Published June 18, 2012
It's official. Barack Obama has written off the white working class. As matters of theme and substance, the president has walked away from nearly two-fifths of the electorate. On Thursday night, Mr. Obama held a tony fundraiser in Manhattan hosted by Vogue's Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and "Sex & the City's" Sarah Jessica Parker.
A day later, the president granted amnesty to 1.4 million illegal aliens so that they could compete for jobs with unemployed American citizens.
The president is looking more desperate than bold.
At the beginning of Obama's reelection bid the campaign presented two competing strategies. One road to reelection had Obama looking to narrow his 18 point deficit with the white working class. It would have meant holding a dialogue with the same folks whom Obama claimed "cling" to God and their guns.
The other way was for Obama to maintain the upstairs-downstairs coalition of wealthy whites and poorer minorities that got Obama elected. Think Wall Street and New York's 125th Street or Penny Pritzker and Al Sharpton.
Ms. Pritzker is an heiress to the Hyatt hotel fortune. In her own right she was a director of a bank that went bust, that in turn needed a federal takeover. She ran Obama’s money operation in 2008, but took herself out of the running for Obama's Commerce Secretary when she realized that her bank failure would be a confirmation issue.
Al Sharpton? He’s the civil rights activist turned MSNBC anchor who gets mocked by "Saturday Night Live;" has Obama show up at his birthday party; and is the president’s messenger to the street and the boardroom.
But here's the rub. With unemployment stuck over 8 percent, the administration overtly hostile to large scale energy extraction programs and pipelines like Keystone, and the president and the high end of his base more concerned about same-sex marriage than about creating jobs for unemployed dads of all races and ethnicities, the white working class got the hint. They are now heading toward the exits in droves.
Barack Obama is not cool like FDR or John Kennedy or Bill Clinton. Rather he is aloof. The whole world sees it and the president does not care.
So where does that leave Obama? Looking to stitch together 270 electoral votes with a high-end-low end coalition that got him elected. Except, this time it won't be so easy.
This time out, Wall Street is going Republican, not Democratic. Heck, even Penny Pritzker's brother is supporting Mitt Romney. Unlike John McCain, who knew about marrying rich but was clueless about the economy, Mitt Romney made own money in the world of private equity and markets.
And while hedge fund dads may be married to Planned Parenthood moms, both know inept when they see it. And Obama has been a dud on the economy. These days, the stock market doesn't know which way to go, the Eurozone is a mess, GDP is anemic and employment at home is bleak.
What is the president to do? Make a play for demographic and social minorities and single educated white women.
Dining with and passing the hat around to friends of Ms. Wintour -- who is reported to be angling for an ambassadorship -- and Ms. Parker -- who seems stuck in her HBO Carrie Bradshaw role -- is now a necessity.
Sticking it to America's unemployed by telling illegal immigrants that you are welcome to stay via executive order is a matter of electoral survival.
The president is fighting for his political life and he knows it. Barack Obama needs a a political lifeline, fast.