Obama to campaign on … change?

posted at 2:41 pm on June 26, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

What argument does Barack Obama have for a second term?  Despite having had his campaign in place for almost a year and a half, Team Obama and the President still are flailing about for a theme and a campaign message.  BuzzFeed reports today that they’ve come up empty, and might have to settle for reruns:

Four years after he tapped into a deep longing for change, President Obama is shifting back to the message that got him elected, running against Washington Gridlock and promising that his re-election can “break the stalemate” that has at times paralyzed the government over which he presides.

Excuse me?  President “I Won” wants to argue that he can break a stalemate for which he’s now largely responsible?  Good luck with that, although he can point to one singular achievement in bipartisanship: he’s the only President in modern history to fail to get a single vote on two successive budget proposals in three Congressional votes, including none from his own party, which controls the Senate.

Obama first tested this new messagae in Cleveland earlier this month, but he developed it fully Monday during campaign stops in New Hampshre and Massaschusetts, where he stopped looking back to make the case for his accomplishments, and moved away from dwelling in te problems of the present. Instead, Obama looked to the lame duck Congressional session this fall and beyond, taking a sledgehammer to Washington, the town his party controlled for his first two years in office. [spelling errors in original]

Oh, please!  Obama and his party had large majorities in Congress, including several months of filibuster-proof control of the Senate in 2009-10.  What did they do?  Initiate a government overhaul of the health-care system that imposed top-down mandates and federal diktats to religious organizations, and indulge in almost every liberal hobby-horse of the past 30 years.  Even on the stimulus, where they could have drawn Republican support in the immediate crisis, Obama rejected their input with his two-word “I won” rejoinder and ended up entirely owning its failure.

What is this, now — the fourth argument for the Obama team?  What happened to “Forward?”  I guess now it’s “Backward.”  They want to run on change again, which is an interesting choice for an incumbent.  “Change” must now mean “status quo,” eh?  At least this is a point on which Mitt Romney can agree with Obama, because Romney’s running on change, too — starting at the top.

Charlie Cook warns that Obama’s not going to be able to sell himself in this election at all anyway, emphasis mine:

We are past the point where Obama can win a referendum election, regardless of whether it is on him or the economy. The success of his campaign is contingent upon two things. First, when focusing on the narrow sliver of undecided voters, between 6 and 8 percent of the electorate, the Obama team must make its candidate the lesser of two evils. It has to make the prospect of a Mitt Romney presidency so unpalatable that about half of those undecided voters will begrudgingly vote for reelection. Polling focusing on the undecided voters reveals they are a deeply pessimistic and angry segment of the electorate and don’t particularly like either candidate (fitting, because they don’t tend to like politicians). But they show signs of being more conservative than not. One unpublished analysis gives Republicans a 10-point advantage on the generic congressional ballot test among those undecided about the presidential race. Close analysis of the numbers shows that Obama might have an edge with between a third and a quarter of the currently undecided bloc. That’s cutting things awfully close.

The second key is turnout. African-Americans look solid for Obama and very likely to vote in high numbers, but young and Latino voters’ turnout appears problematic. Obama’s recent announcement of a newly articulated Dream Act-light policy could help, but it is too soon to see any data showing measurable change. It is what many Latino voters wanted to see, though Obama did it less than five months before the election when it could have been done three years ago. After deportations had reached levels higher than those under George W. Bush, it could take a lot to drive up Latino turnout.

This election is hardly over: The totally unexpected could happen that changes everything. Unless the Obama team can discredit Romney, though, convincing voters that he is a ruthless, uncaring corporate buccaneer, this will be a hard election to win. Probably the only upside for Obama is that the undecided voters appear so sour that they might believe almost anything disparaging said about any politician.

So the undecideds give the GOP a +10 in a generic Congressional ballot?  That’s a big indicator as to how the presidential race will go, but Jim Geraghty cautions against reading too much into that:

My one caveat to this finding: a good portion of the remaining undecided are the notorious “low-information voters” whose views seem particularly fickle and easily swayed. While the instincts of these voters are conservative, they probably shouldn’t be thought of as actually conservative voters.

The time for “low-information voters” is rapidly running out, however.  If that holds up, Obama will be in huge trouble, as will Democrats running for Congress.  Also, Cook’s citation of this relies on the fact that these are not conservative voters, but independents breaking hard toward the GOP, as conservatives would already be supporting the GOP and opposing Obama.  That’s what makes this so interesting.

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Classy, well spoken and intelligent? Well, right there I see she’s really out of touch with the population at large. How can she possibly relate to an ordinary person and product of our public education system.

hawkeye54 on June 26, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Lol…ouch. That’s too true to be funny. Who can forget the “obama’s stash” woman, just for starters?

Benjamin Franklin had it right.

MelonCollie on June 26, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Think Axelrod is on a bit of a mini-strike at the moment.
Telling Obama he wants more $’s to make this pig fly.

Jabberwock on June 26, 2012 at 3:34 PM

More smoke and mirrors ? ………

ah, but the The emperor’s smoke is Clearing, now isn’t it ?

FlaMurph on June 26, 2012 at 3:34 PM

“Running on Empty 2012″

hachiban on June 26, 2012 at 3:35 PM

More smoke and mirrors ? ………

ah, but the The emperor’s smoke is Clearing, now isn’t it ?

FlaMurph on June 26, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Not as long as he keeps hitting the bong. Remember, he leads the Choom Gang.

Bitter Clinger on June 26, 2012 at 3:35 PM

ah, but the The emperor’s smoke is Clearing, now isn’t it?

FlaMurph on June 26, 2012 at 3:34 PM

That’s called Total Absorption.

Flange on June 26, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Mitt Romney as a candidate has his faults, but I believe he is basically a decent, pragmatic, and patriotic man. He’s bound to be a better president than what we have now, because I don’t think anybody could be worse.

RebeccaH on June 26, 2012 at 2:49 PM

I agree. (I live in Boston within walking distance of the offices of both Bain Capital and Bain & Co. While I’ve never met Romney I do know him second-hand through a number of business contacts. Even die-hard libs who would never vote for him consider him a fundamentally decent person.)

Romney also has demonstrated great business knowledge – he will instinctively know what federal policies (or lack thereof) will be good for business. Obama has no clue.

On the other hand I think he considers himself more of a very competent technocrat rather than a limited-gov’t conservative. With a Romney presidency I’m sure I’ll see him trying to meddle in things that the Federal gov’t shouldn’t. 10x fewer things than Obama, to be sure, but more than I’d like.

I’m skeptical about any politician and know we’ll occasionally have to keep his feet to the fire, but all-in-all I’m bullish about a Romney presidency.

beancounter on June 26, 2012 at 3:39 PM

ah, but the The emperor’s smoke is Clearing, now isn’t it ?

FlaMurph on June 26, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Not really. Remember, Choomhead keeps the windows rolled up when he lights up.

OneVision on June 26, 2012 at 3:39 PM

I never had a real job, and look at me now – Obamuh ’12.

OhEssYouCowboys on June 26, 2012 at 3:39 PM

“Change” – This time I really mean it. Really Really.

WisRich on June 26, 2012 at 3:49 PM

OhEssYouCowboys on June 26, 2012 at 3:39 PM

How about this: “I never had a real job and now because of my policies neither do you”. Obama 2012

DaveDief on June 26, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Serious question — does TeamObama know who has been President for the last 3 & 1/2 years?

Dark Star on June 26, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Obama has a history of consistently ignoring laws and court rulings he doesn’t like. What makes anyone think he would accept the results of the election if he loses?

merlich on June 26, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Serious question — does TeamObama know who has been President for the last 3 & 1/2 years?

Dark Star on June 26, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Bush, right?

The Rogue Tomato on June 26, 2012 at 3:58 PM

“SSDD”

Obama 2012

GrannyDee on June 26, 2012 at 4:03 PM

might have to settle for reruns

Leftovers 2012

faraway on June 26, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Chump Change.

Pork-Chop on June 26, 2012 at 4:28 PM

Who can forget the “obama’s stash” woman, just for starters?

MelonCollie on June 26, 2012 at 3:32 PM | Delete | Delete and Ban

Her ‘sister” came by my church this past Sunday. We had helped her once before by paying one of her bills for her. This week she was back to try and tap the honey hole again, with no luck this time. She said that social services wouldn’t help her either…Obama gave them all of that money to help folks like her and they wouldn’t help her. I wanted to bang my head into the door, there was no reaching her, she was in total entitlement mode.

She left us talking on her cell phone and got into her late model car and drove away. She did have very nice tattoos though.

Sweaty Deacon on June 26, 2012 at 4:34 PM

Only a Liar like Obama can run as an ‘outsider’ after 4 years in DC entrenchment.

Schadenfreude on June 26, 2012 at 4:39 PM

John Edwards popped into my head after I read this. Now I have to wash my brain out with some whiskey.

Cherokee on June 26, 2012 at 3:19 PM

But, we can be pretty certain that Mitt’s not diddling the camera crew.

Resist We Much on June 26, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I just got a fundraising email from Barack Obama. Here’s the money quote from that email:

My opponent spent this past weekend at a secretive retreat for the biggest donors to both his campaign and the super PACs that support him. I’ve got other responsibilities I’m attending to.

Obama not only bashes Romney for attending a “secretive retreat” for the “biggest donors” he also gives the impression he has better things to do than attend a fundraiser.

pitythefool on June 26, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Sounds like someone needs some advice from Pappy O’Daniel.

http://www.hark.com/clips/qdckgtxpjc-how-we-gonna-run-reform-when-were-the-damn-incumbent

FireDrake on June 26, 2012 at 4:48 PM

May God save us from unthinking morons “low information voters.” They hate politics and politicians? Hell, the reason it’s so transparently scummy is because politicians have to pander to them in order to win. How do politicians pander to uninformed morons? Why, they lie and spin and run sensationalist campaigns and insinuate that their opponents are racists and puppy-kicking cannibals, that’s how. Voting records and policy arguments aren’t sexy enough to hold the attention of the American Idol crowd. Anything to motivate a dumbass is fair game, since dumbasses get one vote apiece just like we competent folks do.

Hey, “low-information voters,” you are the problem. Either start paying attention or stop voting. You dolts who emote rather than think are destroying America.

HeckOnWheels on June 26, 2012 at 4:50 PM

They Voted You In Because You’re Black.
We’re Voting You Out Because You’re Useless.

– Voters 2012

Schadenfreude on June 26, 2012 at 4:55 PM

“Changing My Address-2012″.

hillsoftx on June 26, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Correction

They Voted You In Because You’re Black.
We’re Voting You Out Because You’re Useless, except for your own interests.

Schadenfreude on June 26, 2012 at 5:07 PM

I’m down with that–let’s change the occupants of the White House.

stukinIL4now on June 26, 2012 at 5:08 PM

So, he wants change . . . tell him to look under the sofa cushions.

rplat on June 26, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Think Axelrod is on a bit of a mini-strike at the moment.
Telling Obama he wants more $’s to make this pig fly.

Jabberwock on June 26, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Obama to campaign on … change?

Change-still a pig with lipstick.

jersey taxpayer on June 26, 2012 at 5:14 PM

Not surprising. Obama likes to attack and destroy things. He has no idea how to defend and build something. This is an alien concept to him. He hates it. He wants to run against the last four years. Just happens to be his own 4 years in his own administration, but I doubt that will stop Obama. Just watch.

MrX on June 26, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Democrats have screwed the American worker once again.

Obama has made sure the supply of labor outstrips demand forever.

He’s given the beginnings of amnesty to millions of aliens who are more than willing to live 10 families to a house, work for far less than Americans can afford to and who take from taxpayers everything they can and when American citizens protest they have huge marches flying foreign flags screaming insults and demanding more freebies and more amnesty all courtesy of liberals willing to slam workers already starving, all just so long as the aliens vote democrat, even if its illegally.

Obama has given the vast majority of American’s a big screw you!

Hows it feel to see the President flip us off?

Speakup on June 26, 2012 at 5:18 PM

“STAY THE COURSE FOR A CHANGE” Obama 2012

“LET’S FLIP THIS FLOP” Romney 2012

KW64 on June 26, 2012 at 5:37 PM

It doesn’t matter if he runs on “Winning Lottery Tickets for Every Man, Woman and Child”. People are furious, dubious, afraid, and disgusted. Barry and his radical nutjobs are OUT in a landslide.

bob77 on June 26, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Speaking of “low information voters” this piece by Kevin Williamson at NRO is just brutal.

It begins:

Could somebody please get Barack Obama to shut up about “outsourcing” until some undergraduate aide has explained to him what the word means? As it stands, the president is showing himself an ignorant rube on the subject, and that is to nobody’s advantage.

Oh so much more at the link.

Buy Danish on June 26, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Speaking of “low information voters” this piece by Kevin Williamson at NRO is just brutal.

It begins:

Could somebody please get Barack Obama to shut up about “outsourcing” until some undergraduate aide has explained to him what the word means? As it stands, the president is showing himself an ignorant rube on the subject, and that is to nobody’s advantage.

Oh so much more at the link.

Buy Danish on June 26, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Yep, that’s a sharp pen. Love pointing out the massive hypocrisy of liberals.

slickwillie2001 on June 26, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Serious question — does TeamObama know who has been President for the last 3 & 1/2 years?

Dark Star on June 26, 2012 at 3:55 PM

I sais the same yesterday. Also think about the fact that they have had 2/3rds of the power(of Congress and the WH) for the last 5.5 years.

CW on June 26, 2012 at 6:28 PM

mmmmm mmmmmmmm!!!!!
Can’t wait til there’s a change!

txmomof6 on June 26, 2012 at 6:28 PM

how about:

Ex-change” — Obama 2012

thurman on June 26, 2012 at 6:36 PM

How we gonna run reform? We’re the incumbent

- O Brother Where Art Thou

McNinja on June 26, 2012 at 6:43 PM

how about:

“Ex-change” — Obama Romney 2012″

thurman on June 26, 2012 at 6:36 PM

FIFY

KW64 on June 26, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Barry bamstahhhh !!!!!!! you da man bammy babyyyy !!! love ya barry ol buddy ol pallll!!! yahhhhhh!!!!!

Garan on 4 PM

cableguy615 on June 26, 2012 at 7:28 PM

“Interesting” makes it sound like a game, or some reality-show intrigue. It’s time for the politics-as-business-as-usual mindset to end.

Obama’s actions the last two weeks regarding the DREAM Act, Fast & Furious and Arizona should have eliminated any doubt or nonchalance that this tyrant is literally playing for keeps.

He’s lawless. It matters not what he’s “campaigning on” anymore. This isn’t like any other election, because the psychopath in the White House is like no other President.

Right Mover on June 26, 2012 at 3:13 PM

^^^^^THIS^^^^^

Solaratov on June 26, 2012 at 8:08 PM

BuzzFeed reports today that they’ve come up empty, and might have to settle for reruns:

Why not have Sarah Jessica Parker or some other horse-faced Hollywood type sponsor a contest where for $3 you can suggest the theme Obama should run on in November? Not only does it raise cash, it might give the smartest people in the world some clue as to what is wrong with the four themes they’ve tried so far.

My suggestion for a theme would be- Unemployment, it isn’t just for lazy people anymore.

Happy Nomad on June 26, 2012 at 8:25 PM

I do have to say it is a hoot to think Obama is running on the idea that he needs four more years to finish the job. That is what we are all afraid of.

Happy Nomad on June 26, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Obama to campaign on … change?

…changing diapers!

KOOLAID2 on June 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Arizona should unilaterally start construction of a border wall and dare the feds to come knock it down.

The visuals would be very revealing to the American people and categorically demonstrate that Obama wants zero border security.

matthew8787 on June 26, 2012 at 10:24 PM

PLEAASSEEE run on “Change” I want change, too. Starting with the occupant of the White House. More change!

ghostwalker1 on June 27, 2012 at 12:31 AM

Even “low-information voters” have to live in the real world and pay for gas and groceries and see their relatives, friends and neighbors without work and struggling to pay mortgages or rent. They know something just isn’t right and, regardless of some polls, they aren’t inclined to keep blaming Bush 3-1/2 years later. It’s kind of funny to me how so many will be going into that voting booth and hoping for a real change. Can’t help it…the thought of Obama’s theme song biting him in the a$$ just makes me giddy.

SKYFOX on June 27, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Being retired, I have time to stand on corner to challenge people to think with my flag and sign. My last one was, “F

amr on June 27, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I am retired and have the time to stand on my corner with my Navy Jack DONT TREAD ON ME flag and sign of the day to challenge citizens to think beyond the MSM. My last one was, “FAST&FURIOUS
->OBAMA’S DEADLY WATERGATE.” Many don’t know what F&F was because of the lack of coverage. If those in the 3000 or so vehicles passing me per day pay any attention, they may seek more info and if they find out that 300 or more Mexicans were killed and two American officers, they just might wonder what the heck is going on under this administration.

It’s a shame there are not more corner guys and gals in our country. Everyone seems too busy to worry about the ever slowly loss of our freedoms and rights.

amr on June 27, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Jug ears is so full of it, it’s no wonder his lying eyes are brown.

jqc1970 on June 27, 2012 at 2:35 PM

You mean the COMMIE message of “Forward” isn’t working??? I guess not ALL DummycRATs are COMMIES!?! (Sure does seem like most of ‘em are though!)

Colatteral Damage on June 27, 2012 at 3:09 PM

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