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Over at NRO's Corner, I draw attention to Bill Galston's shrewd observations about Obama's unfolding re-election strategy, which he finds defective.  It is must reading for NLT folks, as Ohio is central to Galston's analysis.


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I think Obama and Axelrod really do believe that they can play a Colorado + Ohio strategy and, further, that they may view the dust-up over the government worker unions in WI and Ohio as something like serendipity--the perfect opportunity to try this dream strategy. "Never let a crisis go to waste" and all that. They think they can show themselves here as the friend to labor and the "little people" who--they view--as still "cling[ing] to their guns and God" and don't know enough to know that Obama's enlightened statesmanship is the true path to justice.

It is a bad miscalculation. It exposes, yet again, their cynical misunderstanding of the majority of Ohio's (and, therefore the country's) voters. It is yet another example of their attempt to lecture Americans about what they ought to want *from* government and its representatives instead of listening to what voters are telling them is the kind of representation they expect. It is not an attempt to elicit consent . . . it is an attempt to swindle them (again) with an appeal to interest.

The problem is that most people do not understand the demands of government workers in this instance to coincide, in any way, with their own interests. They know who will pay have to pay the piper if these demands keep coming and pols keep striving to meet them. It's them! The class warfare rhetoric will not work because--even supposing that there was enough latent and unjust sympathy for arguments about "soaking the rich"--nobody but fools believe that these demands can be met with that kind of a plan. Our "rich" aren't that "rich." So rich is going to have to be defined down. The jig is up. If you have sympathy for the middle class, you don't tell them they are stupid with the one hand and then propose to tax them for their stupidity with the next. Serendipity, in this instance, is with the Republican who can master the right rhetoric about these issues. If Obama keeps it up, it may be with the Republican who has a pulse . . .

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