It seems a long time since President Obama was swept to power on a tide of hope: he was different; he inspired; he evoked trust and love; he promised principles and dreams and people believed him. It was an election that was won in a spirit, largely, of positivity and joy which reached all parts of the world.
Attitudes have soured since then as the expectations which had been centred on him went unfulfilled, as did the American dream of prosperity and fairness for all. His encumbered inheritance made it impossible to achieve all he promised, but an aloof approach along with indications of manipulation for political gain to disguise failure have reversed his popularity dramatically. He will be fighting to remain president from a position of defensiveness not strength.
Both men want to win, and today both men are as popular, or unpopular, as each other in opinion polls. Romney has much ammunition to use against a languid administration with a remote leader, while Obama’s weapons will be intrusive attacks on a privileged man who is out of touch, they say, with ordinary Americans. Much more than policy, it will be about exploiting and defending weakness in a very personal and probably distasteful way.
They must, each of them, crave power very much to be prepared to go through the public accusations and speculation, true or untrue, that will be a part of this negative political campaign. I wonder how America will feel when it is over? Not, I suspect, euphoric this time.]]>