We really are out of new ideas.
This is evidenced by our struggling economy — by the fact that Hollywood remade “The Karate Kid” and “Footloose” — and now, by our political campaigns.
As if being subjected to a new “Charlie’s Angels” TV show wasn’t a tacit admission we are officially bereft of new ideas, President Obama‘s dedication to recycling a campaign strategy from 1948 is proof.
In 1948, of course, Harry Truman ran against a “do-nothing” congress. President Obama seems to be set on trying to replicate his success.
“If Congress does nothing, then it’s not a matter of me running against them. I think the American people will run them out of town,” he said. “I would love nothing more than to see Congress act so aggressively that I can’t campaign against them as a do-nothing Congress.”
Writers, of course love such templates — and I would not be surprised or shocked if a writer suggested 2012 was the new 1948. This is the artistic license we afford to people who are now obliged to provide 3-5 interesting blog posts a day. But it is another thing entirely for serious strategists and politicians to delude themselves into believing they can seriously model a modern campaign on something that happened five decades ago.
For obvious reasons, the analogy is flawed. Truman, for example, had to contend with a Republican house and senate. But Democrats today control the senate (where much legislation is bottled up). How can Obama seriously run against his own party?
What is more, Obama has telegraphed his intention to blame the “do-nothing” Republicans — opening the door for speculation that he is secretly maneuvering behind the scenes to ensure Republicans accomplish nothing of substance.
This is all serious stuff, of course. But I keep coming back to the fundamental message this sends: If America’s top political leader can’t even come up with a creative and original rationale for his re-election, how can he be expected to come up with innovative solutions for fixing America?