The problem with Obama’s re-election strategy

April 13, 2012

Jay Cost explains:

In pulling this off, Obama has two very substantial problems.

First, Mitt Romney will have an opportunity to define himself for the electorate, funded by hundreds of millions of dollars worth of television ads. And he has a compelling story to tell: family man and father of five, started his own company that invested in a lot of visible businesses, saved the Salt Lake City Olympics, and worked with Democrats in Massachusetts of all places. It is going to be easier said than done to stick either the Barry Goldwater or the J.P. Morgan label on him.

Second, and more importantly, this is not what swing voters want to talk about. Think of the campaign in terms of consumer economics: Customers want Walmart and Target to stock their shelves with certain items at certain prices, and the purchasing power of their dollars forces the two firms to comply. Well, our parties are like Walmart and Target, the voters are their customers, and the campaigns are like the marketplace. In the competition for votes, the two parties invariably end up talking about what the country, and in particular the swing vote, wants to talk about.

I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that the average swing voter does not want to talk about the “war on women,” the Buffett rule, or whatever else Team Obama is going to throw out there in the weeks and months to come. That voter wants to talk about jobs, the economy, the deficit, gas prices, the health care bill–in other words, all the issues where the president is vulnerable. And the competition of the campaign means that swing voter will get what he wants – Team Romney is more than happy to discuss all those issues, and so Obama will have no choice but to respond.

13 Responses to The problem with Obama’s re-election strategy

  1. Jim,MtnViewCA,USA on April 13, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I heard on the radio today that when Mitt’s father died, he was left an inheritance of a couple million dollars. However, he donated it to charity (church-related) and earned his own money.
    That contrasts with Obama, doesn’t it? The fancy, schmancy private school in Hawaii, the affirmative action advancement into the Ivy League, never holding a real job, ….

  2. anonymous un-RINO on April 13, 2012 at 9:02 am

    It is going to be easier said than done to stick either the Barry Goldwater or the J.P. Morgan label on him.


    Well, Cost is whistling past the graveyard. Both of those labels will stick with Obambi’s base, obviously. But the real genius of Axe’s campaign strategy is that it’s so comprehensively simple. It’s to work all of the political spectrum, with the exact same message. We conservatives already understand that Willard is about as close to Barry Goldwater as Arlen Specter (who is himself more conservative than Willard). Axe just has to play up the whole Etch-A-Sketch thing, because it’s a two-fer, as it illustrates to EVERYBODY that Willard’s a lying crapweasel. We conservatives already know that, and Obambi’s base and the Independents just need to have it cemented into place. It’s the exact same message. It’s a two-fer. Depress the opposition, and embolden your support. With the same message.

    Around the Midwest and the Heartland, with the Jacksonians, Axe can ensure that Willard gets portrayed as J.P. Morgan, and that will stick, too. It already has in the R primary, as we know, and no reason to think it won’t in the general.

    This is just the mainline campaign, of course. The Obamabots will have plenty of underground nonsense, as usual.

    So Willard has to thread the needle here. He has to scoop up the Barry Goldwater voters, and the Jacksonians, who have both scorned him, all while Axe is yammering how evil both of those groups are, and the RINOs are clamoring for Willard to appeal to “moderates” and furiously shake the Etch-A-Sketch, which backfeeds to Axe’s lying crapweasel message, which backfeeds to conservative mistrust… which.. etc.

  3. anonymous un-RINO on April 13, 2012 at 9:07 am

    The only solution is to get rid of this lying progressive crapweasel. Now. Go to the convention and pick a nominee. Reject these 4 stooges, and find an alternative. As a compromise, I’d suggest the governor of Indiana.

  4. Jim,MtnViewCA,USA on April 13, 2012 at 9:09 am

    “governor of Indiana”.
    Daniels? Ewww. Isn’t he a RINO squish? Seriously.

  5. unclefred on April 13, 2012 at 9:12 am


    The simple fact is that conservatives will vote for Romney, and many will contribute time and money to elect him. They won’t like doing it, but they realize that while he is not a conservative nor is he a marxist ideologue. They will work for Romney while the work to elect more conservatives to the Senate, relying on a more conservative Republican controlled legislature to pull Romney to the right. They realize that four more years of this administration has the very real probability of collapsing the economy and ending any respect for the constitutional limits on government by the SCOTUS.

    I don’t like it, but that’s how this will play out.

  6. unclefred on April 13, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Oh so that I am understood – when I said I don’t like it I mean the choice of the nominee, not that the right will unite behind him. I’ll be working to oust Obama myself. Which means I will be working to elect Romney.

  7. anonymous un-RINO on April 13, 2012 at 10:13 am

    4,000,000 conservatives rejected McLiar in 2008, u’fred. That’s per Barone.

    You actually think Willard is gonna do better than that? This crapweasel?

    I don’t. He’s going to lose Michigan worse than McLiar. Bush only barely lost it, both times. McLiar got bombed. Willard will get bombed worse. Repeat across the Midwest, even in Ohio and Iowa. You say it’s a lock, and I look at the polling, and know it’s not. Florida may not even matter, and Obambi may take Florida anyway.

    Yeah, Daniels is squishy, but like the other 3 R candidates, he’s a lot more conservative than Willard. Like I say, he’d be a compromise. Even the RINO establishment can get behind him. Heck, let’s throw out another name… Huckabee. I never much liked him either, but he’d be a lot better than Willard.

  8. enquiring minds on April 13, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Grampa Crank continues to infest this site.

    Despite Poli’s best efforts, it will not recover until he dispatches Grampa Crank and his ad nauseum babbling.

    It is rather sad–Grandpa Crank evidently has no one to listen to him. Perhaps he is institutionalized. Who would want to listen to such a bore?

  9. unclefred on April 13, 2012 at 11:46 am


    If you have a link to the Barone comment I would appreciate it. I do not doubt that he said it, but would like to see his sourcing. The demographic data that I have seen from the 2008 election indicates exactly the opposite, that on election day comparable numbers of conservatives turned out and voted for McCain as did for Bush in 2004. I would like to the source of his numbers.

    As for the question, assuming that Barone is correct, will more conservatives show up to vote for Romney than did for McCain. I strongly believe the answer is an emphatic yes. First the interest in voting on the right is much stronger that it was in 2008. According to polling this is most pronounced in the most conservative groups. They can’t wait to vote out Obama. Second, again assuming conservatives sat out McCain, when they made that choice they had not lived through what on election day will be 46 months of the Obama administration. They are not protesting against an unknown they are choosing to leave the executive in the hands of the worst president in modern history. While I’m sure that a percentage of those people will refuse to vote or vote 3rd party, the vast majority will vote for Romney to remove Obama from office.

  10. MikeN on April 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Romney had best be prepared to spend all of his personal fortune to beat Obama, after spending so much trashing conservatives of real accomplishment.
    Perhaps he should hold off on buying the car elevator for his house, and buy some ads in Ohio instead. Mr I enjoy firing people, corporations are people, etch-a-sketch, I don’t care about poor people is going to have trouble winning there.

  11. bobo on April 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    LOL Mike, seriously Im not Rinomney appologist but “after spending so much trashing conservatives of real accomplishment” really? who exactly please tell us. The choices we had in the primaries pretty much amounted to the difference between a jar of farts and a crap sandwich, ie. they all stunk.

  12. anonymous un-RINO on April 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    First the interest in voting on the right is much stronger that it was in 2008. According to polling this is most pronounced in the most conservative groups.


    No, it’s not u’fred. In November 2010, conservative voter enthusiasm was at least 14 points greater than on the Left. That’s why the shellacking that election, at the local, state and federal levels. It stayed high for a bit, and has now dropped and is at a near equilibrium with the Left. That is a direct function of Willard.

    I’d like to see Barone’s sourcing for that comment as well, but I don’t have it. McLiar pulled over 2M less votes than Bush 2004, and we know the nation’s population rose about 5%, and 2008 was a massive turnout year. 4M is in the ballpark, I’d say.

    I think such data is transient at best, and is transient based upon many of the things you mention, but unfortunately, WIllard is subject to the types of attacks that will expose him as a flipflopping crapweasel, and that’s what makes conservative voters transient to stay at home, as with McLiar.

    Rove estimated the number of conservatives who stayed at home due to Bush’s drunken driving October Surprise at about 3.5M in 2000. Frankly, that political hit made me pause and consider, and I know darn well others did likewise. You cannot think like these people, if you’re not one of them. If you didn’t pause in 2000, let that be a lesson as to the process these 2012 conservatives are going through. They are and will do what you don’t. And this lying progressive crapweasel is what triggers that process.

    Is it 2-3% who stay home? 7-8%? We’ll see.

  13. The Exposer on April 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Williard is repulsive to Conservatives in ways that McCain couldn’t manage to offend. The only way Slick Willard can win is to buy the votes of millions of left-wingers to offset the millions of Conservatives who will NEVER vote for his sorry, lying ass.

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