Forget concerns about Obama’s campaign message — to one group of sober-sounding operatives, the real problem is that he doesn’t have a sharp enough policy vision.
It’s true that Obama has not proposed any sweeping new programs or policy initiatives for a new four-year term. He has tended to campaign on broad themes, like economic fairness, and big-picture goals, like restoring fiscal order — without explaining concrete policy goals. (Not insignificantly, the same has been said of Romney.)
But for a class of Democratic strategists, the notion of building a campaign around a negative message (the professionals call such a strategy a “contrast” message) about your challenger, especially when you are an incumbent president is politically risky — and even irresponsible.
Doug Schoen, the former Clinton pollster who routinely knocks other Democrats and helped promote the now-defunct third-party group Americans Elect, summed up this critique in an interview with BuzzFeed.
“They have no clear message or overarching theme other than class warfare and attack politics,” Schoen said of Obama’s campaign. ”They don’t have a vision for the second term. No clear sense as to what the administration is offering for a second term.”