Politico apparently got a leak from the DNC or the Obama campaign that may end up backfiring on the Democrats. Three weeks out from their convention, Mike Allen reports that Barack Obama and the Democrats will feature regular-folks speakers to talk about how great Obama’s policies have been, which isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. The twist? They’ll be Republicans:
Advisers to President Barack Obama are scripting a Democratic National Convention featuring several Republicans in a prime-time appeal to independents — and planning a blistering portrayal of Mitt Romney as a heartless aristocrat who “would devastate the American middle class,” Democratic sources tell POLITICO. …
Each night of the convention will include a star turn for what planners call “real people” — for instance, an auto worker whose job was saved, a student who benefited from college loans and an entrepreneur fueled by federal research-and-development funds.
The most innovative — and harshest — element of the preliminary program is a nightly “social contrast” in which two people describe their personal experience with a hot-button issue — one person lauding the president’s actions, the other taking Romney to task. “Each paired-testimonial should have an ‘unexpected’ participant,” the documents say.
But the plans show organizers intent on steering clear of controversy as well. For the gay marriage social contrast, for instance, the documents state the participants should be “not a gay couple” — but a “parent and gay son or daughter.”
Other examples: “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Gay soldier and fellow (straight) soldier who served together in Iraq or Afghanistan (ideally the straight soldier was helped by the gay soldier, i.e., medic, in fire fight) … Planned Parenthood: Husband who talks about how a PAP smear saved his wife’s life and his spouse … Immigration: Two young people from the same family, one who was born here, the other a few years older who was not … Choice: A couple who has children, but wants to make their own decisions, not have the government do it for them (or who has confronted a difficult medical situation).”
At first blush, that’s a pretty good strategy. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but it still would put the focus where Obama wants it — anywhere but the economy and jobs. Using Republican voters for some of the speeches also is a pretty good strategy, if Obama wants to impress independents who have jobs and don’t know anyone who doesn’t.
That’s really the first problem with this strategy — it avoids the issue that is far and away the most important to voters in this cycle: jobs and the economy. If all the convention discusses is gay marriage, DADT, contraception, and abortion, it will be a huge success … with the people who were going to vote for Obama no matter who ran against him. Everyone else will understand that Democrats don’t have an answer for the economic crisis.
The second problem? Leaking the strategy. It’s not going to take long for the GOP and Romney campaign to start looking for disillusioned Democrats to talk about how Obamacare has driven up costs for their businesses and forced them to cut staffing, disillusioned Democrats who lost jobs and can’t find work in the era of 15% U-6 un/underemployment, and disillusioned Democrats who want a candidate who’s actually talking about the economy rather than Trojans and abortions at his national convention. When they do, the contrast will be stark — and very damaging to Obama and Democrats.
So consider this a wake-up call to Team Romney. Get your researchers to find people who will speak to the damage done by Obama in the worst recovery in US history. It shouldn’t be difficult, because there are literally millions of potential candidates for these slots.
Note: I had back surgery yesterday, a microdiskectomy at L5/S1 to fix a rupture that was causing serious pain. It was very successful, but the surgical pain is considerable the morning after the drugs wore off. So, I am going to be taking happy pills and giving myself a break from the blog until Monday.