The Washington Post

Facebook fall is worse for Obama than the Arkansas primary fizzle

Republicans can enjoy the spectacle of President Obama being a little embarrassed by the results of the Arkansas primary, and earlier, the West Virginia Democratic primary, but these results don't suggest anything we didn't already know. Republicans should not overinterpret the results.

Obama had lackluster wins in small primaries in a couple of states that he has no chance of winning in November. The outcome of these primaries won't be news by Friday morning, and they won't even be footnotes in the post-campaign books about the 2012 election.

We know Obama is nowhere near the imposing political presence he was in 2008, we know his economic policies have failed and that he will pay a price, we know his lurch to the left has hurt him, and finally we assume this will be a very close race with Mitt Romney.  All this reinforces what needs to be used against Obama in Ohio and a few other key states.

There are some voter blocs in Ohio and other swing states that resemble those in Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia. They may not be crazy about Romney, but they may have made up their minds to abandon Obama, his liberalism and his offer for the future.

I've always said that Mitt Romney cannot beat President Obama, but President Obama still might lose. Romney needs to build his image as a serious alternative with a different approach and style. He has to be credible when people inspect him as the Obama alternative later this fall. But beyond enjoying the Obama campaign having an awkward day explaining the dud results of his "victories," we shouldn't think these votes indicate anything new.

Probably most important, yesterday's votes contribute to an overall gloomy atmosphere for Obama. He needs something to brighten the aura around his presidency. There is no spark.  Even the Facebook IPO fall has probably done some harm to Obama by contributing to the fear that our economy can't shine anywhere. It suggests malaise at best and more insider chicanery at worst, just what Obama was supposed to be the savior antidote for. More than anything else, Obama needs some good news.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.


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