Why Obama Can Win in 2012

In fall 2007 self-proclaimed black conservative Shelby Steele wrote a short book A Bound Man: Why We are Excited about Obama and Why He Can’t Win and of course Steele was left having defend mercilessly not just the thesis of his book, but also the title of his book shortly after 11 pm EST on November 4th, 2008. Steele actually just chalked it up to a marketing ploy to get people to buy his books.  Sure. And Sarah Palin titled her book “Going Rogue” because she knew what the word “rogue” meant and could use it in a sentence.

Obama’s candidacy and ultimate election was probably more monumental because of the unprecedented sweep of Democrats into Congress.  The Democrats secured a 60-seat filibuster proof majority and still maintained a comfortable enough majority in the House.  Never in my short life time had I seen such a swing of power.  Much of the Bush administration was marked by a Senate split 50-50 with Vice President Dick Cheney as the tie-breaking vote and even GOP controlling the House, and a Supreme Court that usually erred on the side of conservative values.

That being said, many of us, myself included have criticized the way President Obama has handled himself in some instances.  That was really code word amongst black people that we wanted him, in the words of Average Bro, to “channel his inner Negro” and be more like Principal Joe Clark rather than the one who drove around Miss Daisy.  Those instances led to fiery barbershop and beautyshop discussions no doubt following the Henry Louis Gates comment during the press conference last summer, how he responded to South Carolina U.S. congressman Joe Wilson’s “You Lie!” outburst during a joint address to Congress last fall, and even recently how Obama and also the Obama White House has reacted and responded to FoxNews in the wake of the Shirley Sherrod situation.  Fact of the matter is that aside from a rousing State of the Union speech where Obama gut checked the GOP party for being the “party of No” and reiterated the phrased “let me be clear” to drive home is point, Obama’s never lost his cool.  Aside from the “who’s ass to kick” comment surrounding the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, we really haven’t gotten a sense of anger mixed with urgency from Obama.

But this isn’t yet another post trying to dissect issues of “blackness” surrounding Obama and his character and how he handles himself in the White House, there’s been enough blog posts from others about that. No, I want to discuss why Obama can win in 2012.  That is barring anything catastrophic in the next two years before election day 2012.

Reason number 1. Obama’s list of accomplishments. Seriously, since Obama has been in office, about 90% of what he’s done has turned to gold.  Here’s just a short list of things he’s accomplished just off of the top of my head.

  1. Suspended military proceedings at Guantanamo Bay
  2. Released TARP funding (the Stimulus Bill)
  3. Lifted restrictions on stem cell research
  4. Allowed for the cash for clunkers
  5. Got universal health care passed (or least put it in the works)
  6. Got financial regulatory reform passed
  7. Got two women confirmed and appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court
  8. The beginning draw down of troops overseas

And those are issues pertaining to legislation.  Not to mention that the bailing out of the automobile industry actually seems to have been a good idea because it kept them afloat and has indeed kept jobs.  Obama has survived the BP oil crisis.  Seriously, by October the country, collectively won’t even remember that crisis.  And this combined with Obama’s still rockstar status.  The guy is a PR director’s dream.  Obama is good to keep up appearances and can still draw a crowd of supporters wherever he goes.

Granted the new Wall Street regulations from all accounts is really just business as usual, I think Obama gets credit insofar that getting legislation looked at is a step in the right direction.  Same with healthcare.  I still can’t go to any hospital I want and get medical treatment paid for by some governmental agency if I don’t have healthcare from an HMO.

Reason number 2. People don’t think he’s an evil person. Bush seriously had an image problem by the time he left office and there wasn’t much spin that conservative pundits could do about it.  Discounting FoxNews as a legitimate news source, Bush had engaged this country in two wars concerning terrorism overseas that at the time seemed interminable and had done a pretty decent job of tanking the economy.  Surpluses were deficits not just in federal government coffers, but in state and municipalities nationwide; mothers and fathers were burying their children as war casualties and hanging yellow ribbons on tree-lined suburban neighborhoods and Bush’s approval rating plummeted to the upper 20th percentile. An unheard of low.

Obama’s image problem comes from the Tea Party movement and that’s about it.  And even if Tea Party backed GOP candidates such as Rand Paul from Kentucky, Sharron Angle from Nevada or even Nikki Haley for governor in South Carolina were to actually win, it still speaks to general voting patterns.  It’s certainly not unusual in history for electorates to vote for the opposing party when it comes to mid-term elections.  The Democrats possibly losing the House or the Senate still wouldn’t dictate him losing in 2012.

Reason number 3. The Republican Party is in complete disarray. Never has the Republican party been so off message in recent history. And this is thanks to the Tea Party movement, the personhood of one Sarah Palin and the foolishness at FoxNews cable network station.  Granted its very early for Republican front-runners to begin campaigning in earnest, and certainly early to have announced candidacy for the Presdient of the United States, honestly, can anyone really see a viable Republican candidate. From a sea of candidates, in no particular order, I’ve heard Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin (of course), Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh from Indiana to utter conservatives such as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour or relative political newbie Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

And none of the aforementioned is ready to go against a Barack Obama in the campaign season.

Additionally, the Tea Party is so off-center from traditional GOP members it’s not even funny.  The campaign of Sharron Angle is pure comedy with her wanting to abolish the Department of Education, the IRS tax code and even the withdrawal of the U.S. from the United Nations.  Granted she’s not running for a national office, but seriously, this is the level of absurdity that the Tea Party is backing.  And no self-respecting old school conservative would ever talking out the side of their neck as such.

And then there’s the Michael Steele fool factor component.

The guy’s a walking joke.  He has no credibility in the black community.  Honestly, black folks have more respect for…well, let’s not tell a lie and say your average black person has any respect for a black Republican, so dismiss what I was about to say.


All in all, Obama has had a pretty decent past 19 months or so.  Especially compared to the progression of things in the Bush administration.  Yes, we should hold his feet to the fire and criticize him as we see fit.  He’s only a man, and an elected official at that.  We, as the citizens of this country have our God-given right to criticize.  My criticism is not warranted on how others may view it, but based upon my own convictions.  The right-wing media makes it their duty and calling in life to twist speech for their own good–I’m not worried about them.

While Obama has done good for this country, the uber-progressive inside just wishes he would do more and go a little farther.  I wished he had pushed for the public-option in universal health care.  Frankly, can we even call it universal health care without a public option.  And as I said earlier this Wall Street reform seems like the same b.s. warmed over.

But he’s a politician, what can we say.

What are some accomplishments that you can think of under the Obama administration?  What are some legitimate criticisms you have?  Who do you think are legitimate GOP contenders for the 2012 election?

Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL

13 thoughts on “Why Obama Can Win in 2012

  1. nice post. I agree with your 3rd reason 100%. as a “black Republican” myself, I feel that we as a nation are focused on the wrong things at this time and need a candidate who will not only do what I feel is right for this nation, but what IS right for this nation NOW. Issues such as immigration, education, and foreign policy should all be addressed FIRST (IMO) and if I can find a candidate who comes even close to my standards, then they have my support (whether Republican or *clears throat* you know…that donkey thingee. LOL.

    again, great post man.

  2. I’m still a solid Obama supporter myself. He’s done things I don’t particularly agree with, and he’s fickle at times, but I suppose I can understand some of his motives. Overall I really think he has done a good job as President. I think one thing he has done has bring politics into greater focus in the black community. I feel that we have become more engaged as a whole (I know I have) and I hope to see more voter confidence during election season. I do however honestly fear for this country if some of these more conservative voices get elected. Palin is out for the money. I honestly don’t believe she really cares about any policy or person she’s promoting. As long as she can stay in the limelight by saying the most ridiculous things she’ll get paid. Angle and these tea party candidates are following in her footsteps. I find it interesting that you don’t see too many tea partiers in the news protesting anymore. Now that healthcare is passed they must have realized that the govt is actually trying to give them more help. But wait, that goes against their policy of not taking hand outs. I’m interested in seeing where this election season takes us. And if the republicans regain senate majority and give even bigger tax cuts to the upperclass, I moving to Canada.

    1. I don’t think that Palin cares about the issues, but I think she DOES sincerely care about what she THINKS the issues are. Her type’s worldview is so simplistic and one dimensional, that they can get all riled up over stuff that generally doesn’t reflect anything going on in real life, but it’s sure real to them.

      She’s also a hustler, though. It’s possible to be both, I think.

  3. Good post. Needed to hear it at this time. Thanks Uppity.

    We must stay focused. Our passionate support moves this nation toward a more perfect union. We cannot afford to let the perfect ideal undermine the good (and steady) progress being made by this administration led by President Obama.

    Change happens and it is progressive. Fear and loathing of ‘other’ sells to low information Americans who long for a return to the 1950s. Rupert Murdoch controlled media is about power and ‘ownership’ of corporate ‘persons’ and the undermining of a free press. The teapeople who yell, scream, and those who foam at the mouth about their ‘rights’ appear to not realize the importance of freedom of the press as stated in the first amendment of the US Constitution. When the press is owned, the best we get is t a lot of concocted distractions from ‘conservative’ talk shows hell bent on pushing an agenda that destroys the middle class and which refuses to even consider the poor.

    Keep on keeping it uppity.

  4. 1) Evan Bayh is a Democrat, he is stepping down after this term, and though he may be very conservative (at least in rhetoric) he won’t run for GOP. But I think he’d be a great Independent candidate, cuz he also wasn’t quite cut out (or didnt wanna be) for the VP spot. (a Bayh-Bloomberg ticket could be financially and ideologically unstoppable for example)

    2) I agree that the Tea Party is the GOP’s Achilles heel because they would rather yell and holler than try to have an honest debate about how to implement the fiscal restraints that are NON-NEGOTIABLE. The blatant Islamophobia + blatant homophobia + blatant Immigrant xenophobia + ever-growing negative racial undertones (“I want my cuntry back” is a phrase that makes my blood boil personally)! All these values are permanently damaging to their party. However, it’s also a catch-22 cuz candidates gotta cater to reliable base voters in the near future.

    3) IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID!!! I just read an opinion (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/10/AR2010081004222.html) piece about how Clinton changed post-94 to regain legislative success, Obama will likely have to make similar moves. Now of course I believe the personal appeal factor and his intellectual cool will help persuade a lot of unsure voters, but ultimately he needs to get some job growth going and that means more than construction projects, which is the only thing I see around the streets of Ohio.

    1. @ RevSev

      I said VERY early on in his administration that Obama should have been more FDR and less Abraham Lincoln. With all economist crying this was the worst since the Depression, wouldn’t that automatically mean to shift in FDR type of job creation. Seriously, the infrastructures of many cities, towns and rural areas haven’t seen serious improvement SINCE the FDR administration. Public works projects certainly could have been created–particularly in the wake of the Twin Cities Mississippi bridge disaster. That combined with Obama’s Green jobs initiatives—i haven’t heard of ANYTHING. That could have been a MAJOR reworking of the manufacturing sector that would have created jobs–of which we haven’t seen a lot of.

      Just a WSJ article I read today, that in some sectors (service sector mainly), jobs are opening, but people aren’t applying because they’d be making way less than what they had been.

  5. Sorry, but I disagree with most of the points here.
    On the accomplishments list, apart from 3, 4, and 7, there are enormous qualifiers that render those feats either impotent, misleading, or hollow. Particularly with regards to our treatment of detainees, which has seen astonishingly little change from the previous regime, especially when viewed in the context of how much lip service was paid to change during the campaign. The healthcare bill and the financial reform bill are the products of this administration’s inexplicable tactic of bargaining from the middle, which is a way of guaranteeing that you’ll never get what you actually want. (Which leads to the entirely fair speculation that the administration only pretends to want the degree of reform that Obama campaigned on.)

    And I hate to say it, but I think many people DO think he’s an evil person. It makes no rational sense, but you see the same brainless nonsense again and again, and there seem to be more than enough of these people to sway the entire paradigm in their favor. (If there weren’t, the words “communist” and “Obama” would never appear in the same sentence anywhere.)

    And I think it’s much less true than it was earlier in the year that the GOP is in disarray, though their newly found confidence sure has nothing to do with any great accomplishments under THEIR belt. Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether the Republicans are in or out of power, because they always win no matter what. The discussion is held on their terms, they set the boundaries, they set the frames of reference, they create the narratives that the media lazily regurgitates. They just had to wait for the (embarrassing for every adult who participated) Obama honeymoon to end, then for malaise to settle in when it became clear that the economic woes weren’t going away, and then their footing was assured. The Tea Party—meh. I could be wrong, but I view it as pretty much the equivalent of the Star in Super Mario Bros. that makes you invincible for fifteen seconds or so. XD It’s something that gives this backlash a concentrated punch, but even without it, there would still be a backlash. (Digby of Hullaballoo was sadly right back in 2008 when she predicted that this administrtion was shaping up to be the Clinton-backlash 1990s all over again, but much worse this time—both because this time the economy sucks, AND because there’s race thrown into the equation.)

    As weakly as I feel this administration has performed overall so far, we shouldn’t be under any illusions as to which party today gives a damn about actual governance, and the thought of the voters turning back the other way so soon is stomach-turning. But I really do think US voters have the short-term memory sufficient enough for that to happen.

    But I will be very, very happy if I’m wrong.
    Just like I was in 2008.
    (But I still believe that McCain would have won if the economy hadn’t happened to crash at the last minute.)

    1. @ Marbles

      We can sit and debate how “real” his list of accomplishments are. I’m making the argument that come 2012 he’s going to point to them and so are the Democrats running that year as well, and the GOP opponent is going to be looking more or less dumbfounded. I gave a caveat on health care and certainly on his Wall Street reform bullcrap.

      Polling aside, the folks who think Obama is “evil” aren’t in the majority and these are the same blowhards who wouldn’t like any Democratic president. I mean, its hard to compare approval numbers between Obama and Bush and make that claim.

      The point of this article was to highlight three reasons why Obama can win in the 2012, not necessarily to pick his administration apart. Whether these are good reasons why Obama should win in 2012 are truly debatable.

      1. Fair point. You’ve indeed been on the administration’s ass on many of the things I mentioned.

        But I still believe that the political cuture is very powerfully geared in such a way that conservatives assume default control of the narrative. And he who controls the narratives, wins the elections. If the Democrats can wrestle control of the narrative on these issues away from the increasingly strong GOP grip on them, then Obama has a chance. But I don’t think it will be easy at all, because Democrats genuinely SUCK at doing that.

      2. @ Marbles

        I think folks keep forgetting Obama won the election in 2008–even after the whole Jeremiah Wright situation; a less than happy Clinton family at first–and he won by a clear margin. This wasn’t some 51%-49% election. And especially he MORE than cleared numbers needed in the electoral college–this after a president who by ALL accounts was selected for his first presidency and not elected. No matter what FoxNews and their flunkies said, Obama still won and every morning they wake up, they remember that they lost.

  6. This is a list of the reasons Obama can win against the Republican party. What about competition from members from his own party (Hillary Clinton)? I believe she is still a very viable candidate considering everyone still loves Bill.


  8. I stumbled across this post, I know its a few months late. But I a a white voter. At this time I think your wrong with some of your points. First off, currently I would vote someone independent if they existed.

    Reason number 1. Obama’s list of accomplishments.

    I would say this is more of a negative then a positive. Why? The more he does the more support he loses. The election will be decided by the middle. As it always is. The middle likes some things and not others. The more he does the more he loses support from independents. Negatives are stronger then Positives. As such people will view the things he does that they don’t like harsher then the things that he does they they do like. As such he is doing so much that he is killing his support from the center.

    Reason number 2. People don’t think he’s an evil person.
    Bush is now forgotten in politics. Americans are a short term people. As such if they think he is evil or not is irrelevant. What is more relevant is if he is seen as someone who can take them out of the current economic crisis and with his latest budget proposal I don’t see it.

    Reason number 3. The Republican Party is in complete disarray.
    They might be. But you don’t vote a president based on the party. You vote it based on a person. Most people didn’t see Obama coming up to win the Democratic vote in 08. If Palin wins the Republican vote it will be a easy win for Obama, but that won’t happen. There are always some decent candidates. Who we will see soon.

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