The Imaginary Presidential Campaign of 2012: Obama’s Opportunity at the DNC

The Imaginary Presidential Campaign of 2012:  Obama’s Opportunity at the DNC

Things that interest me more than this election:

A.) Churning butter.

B.) The inhumane torture of white doves.

C.) How to make a straw broom (naked) without offending Amish people.

The truth is that I have followed every single presidential campaign since I was three years old.  It’s not that I was destined to be a political writer or blogger, although that would be very poetic to consider.  The truth is that in 1984, when I was three years old, Jesse Jackson ran for President.  I recall sitting in my parent's living room and hearing my mom and dad say, “Go ‘head Jesse!! Too bad he won’t win.”   I immediately wondered why.  Wasn’t Jesse Jackson the only leader there was in America?  Who could possibly be better than Jesse Jackson? And how did my parents know the very second that Jesse Jackson announced his candidacy that he wasn’t going to win?  Were they clairvoyant?

These questions intrigued me as a youngster.

Over the course of the next 28 years and seven elections, my interest in presidential elections and political sparring only intensified.  Though painfully divisive, I loved the notion of two people arguing over one set of problems in two distinctly different ways.  To me, it was part of why the American system of politics worked…until the 2000 election, but that’s another story.

As this presidential campaign season began I was hopeful.  I was excited. We have a massive problem – the economy.  We have two highly intelligent men to present solutions to this problem.  My checkered flag was in the air…READY, SET, GO!

Then nothing happened.

There was no talk of how to repair the economy on either side.   Merely sound bites that included the words:  Taxes. Horses. Americans. Are. Awesome.

It has been heartburn for the political soul.

I became disappointed that the President (who can boast accomplishments from his first term) focused more on Romney’s wealth, tax returns, horse owning, and dog rearing habits instead of the real issues at hand.    More than that, I became disappointed that many of us, who support the President, have not voiced an opposition to this.  I think it’s as unfair to focus on Romney’s wealth as it is to focus on Obama’s religion.  To continue to support such rhetoric is hypocritical.

It’s Still the Economy, (Mr. President)

As unfair as it may sound, in 2012 it’s not about Osama bin Laden or the war, it’s not about healthcare, and it’s not definitely not about solar energy because China has beat us in that market.  It is simply about two things:  The economy and jobs.

To deny this point or to avoid this point has done the President a disservice.

I, like so many others, certainly didn’t expect him to completely repair the economy in four years after eight years of Bush screwing it up.  However, when I hear that the recession ended two years ago (and that unemployment is still at one of its highest points in history) then something deserves to be explained.

That means that something worked with Obama’s economic measures.  That means that institutions benefited from the economic policies of the past four years but unfortunately, many people did not.  That means that many of the people who support Obama, the “99%”, benefited much less from his policies than they likely anticipated when they voted for him.

That fact shouldn’t be ignored.

Many people understand that corporations and institutions are the heart of our economy.  Their hopes, dreams, and tax dollars had to support those very institutions from collapse.  If you save the corporations, the jobs will come…it makes a lot of sense.  But when corporations were saved, the jobs did not come.  That deserves an explanation.

That deserves to be addressed head on.

That deserves a level of reassurance from the President.

If the past four years were simply the first phase of that master plan, then those who desperately want to support the President deserve to hear what’s next.

However, that has not happened…at least not yet.

As a result, many people have given Mitt Romney a moment of consideration.   And though he could have been perfectly poised to appeal to many independent Democrats and Republicans, he made a conscious choice to move closer to the most divisive, extreme and unpleasant sects within his party in the hope of assuring them that he is just like them.  That decision has presented an opportunity for the President.

Moving forward into the Democratic National Convention it is my hope that President Obama does not shy away from addressing the topic of the economy.  I hope that he uses the convention as an opportunity to reiterate how his actions were the best and only thing that could be done at the time.  I hope that he explains how the measures taken were a part of a greater plan to help those in need.  I hope that instead of evading the issue, our President gets ahead of it and presents real solutions on how we will move forward over the next four years.

That’s what his supporters who voted for him four years ago want from him.

That’s what so many who are struggling in our country need from him.

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    Kay S

    Kay Smith is a Chicago-based freelance writer and blogger who focuses on race, politics and urban culture. Having worked on public policy at the state, regional, city and community level, her opinions have been featured in the Chicago SunTimes and a host of news websites (under very mysterious sounding pseudonyms). Follow her on Twitter @kaywillsmith or contact her at

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