Obama's brand dithers
by Jerome Armstrong, Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 05:55:11 AM EST
"We have the best brand on Earth: the Obama brand. Our possibilities are endless."Desirée Rogers, April, 2009
I'm wondering whats to become of the Obama brand now that he's a War President with his own war. I recall a post I wrote back in May of 2007, laying out the prediction that Obama would reverse himself, and find a way to oppose the supplemental war vote, while moving to his left on the issue:
I would bet that, in the end, both of them vote [Obama & Clinton] against it. Neither of them can afford to let John Edwards (or Chris Dodd for that matter) be the candidates that would end the war now. But especially Obama, as that's a big part of his brand, his credibility and his campaign.
It may be that the Obama brand I'm talking about was just for candidate Obama purposes, and the real Obama -- the pragmatic whom is most symbiotic with a pol like Evan Bayh -- is now clear to everyone, but this anti-war brand I speak of was surely real to millions of people, and entirely attributable to the portrayal of Obama's own emphasis of priority:
Now, I know there's a whole 'got Obama's back' meme thats going on now which says that people like Tom Hayden and Micheal Moore are intent on ignoring that Obama campaigned on escalating the war in Afghanistan. Aside from the fact that this is Obama's 3rd escalation of troops in Afghanistan, and the likes of Moore & Hayden held back on criticism the first two times, it really strikes me as a dishonest and cynical defense, given that Obama laid the context of such a escalation meaning about 8,000 more troops at one time, and he's instead escalated for the third time now, for a total of over 70,000 troops.
I don't believe that the voices of Hayden and Moore are fringe leftist elements that can be written off as Obama not needing to be of his base. The people who are arguing alongside Obama in favor of a third escalation of troops, the neocon Palin & York types, are never going to support Obama. It may be, that he had a Hobson choice, and though I think of it more as a false dilemma created by Obama himself, regardless of how he got to being a War President, it seems obvious that the Obama brand lost something in going there.
Again, I'll grant 'the backers' with the realist nuance of Obama having verbalized, at times, that what he had in mind was a here-for-there continuance of enduring war; that of deescalating in Iraq while he escalated in Afghanistan. I just don't believe that this can be argued very persuasively to the supporters of Obama who feel betrayed given candidate Obama's brand, nor does it seem a very honest argument given that Obama has escalated at a rate faster in Afghanistan than the rate of deescalation in Iraq.
In fact, for the time being, Obama has quite remarkably increased the total deployment of troops to the ME beyond the highest Bush level. OK, if he's lost the anti-war brand that he held with Democratic voters, so what?
Well, a brand is meant to serve the purpose of feeling good; the person or voter that allies with the product or candidate does so because it makes them feel hopeful-- mostly about the common and individual future in the political realm. If you lose that feeling, its the brand that's lost, not the consumer/voter.
This is why Obama was so intent upon delivering the escalation with a timetable of when the escalation in Afghanistan would turn to a deescalation, and we arrived at July, 2011 as the "take it to the bank" line in the same moment of hopefulness grasp hold of for those who can thus find a way to rationalize support. But it's pretty obvious where we wind up in the fall of 2011 too; that Obama will need to move down just a few thousand soldiers from the height of 98,000 troops in Afghanistan to deliver on that promise, but with an end-date of no longer being an occupying force still many years beyond. And if you don't get how Obama is doing what he said he'd do by then, how dense can you still be?