The Hope of 2008 Doesn’t Resonate the Same

Jon Ward takes a unique look at the changes from the aura that was candidate Obama to the rain-soaked reality that is President Obama:

President Barack Obama stood under a driving rain here on Friday afternoon, a black trench coat draped over his lanky frame, and looked out at the thousands of supporters, ticking off his accomplishments. He mentioned health care reform, ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, increasing fuel efficiency standards, and infrastructure investments. “You made this happen,” Obama told the crowd of an estimated 9,000 people on the football field at Cleveland State University. “But if that progress is going to continue, you’ve got to step up,” Obama added. It was an odd thing to say to people who had been standing in what was often a downpour for as long as four hours, many of whom were drenched to the bone and shivering. And the president seemed to realize the potential for his remark to come across as insensitive. “And I know I’m preaching to the choir here because you all are standing in the rain,” he said. “But a little rain never hurt anybody. Some of these policies from the other side could hurt a whole lot of folks.”

Hope is just a memory

During Obama’s speech, the pace of the downpour increased, bringing back memories of his rain-soaked speech the day before the 2008 election. But the circumstances then and now are quite different. Four years ago Obama was an inspiration, an upstart who had outclassed and outfoxed a veteran U.S. senator and war hero, and stood on the verge of a historic and overwhelming victory. Now, Obama, 51, is a gray-haired incumbent who maintains fervent support among some Democrats, but who has disappointed many others, not to mention independents or even Republicans who voted for a Democrat in the belief he would change the way politics works.

Hint of desperation

And despite a positive jobs report out Friday morning…he is on his heels for the first time in over a month. The urgency in Obama’s remarks, especially in Leesburg, accentuated the degree to which he has realized -– after his atrocious debate performance on Wednesday night in Denver -– that his reelection is not going to be an uncontested layup. Polls, which showed Obama opening up a lead in September, have begun to tighten. Obama on Friday seemed almost alarmed at the opening he had given to his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, in the wake of the debate where Romney was almost universally declared the clear winner. In Leesburg, Obama said there has been “too much progress” under his administration for him to be defeated. A loss to Romney, he said, would hurt the country. “I can’t allow that to happen. I won’t allow that to happen,” Obama said.

Not everyone is a fan

The positive vibes appeared to dissipate a bit later when Obama stopped at a downtown market, and asked the proprietor at Rolston Poultry how business was going. “Terrible since you got here,” said the man, who was not identified by name in the press pool report. When reached by phone, the man said he did not want to give his name, and told The Huffington Post that he had “nothing to say.”

2 Comments

  1. damien
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink | Reply

    driving rain? i thought he couldnt speak in the rain so they move him inside ala charlotte?…dont tell me it really wasnt bout the rain and he just couldnt sell out the stadium..shocked

  2. David
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A neighbor, across the street, had voted for Obama in 2008. He even had a yard sign – which stood out like a sore thumb on our street. In early 2010, his job permanently went away. His boss decided to shutter the gutter-hanging business. Largely dependent on new home construction and roof repair, business had become nonexistent. After more than two years of unemployment, two refi’s in that period and his wife being the principal wage earner, my neighbor found a job as a house painter. Though his job is “temporary”, he’s relieved that he’s able to go to work every morning. Obama in 2012 – not a chance. He even chased off a Democratic canvasser trolling the street.

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