In most presidential elections, the two candidates spar over issues. The president campaigns for his party’s nominee in hopes of continuing his legacy.
Democrats champion liberalism, Republicans conservatism. In numerous press conferences, journalists try to force newsworthy and embarrassing admissions from the two candidates.
Not this year.
Barack Obama, who less than two years ago dipped to 40 percent in approval rating, is nowhere to be seen. He seems to know that the more he is absent and quiet, the more the public likes the idea rather than the reality of him as president — and his approval rating has risen to 51 percent.
In his self-imposed retreat, Obama makes no effort to defend the Affordable Care Act, which is all but disintegrating, as major insurers pull out and costs skyrocket.
Ditto the Iran deal. Obama is learning that it is better to be quiet about Iranian violations, ransom for hostages, and provocations than to explain them away.
Obama months ago gave up mentioning how the crushing national debt has almost doubled to nearly $20 trillion under his watch. No one seems to be defending the Obama administration’s lax immigration and border-enforcement policies.
He is also silent on his foreign policy — “reset” with Russia, the abrupt pullout from Iraq, the intervention in Libya, the growth of the Islamic State, the disintegration of Syria, and the decision not to associate global terrorism with radical Islamism.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has kept a relatively low profile for someone who’s running for president. She has not held a press conference in more than nine months, counting on a compliant press to keep giving her a pass on her e-mail scandals.
Her campaign strategy is to agree to occasional one-on-one interviews with pre-selected friendly journalists, and to engage in chitchat on frivolous morning and late-evening TV talk shows. Clinton avoids large rallies, where she often grates rather than enthuses.
The Clinton strategy is to sit on her small lead in the last two months of the race, expecting that the mercurial Donald J. Trump will finally destroy his campaign with another outburst. She apparently assumes that nonstop fundraising, attack ads, and an army of staffers will bury the amateurish Trump campaign. Read more →