tailor your message to your audience — and the national audience is very different from a deeply partisan audience — then you’re a clueless fucktard who is going to fail with your audience. (Thankfully, it is Prick Santorum’s apparent refusal to modify his far-right-wing, “Christo”fascist message that will prevent him from ever sitting in the Oval Office.)

Not dissimilarly, Obama was uttering an obvious political truth: that a U.S. president has a degree of freedom in his (or, someday, her) second term that he (or she) does not have in his or her first, when re-election still is a consideration. It’s not Obama’s fault that a U.S. president is granted only two four-year terms and thus is a “lame duck” in his or her second term. As much as the wingnuts love to blame everything on the nation’s first black president, that political constriction is what he inherited.

Those who don’t recognize these obvious political realities are ignoramuses, and those who do recognize them but who nonetheless attempt to use them as political weapons are hypocrites unless they are trying to change the current political climate themselves. (And, of course, they’re not.)

Still, it’s not as though Obama has carte blanche in his second term. (I can’t see myself voting for President Hopey-Changey again, but I believe that he most likely will be re-elected.) Obama during his second term still would have the consideration of keeping the Oval Office in the hands of his own party come November 2016, so while his second term would give him more political wiggle worm than he has had thus far, I don’t expect a second Obama term to be much more aggressively progressive than has been his first term (which is a huge reason why I’m not giving him a penny this second go-around and why I very most likely will not give him my vote a second time).

Obama will prove to be, I surmise, far more cautious in his second term than was “President” George W. Bush, who bragged about the shitload of “political capital” that his 2004 “re”-election “win”** supposedly gave him, even though Bush had garnered only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004.

While Bush sat on his laurels during his second term as the unelected-but-U.S.-Supreme-Court-coronated monarch of America, Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 pretty much swept away his party’s chances of keeping the White House come November 2008. (Recall that on the day that Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast, August 29, 2005 — and would leave more than 1,800 confirmed dead in its wakeBush was in Arizona having birthday cake with John McCainosaurus to celebrate the latter’s 69th birthday, even though forecasters had predicted at least two days in advance that Katrina likely was to be devastating to the Gulf Coast.)

In his second term I expect Barack Obama to be much more vigilant than that.

*Of course, given Mittens’ reputation as a flip-flopper, the Team Mittens spokesperson could have chosen his words much better than to have uttered: “I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”

It was quite foreseeable that the “Etch-A-Sketch” comparison would boomerang.

**The pivotal state of Ohio probably was stolen in 2004, just as the pivotal state of Florida most definitely was in 2000.

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A President may have a bit more latitude during a second term, but those members of Congress facing re-election have a different attitude, and thus they are not willing to cut him slack. God help us if the Repugs are even less cooperative in an Obama second term!
We are going to hear this -- a lot -- Drudge was screaming it at the top of his page early. It will be interesting to see how the President spins this, hopefully he will just say what you said -- it's the way of the world and nothing happens in an election year -- be patient and there will be more wiggle room next year. I do see it as a bit different in that good Gov Romney is swearing he's changed to a crazy person, I mean he keeps committing to wingnuttiness.....
Yes, Tom, I expect Barack Obama to feel Bill Clinton's pain in terms of how their second terms will compare... And since you bring it up, it seems to me that two-year terms for the House are too short (so that members of the House spend too much of their time campaigning) and six-year terms for the Senate are too long (we can be stuck with a shitty senator for years, literally, before we can vote him or her out of office). I think that four-year terms would be fine for both the House and the Senate.

Marty'sHusband: Yes, in this season everything that Obama says and does and doesn't say and do is going to be considered for its usefulness as campaign fodder. I already saw in an Associated Press news story that Mittens "Etch-A-Sketch" Romney already has latched on to "openmicgate," which was predictable and is as pathetic as it is hypocritical, especially for the likes of Romney, who has been playing presidential politics for years now.

Yes, indeed, White House response to "openmicgate" that I have seen thus far indeed only reinforces the fact that Obama is only playing the game the way that the game is played. I am happy to see this, happy to see Team Obama stand its ground against the Repugnican Tea Party traitors who claim to give a shit about the entire nation when in fact they care only about a minority of Americans, including the plutocrats and the "Christo"fascists who support them.

I also am gratified to see that Team Obama isn't running away from the term "Obamacare" but is using the word on T-shirts and on bumper stickers and the like.

Run away from the bullies' rhetoric and they'll keep bullying you; embrace their rhetoric and you disarm them to a great degree.

This is some fairly good campaigning for a Democrat/"Democrat." Usually the Dems/"Dems" put their tails between their legs and curl up into the fetal position when they are under attack.
Last sentence of my next blog entry 1962..."After a tour of the 12,000 US forces in Vietnam, Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield advised JFK to pull out. Kennedy replied that he planned to withdraw but that first he had to get re-elected."

Funny how history tries to repeat itself. Here's hoping that Obama has the chance to get re-elected.
Medvedev says "yeah"? This is the most appalling bit of wouldbe imposed USA hegemony I've seen in the last ten whole minutes. :-(

Screw you, smart ass! This was NOT my "Etch-A-Sketch" moment!!

It was my "Hungry, Hungry Hippo" moment.