Nostalgia, Webster’s tells us, is a “wistful or sentimental longing for places, things, acquaintances or conditions belonging to the past.” For Barack Obama, nostalgia means turning the clock back to 2008, when the big crowds swooned and the gauzy promises of Hope & Change hadn’t yet crashed into the realities of war, high unemployment and soaring gas prices.
Despite complaints that it doesn’t have a vision for a second term, the president’s re-election team really does — you just need a rearview mirror to see it. Judging from the slant of its advertising, fund-raising and Hollywood helpers, Team Obama believes the only way their man can get four more years is to pretend the last three never happened.
You can’t blame them. If the president ran on his record, he’d lose in a landslide. So he’s not running on ObamaCare, he’s running from it.
The big idea instead is to relive his major accomplishment in life — getting elected, a historic first. Unfortunately, his standing has gone downhill since, so his handlers are trying to rekindle the magic by reminding voters of what they thought of Obama before he became president.
It’s a neat trick, reminiscent of Soviet-style air-brushing, with the difference being the Obamabots are erasing years instead of rivals.
Of course, because you can’t have a hero without a villain to vanquish, Sarah Palin is suddenly back, too. Even though she’s not a candidate, she stars in a new Obama commercial that gins her up as dangerous and ends with a plea for contributions — just like 2008 all over again.
The idea is to prop her up as a symbol of the GOP, then knock her down. It’s no coincidence that the ad piggybacks on the themes of “Game Change,” a piece of Democratic propaganda masquerading as a new HBO film about the 2008 race.
Ostensibly based on a book also unflattering to Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton as well as Republicans, the film ignores the inconvenient Clinton-Obama feud, deifies Obama and focuses like a laser on the flaws of Palin and John McCain.
With all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, it demolishes them and paints as racists and boobs most of their supporters. The claim that the movie is sympathetic to Palin is true only to the extent that it makes her a victim of larger, malevolent forces — you know, any American voter who might be tempted to dump Obama in 2012.
It’s the standard liberal meme — anybody who doesn’t see things their way is either stupid or venal.
In a telling sign of its desperation, the film uses unknown McCain campaign staffers to deliver its predictable verdict. Woody Harrelson plays the leader and — Shock! — through their eyes we see Palin exposed as unfit and even unstable.
The Hollywood clutch is complete with the dual role of Tom Hanks, a producer of “Game Change” and the narrator of a separate Obama campaign video, a 17-minute infomercial called “The Road We’ve Traveled.” Hanks’ double duty could signal he’s tired of legitimate acting and intends to devote himself to propaganda. I’d say he ought to keep his day job, except it’s hard to imagine ever watching him in anything else without being distracted by his heavy-handed politics.
The HBO film, the video, the ads, the nonstop Obama campaign speeches — they add up to a relentless media onslaught of Obama-as-savior. And it’s only March.
Happily, the facts of the real world are also relentless. Polls are showing that most voters are resisting the idea that all is well and getting better in Obama’s America.
Across the board, the president’s popularity is falling quickly, from about 50 percent back to the low-to-mid 40s. The findings came as a surprise to many in the media who bought the White House spin, which reflects their own prejudices, that Republicans are destroying themselves and Obama’s re-election is a done deal.
Then again, that’s always the basic weakness with propaganda. It can only conceal the truth temporarily.
Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist. To continue reading his column on other topics, including Vice President Joe Biden, click here.