This time around, the Obama machine cannot run on the fairy dust of hope and change. It cannot suggest after four years of dreadful executive-branch performance, that the promised one is on the horizon.
Its only path to victory is the one that finds its opponents even more disliked. So it can be guaranteed that whoever wins the Republican contest will face one of the most scorching personal assaults the country has ever witnessed.
Occasionally, the old style, thrill-up-my-leg over Obama quote still emerges. The Media Research Center's 2011 winners of "Best of Notable Quotables" provide examples. Stephen Marche of Esquire magazine won over judges of the "Obamagasm Award" by energetically asking "Can we just take a month or two to contemplate him (Obama) the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-'70s Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement?" At least when people said this in 2008, it hadn't been completely disproved. Marche reminds us of Baghdad Bob, the ridiculous propagandist for Saddam, proclaiming the defeat of allied troops while they emerged around the corner.
Marche actually claimed we will look back decades from now and see "a glorious idyll in American politics, with a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph." Someone hearing Marche declare this might rush him to an emergency room for signs of dementia.
The winner of MRCs "Media Hero Award" came forward as the congressional career of Anthony Weiner was about to end after having demonstrated his contempt for his wife by showing off his body parts all over Twitter (and actually exchanging tweets with high school girls).
ABCs Barbara Walters urged Weiner not to resign, citing as her role model the most shameless, brazen sex offender to ever darken the White House door. "And we had a President named Bill Clinton who went through a great deal of trouble, weathered the storm and is now not only respected, but he's beloved by many people with a very good marriage. So, I think Anthony Weiner should hang in there." Bad word choice -- (SET ITAL) hang (END ITAL).
ABC is chock full of nonsense like this. Diane Sawyer, their evening news anchor, won the "Occupy My Heart and Soul Award" for lathering praise on the anti-capitalist park squatters. "We thought we'd bring you up to date on those protesters, the Occupy Wall Street movement," she panted. "As of tonight, it has spread to more than 250 American cities, more than a thousand countries -- every continent but Antarctica." There are some 190 countries on Earth, but Sawyer earned points on the left for enthusiastic baloney. Days later, Sawyer restrained her hype to "more than a thousand cities around the world." Anywhere two hippies lifted a sheet of tagboard, they were counted as a part of the burgeoning global "reform" movement.
Katie Couric finally conceded her utter failure as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" in May, but she won the "Audacity of Dopes Award for the Wackiest Analysis" by concluding America was so deeply bigoted and consumed by "seething hatred" toward the world's Muslims that we need a sitcom to straighten ourselves out. "Maybe we need a Muslim version of 'The Cosby Show.' ... I know that sounds crazy. But 'The Cosby Show' did so much to change attitudes about African-Americans in this country, and I think sometimes people are afraid of things they don't understand."
Loathing of Obama was still classified daily as transparent racism. Sean Penn won the "Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity" by reading Tea Party minds on CNN and projecting murder fantasies: "You have what I call the 'Get the N-word out of the White House party,' the Tea Party.... At the end of the day, there's a big bubble coming out of their heads saying, you know, 'Can we just lynch him?'"
The transition from Obama adoration to Republican defenestration was exemplified by Chris Matthews on MSNBC. He earned the "Mean-Spirited, Nutty, Blathering Chris Award" for just blurting out against Newt Gingrich, "But he looks like a car bomber. He looks like a car bomber, Clarence. He looks like a car bomber. He's got that crazy Mephistophelian grin of his. He looks like he loves torturing. Look at the guy! I mean this is not the face of a president."
But the real award-winning quote (for denying liberal bias) was this delusional Matthews gem captured by Politico: "Hardball is absolutely non-partisan."
2012, here we go.