This would be hilarious if it weren’t so … well, hilarious, really, but in a very sad way. The Barack Obama campaign officially launched in April 2011. They have raised something close to a billion dollars, and they’ve certainly spent almost as much on field offices, GOTV efforts, and tons of campaign advertising. They even created their fantasy of a woman living under Barack Obama’s benevolent governance, “Julia,” that managed to creep out so many women that they have done their best to send Julia to the Island of Misfit Political Mascots.
The one thing they didn’t have is a reason for anyone to vote for Barack Obama — a second-term agenda. Mark Halperin became the loudest voice in the media to point this out after the second debate came and went without it, and even some Democrats began to wonder whether Obama himself knew what he wanted to do with a second term. Hours after the third debate passed without an agenda, guess what Team Obama discovered?
After weeks of being challenged by Democrats and Republicans to lay out his second-term agenda, President Obama’s campaign is releasing a 20-page booklet called “Blueprint for America’s Future” on Tuesday and airing a new television ad to support it.
The 60-second spot, called “Determination,” outlines several policy initiatives the president will tackle if he were to get reelected. Calm and poised, speaking over soft music and images of soldiers coming home, farmers in the fields and manufacturing workers in factories, Obama makes a pitch directly to the camera in the ad.
“There’s just no quit in America and you’re seeing that right now,” Obama says, before going on to lay out several first-term accomplishments. He continues, “We’re not there yet, but we’ve made real progress and the last thing we should do is turn back now.”
Obama then describes his plan: “Making education and training a national priority; building on our manufacturing boom; boosting American-made energy; reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where we can, and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. And ending the war in Afghanistan, so we can do some nation-building here at home. That’s the right path.”
This is an act of desperation on Team Obama’s part. Until the debates, their entire strategy was to attack Mitt Romney as an unacceptable choice, as a vampire capitalist/weirdo who couldn’t possibly handle the presidency. The decision to hold off on a second-term agenda was deliberate, as deliberate as their intent to paint Romney as The Other and toxify him so that Democrats could win a base turnout election.
Now that the debates are over, the Obama campaign belatedly realizes just how misguided that strategy turned out to be. Now they want to rush an agenda out in order to make a positive claim for the office, because Romney turned out to be more presidential than Obama in the debates. People will rightly ask why Obama waited until 14 days out from the election to bother to make a positive case for a second term — and come to the proper conclusion that Obama’s arrogance led him to believe he’d never have to make that case to voters at all. He figured he was owed a second term.
Too little, far too late.
Addendum: Have we made ‘real progress’? Just a few charts to mull over while considering that claim. First, let’s look at jobs since the recession began in comparison to all other post-WWII recessions:
Next we have the civilian workforce participation percentage rate over the last 18 years:
Finally, here are deficits over the last 12 years, and for the next seven under Obama’s projected budgets:
Small wonder 62% want a major change in policy direction.