Monday, August 9, 2010

In politics, perception is everything

If money is the mother's milk of politics, perception is the stern glare of the father.  The last several months have not been kind to Democrats, and the plight they're in is one of their own making.

Nothing demonstrates a failure to appreciate how perception affects voters like the Obamas' vacation to Maine in July and Mrs. Obama's lavish, six-day excursion to the ritzy, glitzy Mediterranean coast of Spain which ended Sunday.  Mrs. Obama arrived back at the White House south lawn just in time to enjoy some grilled Gulf shrimp.  That shrimp must have come from Tampa or South Padre, because it sure didn't come out of the waters of the northern Gulf Coast.

While ordinary Americans across the country are tightening their belts--and while some residents of the Gulf Coast are literally gasping for air--the Obama's are living the high life.  They're hanging with rock stars.  They're shooting hoops with superstars.  They're closing down whole national parks and cordoning off big stretches of beach so they can enjoy the spoils of power.

While the economy is bleeding jobs, growth was slowing and the Macondo well was spewing crude into the Gulf, el Presidente enjoyed more rounds of in a couple of months than I've played all year.  At the rate he's playing, he's probably gotten good enough to have beaten Tiger Woods at Firestone last weekend.

Mrs. Obama's trip to Spain--which included lavish accommodations at an exclusive resort and dining with Spanish royalty--led the NY Daily News' Andrea Tantaros to compare the First Lady to Marie Antoinette, the famously callous French queen of Louis XIV.

Making matters even worse for the ruling class--not one, not two, but three prominent Democrats are in hot water over alleged ethics violations.  The Rangel case by itself isn't likely to cause someone to say, "you know, Rangel is a crook, so I'm voting Republican."  Neither would the Waters case by itself, or the Manchin case by itself.  But to have all three come sloshing ashore at the same time, mere months away from an election already seething with anti-incumbent fervor...

To dyed-in-the-wool conservatives and newly aroused Tea Party activists, this kind of stuff doesn't do much.  Their Crap-o-Meters have been pegged in the red since that awful Sunday in March.  And dyed-in-the wool liberals are just fine with comparing Michelle Obama's Spanish flair to Laura Bush's visit to Africa; and Dems' ethics problems to a decades-old scandal with Newt Gingrich. What stuff like this does is to get under the skin of moderates and swing voters, a group of people not normally counted on to turn out for midterm elections.  But if the Obama regime keeps up the aloof, detached air of royalty, November 3 will be a heady morning for Democrats.

Gimme some feedback in the comments.