The Empathy Gap

Why does Obama still lead Romney in the polls, despite the dismal state of the economy?  Charles Krauthammer says it’s because of the “empathy gap.”  People think Obama seems to have more empathy–more feeling for people, a greater ability to identify with others, especially when they are hurting–than Romney does.  That, in fact, was a major theme of the Democratic Convention, the high point of which was the speech by Bill Clinton, the maestro of empathy.

Obama and the Empathy Gap – Charles Krauthammer – National Review Online.

So is that any way to choose a president?  But isn’t empathy a good quality to have in a ruler?

Democrats running as if Mitt Romney were president

The Democratic National Convention was full of angst about how “middle class” Americans are having such a hard time, how “the system is rigged against them” (as Elizabeth Warren put it), how the rich control everything, and other evocations of national misery.  But if things are so bad and electing Obama will solve the problems, why hasn’t he done anything about them so far?  As someone has noted, the Democrats are sounding like they are running against an incumbent President Romney.  But their guy is the one in office!  Their rhetoric is geared against the status quo–but they are the status quo!

Obama as Messiah

The cult of Obama is back.  A big-selling (but non-official) calendar at the Democratic National Convention includes this photo of President Obama’s birth certificate, along with the title “Heaven Sent.”  Then it applies John 3:16 as if it were referring to Barack Obama!

photo (13)

From Slate:  DNC 2012: Still Kitschin’.

Compare with the divinization of  Obama in his first campaign.

I’m not blaming the president for this.  It’s just a stark example of how people with a religious void will sometimes turn to charismatic human beings to fill it.   Consider the religious devotion–the shrines, the reliquaries, the pilgrimages, the raptures–that some people have for Elvis Presley.   But to divinize a ruler is especially dangerous since the worshiper accepts the unlimited power and the immunity from moral limits in the adoration of this earthly god.  Christians were persecuted in the early church precisely for refusing to burn incense to the divinized emperor.  Don’t be surprised if that becomes an issue again.  Cultures can’t stay godless for long, but the god they turn to, by nature, will tend to be a cultural god.

Trouble in Obamaland?

Politico is a useful political journalism site that some conservatives think leans to the left and is biased against them.  So when Politico publishes an e-book on the Obama campaign that emphasizes its disarray, there may be something to it.  Read this account:  Obama campaign roiled by conflict – Glenn Thrush – POLITICO.com.

Here is the e-book, an interesting venture in e-publishing, a bit of  investigative journalism that is longer than an article but shorter than a big book that would lose its currency by the time it would be printed, going for $2.99:  Obama’s Last Stand: POLITICO Playbook 2012 (Kindle Single)

 

Obama is winning

Bad news for Republican in the electoral college:

*** Romney leads in CO, but Obama’s ahead in VA and WI: Last week, President Obama campaigned in Florida and Ohio — just as new Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS polls showed him leading (and above 50%) in those two states. But today, as he begins a two-day swing through Colorado, the same polling outfit shows him trailing Romney among likely by five points in the state, 50%-45%. That said, new Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS surveys also show Obama leading in Virginia (49%-45%) and Wisconsin (51%-45%). So out of the six battleground states that Quinnipiac has polled in the past two weeks — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin — Obama leads in five of them. And speaking of polls, a new national Washington Post/ABC survey finds that Romney’s fav/unfav is still underwater at 40%-49% versus Obama’s 53%-43%. In fact, ABC adds that Romney “is laboring under the lowest personal popularity ratings for a presumptive presidential nominee in midsummer election-year polls back to 1984.”

via First Thoughts: The final three – First Read.

I don’t know about that last point.  I know lots of people who would give Romney an unfavorable rating while still voting for him.  Still, I thought it was the economy, stupid!  Why, despite everything, is Obama still doing so well?

Parade politics

We went to the 4th of July parade here in our small northern Virginia town.  I love the way such institutions usually include politicians marching down the parade route, waving and smiling to voters no matter how hot it gets.  It is a sign of American liberties that we don’t have to kiss up to our rulers–our rulers have to kiss up to us!

Anyway, Virginia is one of those battleground states, a toss-up that will help determine who wins the presidential election.  There are many polls, which are inconclusive.  I will offer political observers a bit of evidence from the parade.  When the Democratic Party contingent came by with their cool cars, pro-Obama signs, and supporters handing out Obama tracts, NO ONE CLAPPED.  The crowd was pretty boisterous otherwise, with everybody applauding each float and firetruck and antique car.  But when the Obama people marched by, an ominous silence accompanied them up and down the parade route.  I felt embarrassed for them.  I at least waved.

Now when the corresponding group of Republicans with their pro-Romney signs marched by, there was some applause, though it seemed notably unenthusiastic.

My impression is that, based on the parade sampling, Virginia voters a aren’t wild about Romney, but they like him better than Obama.

We’ll see how that stands up on election day.


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