Heads We Win; Tails You Lose

Gotta say, the endless profusion of concern-troll “advice” to President Obama from Republicans is beginning to fascinate as well as baffle me. I mean, here’s this man whom they’ve demonized from the day he was elected, relentlessly calling him a crypto-Marxist who hates the private sector and religion, and is seeking to bribe and steal his way to re-election, and also a buffoon who got through life as an affirmative action baby and couldn’t find his own butt with both hands. Yet they somehow appear to believe he is going to (a) take their advice to (b) change everything he’s saying and doing.

The latest concern troll is the often-wrong, never-in-doubt lifetime achievement award winner, William Kristol, who has a long Weekly Standard post telling Obama in detail what to do to win re-election. He identifies five major “problems” Obama is facing. Four of them can be boiled down to: he is not governing and campaigning as a Republican (you know, supporting permanency of the Bush tax cuts, abandoning “class warfare” rhetoric and criticism of Republicans, yadda yadda). The fifth, and I love the way it is formulated, is that Obama has “[t]urned his most leftwing backers into heroin addicts in terms of the demands they are making on him.” In other words, his base is disgruntled (never mind his current 89% job approval rating from self-identified “liberal Democrats,” according to Gallup), and it’s all Obama’s fault.

Kristol offers Obama six things he could do to turn things around. Three involve governing and campaigning more like a Republican. Two require big mea culpa firings (of “senior campaign aides” and of the Vice President). And one is composed of cheerleading for the eurozone, which is presumably what Kristol would expect a President Romney to do.

Maybe the whole idea here is simply to encourage scenarios where Obama either loses or helps move the entire political system to the right–which again, makes no sense if you are simultaneously describing him as hellbent on erecting a dictatorship of the proletariat. Or maybe people like Kristol are pulling an even dumber stunt by offering Obama advice they know he won’t take so that they can then encourage the “objective” parts of the MSM to describe him as blindly following a sure political death spiral. I really don’t know.

But I sure don’t see any Democrats wasting time offering Mitt Romney constant advice to abandon his many promises to conservative activists. If anything, they’d prefer he be more honest about his agenda instead of complaining about “distractions” any time his own plans as president are mentioned, as though it’s unfair to compare the two candidates instead of treating the election as a up-or-down referendum on the performance of the economy under Obama.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.