With over a year to go until the general election, the man who ran then-President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is telling Democrats to “chill out.” And he’s laying out every reason why they shouldn’t be chilling out.
According to Politico, Jim Messina — the guy who was at the helm when Obama took home victory in the 2012 race — has put together a 22-slide presentation meant to reassure Democrats that all is well with the good ship Biden and that those who don’t think so are all just “bedwetters.”
I mean, except for the fact that Messina believes that former President Donald Trump could “absolutely” win and that President Joe Biden’s path to a second term runs straight through “It’s the economy, stupid,” which Messina stupidly thinks is going great.
“I thought it was important to say to my friends and clients and other people, let’s just take a step back and try to be really number-specific and really sort of who has what cards in their poker hand,” Messina told Politico, the outlet reported Wednesday.
“And you would just rather be Joe Biden than Donald Trump.”
And, as Politico noted, there were reasons to be worried: “Every day, it seems, there’s new fodder for Democrats looking to freak out about President Joe Biden’s’s reelection prospects: Sagging public views of the economy. Persistent voter concerns about Biden’s age. And erosion in the president’s standing among key minority groups, to name a few.”
But it’s time to chill out, Messina said: “Historically, we’re f***ing bedwetters,” he told Politico.
“We grew up in the ’80s and ’90s when Republicans won elections all the time. Democrats had their hearts deeply broken when Hillary [Clinton] lost and people didn’t see that coming. And so, you know, we continually believe every bad thing people say.”
Which is why The Messina Group put out the 22-slide pro-Biden presentation — even though, as Politico points out, Messina himself believes “(1) no matter who the Republican is, it’ll be a close election and (2) the most likely GOP nominee, Donald Trump, has a strong base and can absolutely win.”
Furthermore, the key points — as described by Politico — are inherently flawed.
First, take Messina’s risible idea that the fundamentals of Joe Biden’s economy are strong.
“The ‘misery index,’ a bellwether economic measure that combines unemployment and inflation, is now lower than it was ahead of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Obama’s successful reelections,” Politico said.
“Messina also gives credit to Biden and team for consistently selling ‘Bidenomics’ to voters, even as voter views remain stuck — likening it to the challenges Obama faced in 2012 as the economy slowly emerged from the Great Recession: ‘People thought we were crazy to go as early as we did with economic messaging.’”
The problem is how Messina is calculating the “misery index” in the slide show — as being “lower than it was at the same point in the Obama, Clinton, & Reagan presidencies before their successful reelections.” (Emphasis mine.)
First off, calculating the misery index simply says where you are now, not what’s already happened. Clinton, Obama and Reagan didn’t have massive shocks to the labor market created by a massive shutdown of the world economy accompanied by a concomitant readjustment in the labor-force participation rate.
As for inflation, that number tracks year-over-year. Inflation is slowing now because, if it were still at the same level it was during Biden’s first two terms in office, Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom and Pete Buttigieg would have the anteroom to their offices choked with potential campaign advisers meeting with them to “discuss options” about 2024. Wink, wink.
None of the three men Messina cites as examples had similar situations, although Reagan was forced to right the ship after Jimmy Carter’s disastrous four years in the Oval Office, and Obama had the Great Recession to deal with. But in neither of those cases were Reagan or Obama handed a simple job: Let the economy recover from COVID and get back to normal. That was Joe Biden’s task. He couldn’t do it. Raw misery index numbers say nothing about that.
Next winning issue? Abortion: “Democrats have long played defense on so-called culture war issues, but after the Dobbs ruling, Messina said, Democrats have an issue to rally voters around unlike anything he’s seen in modern politics,” Politico said. (Emphasis mine, again.) “And its staying power, he added, is only buoyed by a Republican primary where a national abortion ban is continuingly [sic] put forward as a litmus test.”
So, to win in 2024, you need “an issue to rally voters around unlike anything he’s seen in modern politics?” What about indicting the leader of the political opposition on a series of charges that makes the United States of America look like Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua? Would that work, Mr. Messina? Because, um, if you haven’t been reading the papers…
And the final reason Messina thinks Biden has the advantage, as per Politico: “The election is a choice, not a wish.”
“Pressed on the dismal voter views of Biden, Messina said he is confident the qualms will wash away as the horse race takes shape. ‘It’s a choice between two parties, two ideologies, between two people,’ he said. ‘And that choice matters. … People didn’t see the Democratic turnout in 2022 coming.’ And while Messina assumes it’s a Biden-Trump rematch, he argues that even another GOP nominee can be painted as extreme and Trump-y.”
Yes, but he or she can’t be painted as this:
“You wanna grab that water for a sip?” Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz asks Biden before guiding him away from the podium pic.twitter.com/kfUsdldQ5T
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 21, 2023
Is everything okay?
We carried Presdient Biden’s Ukraine remarks live on @FaulknerFocus today. #kleptocracy pic.twitter.com/aINZImChEy
— HARRISFAULKNER (@HARRISFAULKNER) April 29, 2022
Joe Biden attempts to say “reduce the deficit.” pic.twitter.com/otX4ixGYIX
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 5, 2022
Joe Biden appears to struggle to remember his FEMA administrator’s name pic.twitter.com/DPRIjiLOQ3
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 22, 2021
“Because they invaded another country and annexed a significant portion of it called Crimea. He’s saying that it was President [awkward long pause] my boss. It was his fault.” pic.twitter.com/x5M6TKH4F6
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 5, 2020
And then there’s that other “big caveat,” as Politico put it: the possibility of a third-party candidate, which Messina didn’t sound too thrilled about.
“I don’t care what they do. I don’t care how much money they spend. I don’t care who their nominee is. They’re going to get zero electoral votes. The question is who do they take the votes from?” Messina said.
“You just can’t split away votes if you want to beat Donald Trump. And I just cannot overstate how crucial it is to make sure that we don’t create a vehicle that takes enough votes up to elect Donald Trump.”
So, in other words, Biden needs to tout his economic record (which is more awful than Messina thinks, given he’s using an out-of-context datum to justify it), voters need to be shocked into action by a once-in-a-lifetime political event like having Roe v. Wade overturned (or having the former president and de facto leader of the political opposition indicted four times and counting on flimsy pretexts at an all too convenient time), you need to stress to voters that they’ve gotta choose Pepsi or Coke (even though Pepsi can’t seem to remember that it’s even a cola anymore), and, for heaven’s sake, you can’t bring another soda into the mix (even though several other candidates — or soft drinks, in this metaphor — appear likely to show up in the presidential vending machine). And that’s not even accounting for an iota of Hunter Biden-related material.
So, yeah, I’d say it’s time for Democrats to revert into — your words, not mine — being “f***ing bedwetters,” Mr. Messina.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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