During his speech in Ethiopia addressing The African Union, President Obama departed from his text to talk about his favorite subject — himself.
“I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” said Obama with a straight face, “I think if I ran, I could win.”
Needless to say, I and many others would quarrel with the first half of his statement. But I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the second half.
Say what you will about Obama. The man knows how to run a campaign at least when he is at the center of it. Sure he has a lot of help from a sympathetic and sycophantic media. But Obama and his team know the Alinsky playbook inside and out: pick your target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. They know how to make the other guy or gal (in the case of Hillary Clinton) the issue. And if that doesn’t work he can always make sure his opponents are disqualified from running.
Of course, it doesn’t help when you have an ineffective opponent. John McCain didn’t want to fight Obama. Mitt Romney buckled Obama’s knees in the first debate, but didn’t go for the knockout punch while Obama recuperated and “killed” Romney. I think the same could be said of nearly the entire crop of GOP candidates.
The only Republican candidate that I think could beat Obama would be Scott Walker because he’s the only Republican who has shown he can take a punch in hostile territory and still come out on top. Walker also gets under Obama’s skin the way other Republicans simply don’t. When the President of the United States picks a fight with someone as he did with Walker over Wisconsin’s right to work legislation and negotiations with Iran, this means Walker has got to him and is in his head.
Still, the conditions would have to be perfect for Walker to beat Obama. After all, as Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time.” And fooling some of the people all the time is usually good enough to win.