Is President Obama falling into the same trap as President Bush?

After listening to the inaugural address last week, one could not help but feel a sense of déjà vu.  Though President Obama did not enlarge his support during his re-election the way that George W. Bush did, he seems to be operating under the belief that the country has suddenly lurched to the left on all things from global warming to religion to Second Amendment rights.  In an article by Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal he provides some interesting evidence:

The president’s address made clear that his principal domestic concerns are no longer petty ones of the economy (45 words in three sentences) or deficit reduction (19 words in one sentence, followed by 155 words in six sentences saying entitlements won’t be cut).
Instead, Mr. Obama’s priorities for his second term are climate change (nine sentences and 160 words) and "our generation’s task" (10 sentences and 358 words) of equal pay for women, access to gay marriage, the repeal of laws requiring photo identification to vote, immigration reform and gun control.

Rather than the President Obama in 2004 who uttered that “[t]here is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America.  There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America—there’s the United States of America,” the second-term President Obama seems to be more partisan than ever:

…Mr. Obama’s astonishingly partisan edge, echoed by a chorus of his aides. He ungraciously slapped at his defeated Republican rival, Mitt Romney, saying Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security did not make America "a nation of takers" (playing off a phrase uttered by Mr. Romney during the campaign). Mr. Obama also suggested that Republicans were name-calling absolutists and clowns, not a loyal opposition to be treated with any respect. So his point wouldn’t be lost, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer telegraphed it in Sunday’s Washington Post, saying, "[W]e don’t have a political system or an opposition party worthy of the opportunity."

Just like after President Bush prevailed in 2004 and then proclaimed that he had some political capital that he intended to spend, President Obama seems to be following the same pattern.  Given the character of the victory last November (which was sound but underwhelming for an incumbent looking for a vote of confidence in his leadership), America remains a divided and conflicted nation.  President Obama, on the other hand, seems to think there is unity behind pushing a new liberal arc to the trajectory of the country. 

Watch “29-year-old Benjamin Netanyahu On A Local Boston Show Debating Israel-Palestine” on YouTube

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Strassel: The GOP Turnout Myth

A good piece in the Wall Street Journal digs deeper into the conventional wisdom regarding Romney’s loss. As it turns out, Romney’s turnout problems may have been worse than people previously thought. Sure, we know that he garnered about the same or less than McCain did in 2008. What we’re starting to see as the numbers are finalized throughout the country, is how poor he did amongst Hispanics. Obama did worse than 2008, but Gov. Romney failed to capitalize on the downturn. Obviously, there are many reasons for this. It’s the exception, not the rule, that one particular issue or gaffe (such as the famed comment made about the 47%).

What we are seeing is that the GOP needs to make a consistent and concerted effort to reach out to those groups who appear hesitant towards the conservative message.

This is the demographic argument that is getting so much attention, and properly so. The Republican Party can hope that a future Democratic candidate won’t equal Mr. Obama’s magnetism for minority voters. But the GOP would do far better by fighting aggressively for a piece of the minority electorate.

And that, for the record, was the GOP’s real 2012 turnout disaster. Elections are about the candidate and the message, yes, but also about the ground game. Republicans right now are fretting about Mr. Romney’s failures and the party’s immigration platform—that’s fair enough. But equally important has been the party’s mind-boggling failure to institute a competitive Hispanic ground game. The GOP doesn’t campaign in those communities, doesn’t register voters there, doesn’t knock on doors. So while pre-election polling showed that Hispanics were worried about Obama policies, in the end the only campaign that these voters heard from—by email, at their door, on the phone—was the president’s.

Often missed in talk of the GOP’s “demographics problem” is that it would take relatively modest minority-voter shifts toward Republicans to return the party to a dominating force. The GOP might see that as the enormous opportunity it is, rather than a problem. The key to winning turnout is having more people to turn out in the first place.

Nevada: Republicans making gains in early voting (though still more to do)

Keith Backer provides an excellent analysis of the current status of the Nevada early voting.  The bottom line is that the current trajectory of the early voting puts Obama at 20% off his 2008 total.  Check out the link.