David Brooks. Him say
Obama faced a choice. Double down on conciliator mode or become a fighter. Think of the latter as the Bibi Netanyahu strategy: since I have no negotiating partner I’m going to come out swinging in a way that pleases my base.
If Obama were a Republican, he could win with this sort of strategy: Repeat your party’s most orthodox positions and then rip your opponent to shreds. Republicans can win a contest between an orthodox Republican and an orthodox Democrat because they have the trust in government issue on their side.
Democrats do not have that luxury. The party of government cannot win an orthodox vs. orthodox campaign when 15 percent of Americans trust government. It certainly can’t do it presiding over 9 percent unemployment. It’s suicide.
Yet this is the course the Obama campaign has chosen. He’s campaigning these days as the populist fighter, the scourge of the privileged class.
That makes him easy to beat, actually. Obama cannot win a second term on his record, and he can't win by promising to be a healer again. He needs a miracle, which could only be delivered by the continued abject poverty of spirit in the Republican candidates.