Matt Lewis wrote this morning that Obama vs. Romney is starting to look a bit like a “Mac vs. PC” commercial. Here’s the RNC kinda sorta embracing that framework to make the point that what America has with The One is the policy equivalent of a Sad Mac. Lewis:
Republicans, of course, will claim the contrast favors them — that last night demonstrated a serious candidate talking about serious issues — versus someone “slow-jamming” with a comedian (while the economy crumbles).
But it also reminds me that the Obama vs. Romney clash creates a PR/optics problem for Republicans: Policy aside, Obama seems cool — while Romney seems more like The Man. (This might not matter. Voters might decided they personally like Obama, but that they want a technocrat to fix the economy. Sometimes we need The Man!)
Brand images, though, often outlast political campaigns. And from a purely superficial standpoint, the GOP — especially if Romney makes a milquetoast running mate pick — risks reinforcing its image as your father’s party.
Yeah, I’m not so sure that President Romney or even candidate Romney would turn down Fallon’s invitation to do a segment like this in order to pander to young adults and soften Mitt’s image as a patrician stiff. He sees enough opportunity to peel some young voters away from Obama that he was willing to break with congressional Republicans on extending the student-loan interest rate. Supposedly, he’s already considering an appearance on SNL. The only reason he might not do it is if, per this ad, he and his team decide to try to use Obama’s likability advantage against him by portraying him as frivolous and disengaged. That’s hard to do with an incumbent, though; voters see Obama at work in one format or another virtually every day. So the SNL guest shot is a fait accompli, I’d bet, although Team Romney will likely insist on a gag more dignified than this.
Two clips here, one of the ad and the other, via Greg Hengler, of MSNBC gushing so profusely over the “slow jam” bit that they felt obliged to half-kiddingly acknowledge their bias. Exit question: Would O have agreed to do this if he was as strong among young voters this year as he was in 2008? Remember, the Fallon appearance was scheduled as part of his two-day panderfest to college students and other under-30 voters. He’s worried about his margin in that demographic this time, especially given how high unemployment is for recent graduates. If embarrassing himself by playing Abbott to Jimmy Fallon’s Costello for three minutes turns out a few extra kids in November, hey.
Update: The logic of the ad in one line: “If voters think on election day that Obama is the cool one, but Romney is the competent one, Obama will lose.”