Obama picked a strange time to launch his 2012 reelection bid; Or did he really?
He did it in a predawn email blast to millions with a slick video we published here featuring ordinary nobodies.
They emphasized not the Democrat's accomplishments growing spending and deficits but not new jobs. Instead, they stressed how much Obama still has to do, even after 805 days in office.
If you wanted to showcase your big bid to become only the third Democratic president in the last 95 years to win a second term, would you choose the wee hours of a Monday morning just before you knew your sourpuss attorney general was to announce a huge flipperoo on trying terrorists in New York City courts, countering yet another campaign promise?
A flipperoo that takes the White House of hope and change right back to the anti-terror detention policies of -- OMG, look! -- it's George W. Bush, whose "failed policies" Obama embraced this week. So, does that now make Obama's abandoned policies the new failure?
Would you allow that AG then to blame Congress for reflecting the people's well-polled will that they want no Guantanamo inmates on the mainland?
Since at the time that Congress barred spending on such civilian trials, both houses were overwhelmingly controlled by your own Democratic Party, whose members loyally voted for your unpopular healthcare bill. Which sent dozens to their political doom in Nov. 2's midterm elections?
As a proud Nobel Peace Prize winner, would you officially begin seeking a second four-year term as commander-in-chief within a month of launching a third war of....
Or begin the campaign to lead the United States again atop the very same week of the next in a series of clumsy showdowns highlighting his own party's glaring failure to pass a full fiscal year's budget six months ago, when it held firm control of Congress but had other priorities?
Thus opening an opportunity for Republicans to exercise their newfound House leverage?
If you like a federal government looking sometimes as far as 21 days into the future, Obama and Biden are your kinda guys.
Today, with but three days left in the latest continuing budget resolution, Obama has agreed to meet with both party's leaders.
No one has accused the Obama Chicagoans of possessing 20/20 vision when it comes to the political optics of their activities. This is the guy, after all, who urged vacationing Americans to return to the beautiful gulf beaches following the oil spill, while his wife flew her entourage to a luxury resort in Spain. The guy who took a 17-vehicle motorcade of gas guzzlers last week to celebrate clean energy cars he suggests other people use.
So, why announce on Monday? Well, April Fool's Day Friday begs for mocking news coverage. April 2 was a Saturday, America's errand day. April 3 was a Sunday, meaning Obama golf outing No. 62. Which brings us to Monday, the 4th.
As an unknown political commodity, Obama announced his first presidential campaign 21 months before the 2008 election. As a world-famous face, this time Obama announced 19 months in advance. Why not wait till, say, October?
Here's why: Obama's sagging approval, stubborn unemployment and a sluggish economy make him appear vulnerable. Not crippled, but vulnerable. In a democracy, that gets potential challengers thinking -- and not just Republicans. Our buddy John Phillips wrote provocatively here about a Hillary Clinton 2012 candidacy.
In politics, like war, verbal warnings rarely convince. However, when an aircraft carrier group appears offshore, would-be targets tend to listen closer.
In politics, the equivalent of a naval fleet is money, tons of it, millions of dollars' worth.
Even in safe House districts, incumbents over-raise campaign cash every election. Ask Michele Bachmann. An overflowing war chest makes opponents think twice next cycle.
The second fiscal quarter of 2011 for reporting contributions to the Federal Election Commission began in effect Monday. It ends June 30. And the numbers are released a couple of weeks later.
Obama can't know what the economy will look like come late summer or fall. He can't know the casualty rate when warm weather returns to the Afghanistan war, which has claimed slightly more than one American life every day of Obama's presidency. These and other events can make him look stronger or weaker. Donors prefer stronger.
But Obama does know that if he already has a couple hundred million in the bank, it's not only earning interest. It's a material sign of seeming wide support that gives serious pause to any challenger(s). In Chicago, that's called clout.
Obama heads to Chicago mid-month for a hometown fundraiser where the new mayor, Obama's old chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has already been quietly dining with big-money donors to prep them for the boss' arrival -- and, of course, cultivate his own financial connections.
Look for the president and Democratic National Committee to piggyback fundraisers onto just about every POTUS and VPOTUS trip in coming months. A school at lunchtime for soundbites and warm fuzzy video with children. Then, a couple of talks to heavy-hitters in the evening. And a flight home.
In recent weeks a campaign-mode Obama has courageously come out against schoolyard bullying and sexual assaults and in support of military families and college education.
If things go as planned, Obama '12 will have around $1 billion to reconvince even the unemployed millions of Americans that at least he should keep his job another four years.
That $1 billion would be one-third larger than the sum the little-known Obama raked in to persuade Americans to elect him the first time. The difference, of course, is this time the Republicans own "change to believe in."
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photo: Andrew Malcolm; Danny Vowell / Associated Press (Bush in Kentucky in February); Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images (Obama visits a Boston school in March); Pete Souza / White House.