Democrats Are Party of 'No Can Do'

Wednesday, 08 Sep 2010 10:59 AM

By Jon Friedman

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Maybe President Obama needs a wake-up call to energize him for 2012.

Oh, I don't think the president is exactly writing off the midterm election results. I think he will roll up his sleeves for the next eight weeks, put on his game face, and stick his nose to the grindstone — all that rhetoric. It may not matter, though.

I suspect that Obama has no real idea about how much danger his political party is in right now. The Democrats are gaining a reputation as the No-Can-Do party, and Obama himself is taking on the dull look of a No-Can-Do president to boot.

It's like a chicken-and-egg question: Is he being weighed down by the party or is it the other way around?

As Simon and Garfunkel once sang: Any way you look at this, you lose.

Obama might just need this jolt to nudge him out of his torpor. Remember, when Scott Brown stunned the Democrats and won in Massachusetts, Obama reacted by morphing into the unstoppable candidate.

The president, once again, talked tough, walked with a swagger and all but dared the Grand Old Party to try to stop his momentum.

The president has apparently failed to recognize that politics is all about perception. The public can sense you're weakening or stumbling or losing interest — and they'll let you know about it. It's a short trip down from winner to afterthought.

If the voters are beginning to believe that Obama can't do their bidding for them, they'll go and find someone else who can.

I don't think the situation is dire — not by a long shot. The president has shown himself to be a wise politician, who can play the public's sentiments like a skilled piano player tickles the keys to make great music.

Obama knows how to rally the public's support for him (if not for a lot of his programs). Chances are he will do it again in 2012. But he had better get busy — right now.

Where have you gone, Barack Obama? — a party turns its lonely eyes to you . . .

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.


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