President Barack Obama, trying to explain away his many compromises that neutralized his promises of change during his first term as President, sounded a 2012 campaign theme Wednesday that appears to tell voters that things will get worse, not better.
With polls showing eroding support from the independents that gave him victory in 2008 and a liberal base that is growing more and more frustrated with his move to the center on key issues, Obama says “I understand your frustration.”
But will voters understand and continue to support a President that now represents the dreaded status quo and not change? That is the dilemma facing Obama as he tries to travel a political minefield that includes the contentious debate over raising the debt ceiling and dealing with the long-term deficit.
There are times when I’ve felt the same way you do,” Obama told a fundraiser in San Francisco Wednesday night. “It’s a big, complicated, messy democracy. We knew it wouldn’t be easy.”
This is not the message that liberals want to hear as Obama tries to shore up support for a second term. They are tired of him backing down to Republicans on spending cuts tax breaks for the rich. They want the Obama they voted for in 2008 but that Obama appears long gone after more than two brutal years in the White House.
Yet the reality of life as President may pale compared to the harsh campaign Obama faces as he tries to re energize the independents and first-time voters who swept him into the Presidency in 2008. Many of those voters now see him as the problem, not the solution and he faces a long, uphill battle in trying to win them back.
Obama senior adviser David Plouffe recognizes this.
“This is going to be a close campaign,” Plouffe told The Associated Press. “The one thing we better assume is that it’s going to be closer than the last one.”
Obama, in the meantime, is asking for patience.
“It is going to take more than a couple of years,” he says. “It’s going to take us more than one term to finish everything we need to do.”
Voters realize that. What they have yet to decide is whether or not Barack Obama is the one to do it.
- Obama to supporters: I understand your frustration – The Associated Press (news.google.com)
- Candidate Obama: ‘Everyone’s a Critic…Everyone Likes Change in the Abstract’ (blogs.abcnews.com)
- At Facebook HQ, Obama courts young voters (alternet.org)
- Obama: Republicans want to turn America into ‘third world’ nation (capitolhillblue.com)
- Analysis: Obama compromise heeds voter call for conciliation (reuters.com)