Michael Scherer writes about President Obama’s campaign launch video :
Obama will be running on his character. The most interesting quote of the video comes from the southern white guy. “I don’t agree with Obama on everything. But I respect him and I trust him.” Consider what an extraordinary line this is for a video meant to recruit volunteers to organize for a presidential campaign. Have you ever met a campaign organizer that goes door-to-door or works the phones for a candidate that they admit they don’t agree with? The reasoning behind this line can be found in a recent Associated Press poll. As of late March, 53% of the country approved of the way Obama was doing his job as president. But 59% said they had a favorable view of Obama, 59% said Obama “cares about people like” them, and 84% said he was a likable person. Obama would rather make his pitch to 84% of the country than from 53% of the country.
There is a difference, however, between saying you like the president and wanting to re-elect him. For starters, if Obama is going to run on character, isn’t he going to have to demonstrate some? He’s been in hiding on entitlement reform and the budget. He’s waffled and dithered over Libya, leading to an apparent stalemate there. He’s failed to move free-trade agreements, to the dismay of fellow Democrats. In a president “character” doesn’t mean being a good dad or husband; it means demonstrating public character, namely resoluteness, courage and leadership. Really, what character is displayed by doing nothing in the face of a looming debt crisis and simply hanging back to demagogue your opponent?