President Obama has just launched his reelection campaign by beginning an "aggressive fundraising effort that could net him close to $1 billion in donations between now and the fall of next year." While progressives and liberals will spend the better part of the next year agonizing over whether they should primary the President, Obama and his centrist election team have a clear strategy that they are certain is going to lead to a second term. The first of his two-part strategy is simple, raise more money -- or at least enough -- to offset the fundraising of his Republican opponent. The second part is equally simple but far more interesting, the old "divide and conquer."
Obama's divide and conquer strategy is based on Michael Moore's three-part analysis of the American electorate. One-third get-it, basically what we would call the radicals, progressives, liberals and most of the working-poor. One-third are basically clueless, what we call the centrists. They are mostly what is left of those good middle class folks that don't get it, receive most of their information from the mainstream media, still have relatively good-paying jobs and are fearful of losing their place in the middle class. The other-third are the dupes, stooges and other agents for the plutocracy.
Obama has always been a president of the clueless centrists and always will be. From the moment he was elected, his presidency has been about servicing the rich donors and corporations that bank-rolled his campaign while appearing to be the moderate, compromising president amid a nation being torn apart by the radical right and left. While his policies and actions have primarily benefited the wealthiest 1% of Americans, he has been careful to cultivate the appearance of doing it all for the clueless center. Obama knows what all elected presidents know. Our elections are all about money and media hype, the record and issues mean nothing.
This year, 2011, we can expect him to continue being a good corporatist lackey but come early next year don't be surprised to see him return to the more progressive rhetoric that characterized his first election campaign. Both the left and right are playing right into his strategy. The policies and legislation of the Obama Democrats have been nothing short of a betrayal and sell-out of progressives. Nevertheless, the President has largely been more than willing to suffer the reproaches of the left, in much the same way that he has suffered attacks from the right.
It makes no difference to his political handlers that the attacks from the left are based on his real policy shortcomings and betrayals while those from the right on lies and disinformation. The desired outcome has always been to maintain the appearance of the moderate, willing to compromise for the good of the nation. Obama's repeated betrayal of the progressive agenda has itself been part of a conscious strategy of encouraging extremism on both the left and right. From this perspective, Obama's election strategy comes into clear focus. Hold on to the clueless center, and divide the other two-thirds.
From what we are seeing this strategy seems to be a winner. The left is divided. On the one hand are the radicals who understand that the electoral process and especially the Obama Democrats are part of the problem not the solution. The radicals understand that only by taking non-violent resistance to next level, i.e. civil disobedience and general strikes can enough people be empowered to make real change. They are looking at a wide-range of alternatives for making change. This is the one-sixth of the electorate that Obama doesn't really care about and is in fact trying to alienate in order to make himself look moderate. These people will never vote for him again, but that doesn't matter to his election strategy.
On the center side of the left are the so-called progressives and liberals who believe participating in the political process can somehow miraculously lead to meaningful change. If we can just reform the election process, if we can just persuade Obama Democrats to do the right thing, if, if, if. This is the half of the get-it-third that next year's campaign rhetoric will appeal to. These are the lesser of two evils, the Republican candidate is so god-awful voters. There is a similar dynamic going on in the dupe-stooge-agent third. The ascendancy of the extreme T-bagger Republicans has made the Grand Old Party almost unrecognizable. Enough of the old conservative Republicans are considering becoming lesser of two evils, the Republican candidate is so god-awful voters that anything he pulls from the right will be election gravy cementing a second term.
The plutocratic super-rich elites that fund the election may actually prefer Obama. Of course they will lavishly fund both presidential candidates so that it doesn't really matter who wins. But the PR flacks that run the campaigns well know how effective Obama is as the champion of the clueless center. By providing the smiling, caring face of the military-security-corporate war machine and the shock doctrine war on the middle class and working poor, the Obama Democrats can do things that an extreme Republican candidate could never pull off. So there you have it in a nutshell, 1/3 + 1/6 + 1/6 = the reelection of President Obama.