The DNA of the DNC

When Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” played and balloons dropped following Bill Clinton’s 1992 Democrat convention speech, I was tempted to get on board.

And for a few seconds last week, while U2’s “City of Blinding Lights” escorted Barack Obama to the podium, I thought, “He’s got this.”

Emotions make up the DNA of the DNC. Dems have a knack for the dramatic. They strum heart strings. Their 2012 convention theme could have been, “Democrats, Friend of Victims”.

President Obama plays the victim well. His perpetrators: racists, capitalists, ethnocentrists. If you don’t support him, you’re bigoted, selfish or hard-hearted; you side with corporations over regular people, notwithstanding that corporations are staffed and owned by regular people. A victim president is a perfect candidate for the sympathy vote.

The sympathy vote can be explained like this: Reasonable people watch for four years a mortal bearing weight, pressure. A man having to be mostly on and mostly responsible for the ills of the world. If those people perceive him a decent man, they will vote to let him keep his job.

One could argue the sympathy vote gave George W. Bush four more years in 2004. It wasn’t as much a factor for George H.W. in 1992 because the sympathy vote is largely a byproduct of a nascent and incessant news industry. The modern news media has turned the presidency into a reality TV show.

Viewers naturally have pity on reality show contestants. None of us wants to be fired by Donald Trump or weighed in our underwear. Since Mr. Obama seems relatively normal compared to his reality competition, some Average Joes and Real Housewives will give him the benefit of the doubt. If he survives in November, this will be the reason.

It will not be these reasons:

1. The 4.5 million jobs his minions say he has created. (Even if this statistic were true, it would be far too few for the 20-plus million unemployed and the millions more underemployed or dormant.)

2. The 6 trillion dollars in debt he has added to our collective balance sheet with minimal assets to show for it.

3. The budget-busting, Medicare-raiding healthcare entitlement that he had to force through a Congress his own party controlled.

4. The way he alienated his opposition and highlighted class divisions.

On the other hand, if he loses, he will lose because:

1. He was spending while we were cutting.

2. He talked healthcare while we talked economy.

3. He spoke of alternative energy while we drove to work on $3.50 gas.

4. He made his own rules rather than enforcing Congress’.

5. He promoted gay rights while we were just trying to feed our families.

The Democrats’ convention last week essentially boiled to this: Barack loves you. That’s why he did these unpopular things. It felt like watching Barney: Barney loves you. Give Barney a hug. Vote for Barney.

The irony: Barney has built a more successful enterprise than Barack. The president wouldn’t disagree. He can’t. Therefore, he describes his first term as a loss leader. A necessity to get people in the door, on board.

My sense is the majority of Americans don’t want to pay double for the freebies of a few. I predict America will bring to a full stop the train it slowed in 2010 when it gave Republicans the House.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas Hill Country. Follow him at


1 Response to “The DNA of the DNC”

  1. 1 Chris Clark September 11, 2012 at 23:02

    Great post, Kevin! I would love for you to write a post on 2016 Obama’s America. I went and watched it by myself and I left with more questions than answers. Hope you are well, my friend!
    Chris Clark

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