Generals Axelrod and Pflouffe Take Their Stand at the Ground Zero Mosque

James V. Capua
For those observers puzzled over Obama's decision to wade into the Ground Zero Mosque dogfight here is a theory: the mosque controversy represents the only kind of battle that Obama and those still willing to stand with him can fight.

The campaign for November and probably 2012 as well, cannot be fought on the President's record. Obama's economy by any measure -- unemployment, housing, Hindenburg II hovering over the market, dismal consumer confidence, pervasive uncertainty -- remains a disaster. Most other "achievements" Obama can point to are tainted, from Pyrrhic health care "reform" to the alternating hesitation, confusion and thuggery of the Gulf oil spill response, counter-productive meddling in the financial sector, and a GM "privatization" via creative accounting and an IPO with enough weasly fine print and disclaimers to give any serious investor pause. Obama's lame foreign policy record is similarly indefensible. On the other major performance scale -- unifying presidential leadership -- Obama has a firm hold on the slot just below James Buchanan.

In terms of troops for this campaign, the House and Senate and the state-level contingents are looking a little shaky, with a lot of bold talk but also considerable attention to securing lines of retreat and fallback defensive positions. The interest groups -- victimized minorities' organizations, unions, and community/Astroturf auxiliaries, are ready to be thrown into the line, but there is a lot of dissatisfied grumbling in the ranks about promises not kept, and morale is at best, mixed. This distinctly second-line gaggle is not going to be able to deliver the victory for Obama alone, motor voter laws or no motor voter laws. Accordingly, Obama has to fight the kind of battle that plays to the strengths of the most reliable troops he has left.

The mainstream media has to be the core of Obama's strategy. But what do they do well?

They are definitely no longer effective persuaders. First, they can't, because so few know any more how to sniff out, dig for, and present a story coherently and convincingly to an open-minded reader or listener. Second, even if they manage to execute a conventional journalistic act, it is likely to be discounted by much of the electorate because the shameless abandonment of journalistic integrity for Obama worship has finally penetrated to the general public, as poll upon poll demonstrate. What they do well is shout down, ridicule, issue pronunciamenti from a high moral horse, and distort, obfuscate and trivialize important principles. They also have the disciplined capacity to repeat their message. The "issues" selected for the 2010 and 2012 campaigns must play to these limited strengths. Therefore expect, among other things, to hear a lot more about how the survival of constitutional government in the U.S. depends upon building the Ground Zero Mosque and preventing Arizona from enforcing U.S.  Immigration law, racialization of every story possible, shameless encouragement of class envy, how George Bush created and perpetuated the horrors of Katrina, tainted eggs and Abu Ghraib, celebrating, not the successes of American arms that permit reductions in combat troops, but rather, the withdrawals from Iraq and soon, Afghanistan in and of themselves, portraying Republicans and Tea Party types as sinister, stupid, hypocritical, goofy and perverse, and scaring everyone about every remotely plausible manufactured threat or problem. Their backs are to the wall and they have no other choice.
For those observers puzzled over Obama's decision to wade into the Ground Zero Mosque dogfight here is a theory: the mosque controversy represents the only kind of battle that Obama and those still willing to stand with him can fight.

The campaign for November and probably 2012 as well, cannot be fought on the President's record. Obama's economy by any measure -- unemployment, housing, Hindenburg II hovering over the market, dismal consumer confidence, pervasive uncertainty -- remains a disaster. Most other "achievements" Obama can point to are tainted, from Pyrrhic health care "reform" to the alternating hesitation, confusion and thuggery of the Gulf oil spill response, counter-productive meddling in the financial sector, and a GM "privatization" via creative accounting and an IPO with enough weasly fine print and disclaimers to give any serious investor pause. Obama's lame foreign policy record is similarly indefensible. On the other major performance scale -- unifying presidential leadership -- Obama has a firm hold on the slot just below James Buchanan.

In terms of troops for this campaign, the House and Senate and the state-level contingents are looking a little shaky, with a lot of bold talk but also considerable attention to securing lines of retreat and fallback defensive positions. The interest groups -- victimized minorities' organizations, unions, and community/Astroturf auxiliaries, are ready to be thrown into the line, but there is a lot of dissatisfied grumbling in the ranks about promises not kept, and morale is at best, mixed. This distinctly second-line gaggle is not going to be able to deliver the victory for Obama alone, motor voter laws or no motor voter laws. Accordingly, Obama has to fight the kind of battle that plays to the strengths of the most reliable troops he has left.

The mainstream media has to be the core of Obama's strategy. But what do they do well?

They are definitely no longer effective persuaders. First, they can't, because so few know any more how to sniff out, dig for, and present a story coherently and convincingly to an open-minded reader or listener. Second, even if they manage to execute a conventional journalistic act, it is likely to be discounted by much of the electorate because the shameless abandonment of journalistic integrity for Obama worship has finally penetrated to the general public, as poll upon poll demonstrate. What they do well is shout down, ridicule, issue pronunciamenti from a high moral horse, and distort, obfuscate and trivialize important principles. They also have the disciplined capacity to repeat their message. The "issues" selected for the 2010 and 2012 campaigns must play to these limited strengths. Therefore expect, among other things, to hear a lot more about how the survival of constitutional government in the U.S. depends upon building the Ground Zero Mosque and preventing Arizona from enforcing U.S.  Immigration law, racialization of every story possible, shameless encouragement of class envy, how George Bush created and perpetuated the horrors of Katrina, tainted eggs and Abu Ghraib, celebrating, not the successes of American arms that permit reductions in combat troops, but rather, the withdrawals from Iraq and soon, Afghanistan in and of themselves, portraying Republicans and Tea Party types as sinister, stupid, hypocritical, goofy and perverse, and scaring everyone about every remotely plausible manufactured threat or problem. Their backs are to the wall and they have no other choice.