NRL News

Former Clinton Aide Offers Advice to Obama That Misses Who the President Really is

by | Nov 10, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

William Galston

In “November 8, 2011: Election Day,” we take a first look (of four) at yesterday’s elections. They inevitably will be interpreted as almost a dry run for 2012, or, if not quite that, dissected for clues where the electorate is heading into a truly momentous presidential election. There were enough Democratic victories on issues outside our purview to persuade them that the “tide has turned.”


Yesterday we talked about a massive Gallup sample of adults intended to provide a “profile” of where Democrats are at the end of 2011, as compared to where they were in the beginning of 2008.

In summary, “As a group, Democrats are more likely than average to be women and nonwhite, less likely to be religious or married, much less likely to be conservative, and much more likely to be liberal than the U.S. population as a whole,” according to Gallup’s Frank Newport, Jeffrey M. Jones, and Lydia Saad.

William Galston, who worked for pro-abortion President Clinton and cannot be accused of harboring either pro-Republican or pro-life sentiments, thoughtfully picked that survey apart today and concluded in his opening two sentences:

“The latest Gallup report, based on a massive sample of more than 39,000 adults, contains troubling news for Democrats. Individuals identifying with the Democratic Party are a smaller share of the American people than they were early in 2008, and their views are less representative of the people as a whole.” 

[From “Why Obama’s 2008 Coalition Won’t Save Him This Time,” in The New Republic.]

Contained in this summary is vitally important information. And that begins with

“While the ideological center of gravity of the Democratic Party has moved left, the country as a whole has moved in the opposite direction”

Consider: There are now exactly twice as many self-identified conservatives as liberals (42% to 21%) even as more Democrats call themselves liberal (among whom, by the way, fewer are Catholic and fewer who attend church).

Galston’s principle point is that all the stars were aligned for Obama in 2008. A 2012 strategy that is the 2008 roadmap on steroids (“mobilizing huge numbers of upscale professionals, unmarried women, young adults, and minorities”) is problematic, in his view.

Galston’s counsel is to take a different route:

“focus on rebuilding support among Independents, which include large numbers of white working-class and middle-class families—an approach compatible with an all-out effort to win the heartland states stretching from Pennsylvania to Iowa that gave Obama one-third of the 365 electoral votes he ended up winning.”

But there is an inter-related four-fold set of faulty assumptions: that a man who is pro-abortion to the core; who joked about the white working class “cling[ing] to their guns or religion”; whom polling has regularly shown the electorate sees as more liberal than it is; and whose “signature” issue is commandeering a sixth of the entire national economy (ObamaCare) can be packaged as a middle-of-the-roader who is sympathetic to heartland values.

To quote the immortal John Wayne, “Not hardly.”

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Categories: Obama