Published September 26, 2011
President Obama made clear in his Rose Garden speech on September 19 that he has abandoned all efforts to seek accommodation with the Republicans. The president in his Rose Garden speech made it abundantly clear that he will be aligning himself with the left wing of the Democratic party going forward-- a faction which has previously accused him of selling out to the Republicans. There will be no more grand bargains, no more efforts to reach broad accommodations on tax reform, on reforming entitlements, on cutting defense, and putting together a fiscal plan for our nation's future.
Rather, the president has doubled down on tax increases, made it clear that he is going to focus on class warfare, refused to take on social security, and indicated that he would do only the most modest type of entitlement reform possible-- funded entirely by taxes on the wealthy.
The president is effectively banking on the fact that as limited as the public confidence he is that he is now engendering, the Republicans, and at this point that means Rick Perry, will engender even less confidence. Moreover, the president is effectively setting up a campaign where he will say "Think I'm bad? They're worse!"
His strategy is to offer a renewed set of arguments that appeal to the left to get them to come out. Redistribution, higher taxes, preserving social programs. His position clearly is that independents will be more put off by the Republicans than they will be his newly populous rhetoric, which will lead him to win the same sort of victory that he did in 2008, but with a mobilized constituency on the left and a disillusioned center that begrudgingly returns to him because of antipathy to the right, rather than any empathy Independents many not have or develop with his policies.
It is a discouraging set of circumstances which makes clear the point that Pat Caddell, John LeBoutllier and I have all offered on FoxNews.com Live's "Campaign Confidential" -- that there is a broad center in America that is frustrated and unrepresented, and that the American people are looking for clear alternatives to the two major parties and to their likely standard bearers.
Douglas E. Schoen is a political strategist and Fox News contributor. His most recent book is "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System" published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.