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HURT: The smallness of the new Obama

- - Tuesday, July 31, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It has become the disappearing presidency.

He went from peddling the "audacity of hope" to sheer hopelessness. From promising change to — literally — begging for change. Any spare change.

One of the latest depressing pitches came from Ann Marie Habershaw inside President Obama's campaign.

"Hi," it begins, as if we are friends. Which is really kind of creepy. And sad. We certainly are not.

"Yep, me again," she goes on, trying to make light of the fact that she has clearly become a pest.

"Surprise: I'm here to ask you for money." Really, that is what she actually wrote. Beyond depressing. Sad, pathetic, and she knows it. And she even knows that she better beat people to the punch by going ahead and broadcasting what a broke and pathetic stalker she sounds like.

Goes on to explain that July 31 would be the next big fundraising deadline.

"To be frank, we've gotten our behinds handed to us," she says of the past two deadlines. She asks for $3.

It might be "crass," she pretends to worry, but says the campaign is desperate for money — "a whole lot of it."

These degrading pleas for money have come from campaign hacks, Joe Biden, Hollywood actresses. Even from his wife, begging people to donate money for Mr. Obama's birthday.

Even Mr. Obama has made some of these sad entreaties, going so far as to announce yesterday that he himself was donating to his own campaign — a symbolic gesture, he explained, of just how much he expects all of us to pony up for his re-election.

That must have been one tough call from such a towering ego as Barack Obama.

It is all so sad because this money-grubbing and vote-pandering has forced Mr. Obama to undo one of the sterling accomplishment of his 2008 campaign.

For decades, Democrats could win elections by cobbling together disparate special interests and factions such as unions and black voters. In 2008, Mr. Obama reached beyond those petty borders and found support across a broader spectrum than any Democrat in recent times.

But in his desperation to win again after making such a mess of things, he has resorted to those old, small tactics such as flipping his position on gay marriage to woo that faction. Or granting amnesty to illegals in hopes of rounding up Hispanic votes.

He's become like an old, washed-up rock star, playing to small and smaller crowds but never quite able to get that old magic back.

And we are not talking Mick Jagger. We are talking Meat Loaf, all sad and sweaty and crashing around the stage, desperate to get one little flicker of his old fleeting glory days back again.

This was the guy who promised to bring peace to the world, prosperity to the poor and calm the raging seas.

He accepted the Democratic nomination at Mile High Stadium in Denver, the symbolic apex that his 2008 campaign was.

The soaring heights of his campaign promises mirror the low, desperate valleys of his actual presidency. This year's nomination will be accepted in the muggy little city of Charlotte, N.C. Elevation: 751 feet.

That's a 4,529-foot letdown. No wonder so many Democrats are scrambling not to go.

• Charles Hurt can be reached at charleshurt@live.com.