In Election Year 2010, three classic political sentiments will compete to determine winners and losers: “Had Enough,” “Stay the Course,” and “Give Me That.”
“Had Enough” is in ascendancy now. Polls indicate that Americans have “had enough” in several areas, including: intelligence failures in airline (and national) security, legalistic coddling of terrorists, the “stimulus” that has stimulated unemployment, special interest bailouts and never ending debt, and elected officials who arrogantly say the hell with public opinion.
“Had Enough” pressure about the “underwear bomber” has President Obama suddenly scrambling to show responsiveness to public outrage even as he defies public concerns about health care reform, where he insists that his “Stay the Course” commitment will overcome all red flags.
He’s also asking for “Stay the Course” forbearance on other of his strategies such as: Afghanistan and the wider war against terrorists, dealing with nuclear threats from Iran, North Korea and other rogue regimes, government intervention or outright takeovers of wide swaths of the economy. Also, President Obama is focused on finding salvation for our nation through massive spending on behalf of his “green” and “climate change” priorities. And finally, he wants to see a general restructuring of America to make it look more like Europe when it comes to entitlements, wealth redistribution, taxation, powerful state employees and unions, indulgence of illegal immigrants and preference of global governance over national sovereignty.
Meantime, top Democrats who announced this week that they will not seek reelection are capitulating to “Had Enough” animus rather than “Stay the Course.” Why? Because they knew that if the asked voters to send them back to Washington or the governor's mansion they risked getting badly beaten up politically. They will slink off to a future as lawyers, lobbyists, university presidents and other pursuits to remain in the public eye while they grow rich and agitate for their pet causes.
“Give Me That” is where the political opportunities are in 2010. Voters are cynical about mere calls for “change.” They want clearly defined alternative solutions from candidates who are credible, likeable and willing to stand up for their core beliefs. At the local, state and national levels, Americans are searching for leaders whom they can support without holding their noses and voting for the lesser evil but by saying, “Give Me That!”
From our basketball-loving president comes a metaphor for how this will all play out, politically, in 2010. Right now, for Democrats, Republicans, and emerging third party alternatives like the Tea Party movement, it’s a jump ball.
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net.