President Obama can’ run on his record, so he’s channeling Franklin Delano Roosevelt and bashing the rich and speculators. Daniel Henninger noted some of the similarities between Obama’s recent speeches, and those delivered by FDR in 1936. Henninger believes that while that sort of rhetoric may have worked for FDR, it probably won’t work for the gloomy Obama.
FDR’s 1936 speech, however tough and accusatory, had Roosevelt’s natural personal buoyancy. Barack Obama has no such gift for popular uplift. Reagan and Bill Clinton had it, and it was an underestimated piece of George W. Bush’s two successful presidential runs.
Barack Obama is, frankly, a pretty grim guy. He does try to mitigate the downer mood—”This is also about growth”—but ultimately his audiences always hear about the ditch someone else put them in and the superhuman effort “we” have to make to pull out of this deep hole.
Barack Obama is grim because he believes, and has always believed, that dark forces are actively at work in America to shaft the middle class. So do his closest supporters. So you run on anger and antipathy.
Can you re-run Roosevelt’s Depression strategy without Roosevelt? In tough times, some voters will buy it. But I don’t think enough will to produce a majority of the beleaguered. (Read More)
I wonder how many people even listen to what he says anymore. He really is depressing.