Judging by recent actions and statements, he has either abandoned hope of winning over any voters from the God-and-gun crowd or he’s made up his mind that 2013 is the year he wants to join the ranks of the ex-presidents.
Just last week he announced an executive decision to put in place new rules that will affect up to 800,000 illegal immigrants. By executive order, deportation will no longer apply to illegal aliens who came into the country before they were 16 and are now younger than 30, have lived here for five straight years, have never been convicted of a crime, graduated from high school or got a GED. They can apply for a two-year work permit that can be renewed unlimited times.
That is a merciful thing to do, but it is not something likely to win him support among voters who want their president to enforce immigration laws.
His recent announcement that he favors legalizing marriages between same sex couples wasn’t likely to win him many votes from the God-and-gun crowd, either. Thirty out of thirty states that have held referendums on the subject defeated the proposals.
His recent statement that “the private sector is doing just fine” made him seem so out of touch that he backed off of it just hours later, a gaffe not likely to help on the campaign trail.
A common perception of the Republican Party is that the GOP only looks out for the rich and developed its strategy of winning over social conservatives by talking about issues of traditional morality, gun rights and state rights, while concentrating on legislation that makes the rich richer at the expense of the poor and the middle class.
Whether that’s an accurate characterization or not, GOP candidate Mitt Romney certainly has weaknesses with voters who tended to favor — well, anybody but Romney — during this year’s contentious primary season.
With so many voters cool to Romney’s candidacy, Obama had an opportunity to build a bigger tent for the Democratic Party by extending a hand of welcome to voters with more traditional views. Instead they got a slap in the face with reminders of controversial wedge issues.
Perhaps the president was simply trying to rally the base. The voters that gave him the numbers he needed to win four years ago might need a little motivation.
Or perhaps he’s getting ready for an early retirement.
Being an ex-president is a pretty good deal.