The mid-terms are finally over. As I suspected, the Democrats took quite a drubbing, although not quite as bad as some forecasts.
The last week or so has seen an unrelenting wave of analysis on what the President did wrong, could have done differently, etc.
There is one aspect to this that I haven’t seen covered. It was remarkable to me during the election cycle how Obama was able to get elected without revealing much about his true fundamental beliefs.
You might not agree with this, but that is actually the point. People thought they knew who he was, but these were projections.
Let me explain with an example: I remember during the Ohio primaries, Clinton and Obama were busy bashing free trade. Obama went so far as to promise to renegotiate the terms of NAFTA under the threat of an opt-out.
Sounds like he was firmly supporting American unions and against free trade, right? But then he does an interview in a business magazine. When questioned about his stance on free trade he explains that all politicians get carried away during an election and say things they don’t really mean. This was reassuring to the business community. But what was really interesting is that no one called him on this inconsistency. The Unions assumed he was “their guy” and the business community thought he was “their guy.” It was in no one’s interest to upset his campaign.
This was repeated on issue after issue and it struck me that it is not unlike what happens during the early stages of a love affair, where one partner “projects” their values and ideal attributes onto the other.
It seems like the disillusionment that often follows is similar as well. As the President has found, a candidate can sometimes be all things to most people. A President has to make tangible choices. These choices start to reveal the person behind our projections.
As with a love affair, this kind of disillusionment often results in anger. Something we have clearly seen in abundance this election cycle.