Obama’s new message: “You don’t scare hardworking Americans just to scare up some votes”
posted at 3:31 pm on November 2, 2012 by Allahpundit
So speaketh President Above The Fray, mastermind of one of the most relentlessly negative campaigns in modern history because he didn’t have enough actual accomplishments to dare risk running as Hopenchange version 2.0. As Michael Gerson reminds us, that was the plan from the very beginning. Obama didn’t stumble into the “kill Romney” strategy; it was his blueprint all along.
In November 2011, former Democratic pollsters — and current gadflies — Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell made a much-discussed argument in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. The miserable state of the economy, they claimed, restricted the options for President Obama’s reelection strategy. He could still win. “But the kind of campaign required for the president’s political survival,” they said, “would make it almost impossible for him to govern — not only during the campaign, but throughout a second term. Put simply, it seems that the White House has concluded that if the president cannot run on his record, he will need to wage the most negative campaign in history to stand any chance.”…
The Obama campaign fully internalized this political reality. It could not talk of “morning in America” during a continuing economic twilight. In a remarkable New York magazine article by John Heilemann this May, senior Obama aides frankly described the task ahead — delegitimizing Romney. He would be attacked as a vulture capitalist, a cultural revanchist, a social Darwinist. “For anyone still starry-eyed about Obama,” said Heilemann, “the months ahead will provide a bracing revelation about what he truly is: not a savior, not a saint, not a man above the fray, but a brass-knuckled, pipe-hitting, red-in-tooth-and-claw brawler.”
“Bracing” does not fully capture it. Throughout the summer, the Obama campaign and its allies accused Romney of not paying taxes, of possibly committing a felony, of personally outsourcing jobs to China and India, of stashing money in the Cayman Islands, of bearing responsibility for a woman’s death from cancer. The attempt to discredit Romney had an added political benefit. A presidential campaign consumed by the jabs and parries of the 24-hour news cycle was less focused on larger matters such as the economy.
Sullivan said recently that if you don’t vote for Obama 2012, then you never really voted for Obama in 2008. Problem is, they’re two different candidates. Obama 2008 was a post-partisan healer who deplored the politics of negativity and division. Obama 2012 has a Super PAC that runs ads accusing Mitt Romney of giving people cancer. Hopenchange is long gone, no matter what happens on Tuesday. Here he is today on the trail, neatly capturing the spirit of what his old movement has decayed into.