2012 Tuesday: Obama officially ditches Hope for Fear

New York Magazine has a revealing and worthwhile look at the Obama campaign’s approach to this year’s election and GOP opponent Mitt Romney. Here is the crux of it:

Though the Obamans certainly hit John McCain hard four years ago — running more negative ads than any campaign in history — what they intend to do to Romney is more savage. They will pummel him for being a vulture-vampire capitalist at Bain Capital. They will pound him for being a miserable failure as the governor of Massachusetts. They will mash him for being a water-carrier for Paul Ryan’s Social Darwinist fiscal program. They will maul him for being a combination of Jerry Falwell, Joe Arpaio, and John Galt on a range of issues that strike deep chords with the Obama coalition. “We’re gonna say, ‘Let’s be clear what he would do as president,’ ” [senior White House adviser David] Plouffe explains. “Potentially abortion will be criminalized. Women will be denied contraceptive services. He’s far right on immigration. He supports efforts to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage. …

Thus, to a very real degree, 2008’s candidate of hope stands poised to become 2012’s candidate of fear. For many Democrats, this is just fine and dandy, for they believe that in the Romney-Republican agenda there is plenty to be scared of. For others in the party in both politics and business, however, the new Obama posture is cause for concern. From the gay-­marriage decision to the onslaught on Bain, they see the president and his team as coming across as too divisive, too conventional, and too nakedly political, putting at risk Obama’s greatest asset — his likability — with the voters in the middle of the electorate who will ultimately decide his fate.

Now, this portrait of the strategy — which carries the title “”Hope: The Sequel; For Obama & Co., this time around it’s all about fear” — is not revealing because it’s surprising. Americans routinely tell opinion pollsters they’re underwhelmed by President Obama’s record in the White House and unnerved about the country’ direction, so there’s only so much “Morning in America” the campaign can promote. Fear of the other guy represents most of what they have to sell.

It is revealing, however, to see how open Plouffe and other Democrats are about this strategy. And it is revealing to see how quickly they have to resort to falsehoods to explain it.

To begin, let’s take each of the examples Plouffe gives in his own words:

  • “Potentially abortion will be criminalized.”: Not even the reddest of red states have “criminalized abortion” in the 39 years since Roe v. Wade; they have only tried, with mixed results, to place limits on it. The idea that Romney, in just four or eight years, would spend his political capital trying to push a nationwide ban on abortion through Congress — and that the Supreme Court would overturn precedent to uphold said law — is beyond far-fetched. At most, a President Romney might get to replace a liberal justice with a conservative one more inclined to entertain limits on abortion. That is, of course, a possibility in every single administration. And the reverse — that Obama in a second term might get to replace a conservative justice with a liberal one — is just as motivating to conservatives.
  • “Women will be denied contraceptive services.” This issue came out of left field when the Obama administration this year tried to force religious entities to violate their consciences to expand subsidies — not legal access — to contraception, and only to a tiny sliver of women. When that maneuver prompted an outcry, the administration doubled down by suggesting Republicans would try to chip away at the status quo.
  • “He’s far right on immigration.” During the primaries, Romney described his policies toward illegal immigrants already living in the U.S. as one which would encourage “self-deportation” by making it harder for them to make a living from the shadows. The Obama administration, however, constantly touts the large number of illegal immigrants whom it has deported over the past three years. Does that put Obama on the far-far right on immigration?
  • “He supports efforts to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage.” This is actually true. But, as a senior White House adviser, Plouffe surely knows presidents aren’t involved in the amendment process.

These are just the ones for which Plouffe was quoted. There is plenty of intrigue about the ones the magazine paraphrased. For instance, how’s that attack on “vulture capitalism” working out? (Not well.) How is Obama going to portray Romney as a failed governor, given that a) his advisers claim to have used Romneycare in Massachusetts as a blueprint for Obamacare, and b) his record as president on unemployment and economic growth makes for a poor comparison to Romney’s record on those issues as governor?

I have no doubt that fear will the watchword for the Obama 2012 campaign — and, to be fair, that Romney will engage in much the same kind of discussion about what a second-term Obama, facing no more need to win over voters, might do as president. But Obama’s supporters better hope this isn’t the best the campaign has to offer.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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220 comments Add your comment

saywhat?

May 29th, 2012
12:41 pm

Republicans have been the fear monger masters for decades, much as they were once the campaign fund raising champs. Once they are overtaken by the Democrats, all of a sudden the Republicans cast it as an “issue” while denying that it was ever their own modus operandi.

Just try and deny that the Republicans have been telling Americans for years too fear blacks, “illegals’, the poor, unions, “socialism”, moslems, etc . Hell, for the last 3 years the right wingers have been frantically warning us about the COMPLETE COLLAPSE OF AMERICA AS WE KNOW IT if Obama wins re-election.

Obama has a good record to run on (saving the economy, killing bin Laden, withdrawing from Iraq, and soon Afghanistan, etc). Romney has ONLY fear to run on, because he ISN”T likeable under even the best conditions, and because he is trying to sell the notion that doing the same things that contributed to the economic melt down will also repair it. Good luck with that.

Jon

May 29th, 2012
12:41 pm

No Kyle, you’re totally right. Fear of the far right wing is a real thing, and it should be feared.

However, I’d take this fear campaigning over the fear of continued terrorism GWB continually pushed to ensure a second term for himself.

Don't Tread

May 29th, 2012
12:42 pm

“But Obama’s supporters better hope this isn’t the best the campaign has to offer”

Well, you only have to be 2% smarter than the welfare recipients that make up a large part of their voting base. That’s a really high jump there. Why bother with the extra effort?

saywhat?

May 29th, 2012
12:44 pm

When will Obama come for my guns, start building those concentration camps for conservatives, put in place Sharia law etc?

Jeff

May 29th, 2012
12:44 pm

Both pale in comparison on all issues noted to their only official competitor – indeed, the only official Nominee of his Party so far: former NEW MEXICO Governor GARY JOHNSON.

But equally important: How in the Sam HADES can you POSSIBLY be a combination of “Jerry Falwell, joe Arpaio, and John Galt”? The first two combine easily- both facist thugs. The last? He is as opposite the first two as Christ is from Satan.

jm

May 29th, 2012
12:44 pm

Obama is a fraud and a man without principles or direction.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

May 29th, 2012
12:46 pm

the fear of continued terrorism GWB continually pushed to ensure a second term
———–

You have a vivid imagination.

Old Goober

May 29th, 2012
12:49 pm

They will pummel him for being a vulture-vampire capitalist at Bain Capital. They will pound him for being a miserable failure as the governor of Massachusetts. They will mash him for being a water-carrier for Paul Ryan’s Social Darwinist fiscal program. They will maul him for being a combination of Jerry Falwell, Joe Arpaio, and John Galt on a range of issues that strike deep chords with the Obama coalition. “We’re gonna say, ‘Let’s be clear what he would do as president,’ ” [senior White House adviser David] Plouffe explains. “Potentially abortion will be criminalized. Women will be denied contraceptive services. He’s far right on immigration. He supports efforts to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage. …

Oh, yeah? Well, sticks and stones can break my bones, but facts libruls will never hurt me.

Joe the Prophet

May 29th, 2012
12:49 pm

Romney and his “corporate socialism” ilk should “self-deport” back to Salt Lake City….

Where I went to high school in Douglasville, GA, if we met some Yankee cultist talking about “plural celestial unions, God(s), and the Planet Kolob”….he would have a VERY bad afternoon..I don’t care HOW RICH he was…!!! I’m sure Earl Lee would have found him a safe place in another county…..

America will never be “EXCEPTIONAL” with a cultist as President..!!!

southpaw

May 29th, 2012
12:56 pm

I won’t try to speak for Republicans, since I’m an independent voter, but I can speak for a lot of conservatives. We’re not afraid of blacks, illegals, the poor, and unions, but we are afraid of a mentality of entitlement that the country can’t afford any longer. Don’t even start trying to assign blame for why the country’s out of money; there’s plenty to go around on all sides. We’re not afraid of moslems, we’re afraid of the radical jihadist fringe of Islam. Even Obama’s re-election won’t cause the collapse of America–IF we quit borrowing money and start paying down our debt. Not in 30 years. Now.
Kudos to the President for sending the SEALs to take out bin Laden. But did he do it because it was the right thing to do, or to try to gain political capital? (Hint: What did he do exactly a year later? Did he talk up his courageous decision, or did he leave bin Laden on the trash heap of history?)
I have my own concerns about Romney, but on balance, I like the country’s chances better under his leadership than under Obama’s.

tiredofIT

May 29th, 2012
12:58 pm

And correctly so, many of us fear what Romney would do to our country.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

May 29th, 2012
1:00 pm

I think the Obama campaign’s fear message would work so much better if they actually told the truth, Kyle.

Both the GST and Ampad bankruptcies occurred years after Romney left Bain Capital, yet they are the only two companies highlighted by Obama campaign videos.

At GST, their then Vice President admits that Bain infusion of capital allowed them to operate 8 years longer than they would have without the intervention, and at Ampad it could be argued that the employees’ own strike resulted in their losing so much market share that they could never recover.

Obama loves to talk about Mass. employment growth being 47th in the nation during Romney’s term as Governor, but fail to mention it was at about 4.5% when he left office. Just how much can you improve upon a number that almost everyone considers as full employment, anyway?

It’s a non-stop, 24/7 stream of lies being foisted on the American public from the Obama campaign in 2012. The only thing they have to fear, is being thrown out of office. The only thing we have to fear is that event not happening in 2012.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

May 29th, 2012
1:01 pm

Wouldn’t it be cool if Romney actually took up some of the positions that obozo accuses him of?

Rafe Hollister- trying to save the Choom Gang

May 29th, 2012
1:03 pm

Kyle, after all these fears are explained away by Romney, which hopefully he will do in a 30 second ad. They will revert back to the one they have used for ages, you know, more black churches will burn, he wants to poison the air and water, he wants to privatize social security, he wants to privatize medicare, he wants to keep women in the kitchen, and in the final days before the vote, he is a racist.

They have nothing to run on other than the Seals killed Osama, while Obama held a Hollywood gathering. He wants to do anything to keep Romney occupied with something other than the Oblamer record.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

May 29th, 2012
1:05 pm

“Obama has a good record to run on”

If that is the case, saywhat, why isn’t he doing so? One article written this weekend says that Obama has made a $25 million ad buy for a message about his own record, but the REST of his advertising dollars are going to be negative ads against Romney. $25 million out of $750 million to $1 billion in campaign cash?

If his record was so damned good, saywhat, he’d be running on it.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

May 29th, 2012
1:05 pm

Only a liberal would clutch their pillow over contraception, so I guess obozo knows his silly little base.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

May 29th, 2012
1:17 pm

Has anyone else noticed now that Hairy Reed as been outed as a Mormon, he’s dropped off the map?

Him and Biden must be stuffed into the same closet.

Kyle Wingfield

May 29th, 2012
1:18 pm

saywhat: Fear is an element in every political campaign. The point is that this is the guy who ran on pure “Hope” last time. He hasn’t turned out to be post-partisan, post-racial, or post-anything else he proclaimed to be. Now he’s not even sticking with Hope. At some point, becoming the very kind of politician he claimed in 2008 to be better than is going to catch up to him, including in the likability ratings. Why would people continue to say they like someone who does all the very things he criticizes everyone else for doing?

Jefferson

May 29th, 2012
1:19 pm

Homophobes at war with women…the GOP as uniters.

Joe the Prophet

May 29th, 2012
1:33 pm

Yep…It’s about politics……But really…

The best Romney said he can do is 6% unemployment….THAT’S NOT EXCEPTIONAL….

He wants to be Reagan….BUT REAGAN WAS A CHRISTIAN…!!!!

I have no problem with the guy outside of that….except the he doesn’t seem to have a backbone….and I don’t think he can turn the economy around without a backbone….

and we already have a Mormon as US Senate leader….I don’t think we need two that high up in government….

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

May 29th, 2012
1:34 pm

Obozo has a new campaign organization to go along with “Hispanics for Obozo”, “LGBT for Obozo” et al….for those who buy the “War on Women” meme, there’s now “Easily Led Chumps for Obozo”.

Joe the Prophet

May 29th, 2012
1:35 pm

You have to look at the landscape if Romney were elected…..Conservative House….Democratic Senate…..Mish-Mosh as President…..

It’ll be Massachussets all over again…..

iggy

May 29th, 2012
1:36 pm

We already know Obama will never get unemployment below 8%…Obama CANT do it. And personally I dont think he wants to as he is eyeing his next prize as UN secretary general then onto Grand Poobah of planet Earth.

Those who have saved their money, made the responsible decisions and need not much of a hand from govt are the very ones Obama wants to reign in/destroy.

Joe the Prophet

May 29th, 2012
1:37 pm

Lil’ Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)
May 29th, 2012
1:34 pm
Obozo has a new campaign organization to go along with “Hispanics for Obozo”, “LGBT for Obozo” et al….for those who buy the “War on Women” meme, there’s now “Easily Led Chumps for Obozo”.
—————————————–
As opposed to the Conservative array of cults……the NRA gun-nut cult….the Scott Walker anti-union cult…..the TBAG spending-cut cult…..the Grover Norquist tax cut cult…..the Ron Paul free-market capitalism cult…..the pro-life cult/terrorist group……

Mitt Romney supports FREE MARKET CULTISM…..!!!!!!

iggy

May 29th, 2012
1:38 pm

One of Obamas shining moments, which speaks for itself, was the appointment of “hoof in mouth disease” Biden.

Rafe Hollister- trying to save the Choom Gang

May 29th, 2012
1:40 pm

He hasn’t turned out to be post-partisan, post-racial, or post-anything else he proclaimed to be.

Yep, now he is just post-hope and post-effective.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

May 29th, 2012
1:41 pm

Joe The Poofter….I hit a nerve, eh?

iggy

May 29th, 2012
1:41 pm

Its about time for Obama to get another hair-dye job as he starting to lose his pseudo Gray hair mature statesmanlike persona. In other words the gray hair DyeJob is fading.

PS…Did Obi ever release his academic records or are those still sealed/MIA?

saywhat?

May 29th, 2012
1:42 pm

Kyle- its hard to be post-partisan and post-racial when so many of one’s supposedly loyal opposition are a bunch of partisan racists. Apparently THEY never got the message.

Finn McCool

May 29th, 2012
1:43 pm

A cult follower as the head of the free world? Huh?

mwuahahahahahaha. Conservatives are really grasping at straws.

Rafe Hollister- trying to save the Choom Gang

May 29th, 2012
1:46 pm

And correctly so, many of the blame America first crowd fear what Romney would do to our country.

Tiredofit

You were specific enough, so I revised your statement.

Finn McCool

May 29th, 2012
1:46 pm

iggy, perhaps you can use your hairstylist skillz and do a post that compares/contrasts the hair styles of the candidates? Maybe use the Donald as third-party comparison?

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

May 29th, 2012
1:46 pm

Sorry, saywhat, but your guy got everything he wanted for two years–he failed all on his own.

Kyle Wingfield

May 29th, 2012
1:49 pm

This is the part where I remind saywhat of things like “I won” and the “teachable moment,” and where saywhat says, “No, because … TEA PARTY TERRORISTS!”

jefflz

May 29th, 2012
1:49 pm

If your point is that the Obama campaign should turn the other cheek while being Swift Boated by the GOP hate machine, then we must question you judgement about how the political game is being played.

iggy

May 29th, 2012
1:52 pm

“Swift Boated by the GOP hate machine”

The lib-DUHL paranoia is hilarious. Keep em coming!!

Joe The Plumber Too

May 29th, 2012
1:52 pm

saywhat, grow up little fellow. open your eyes and turn off the louie ferry-khan speeches.All republicans are NOT racists and all racists are not white……This isn’t about the color black, it’s about the colors red, white & blue and the fact that the pretender in chief has no clue how to get this country back on track.

PSS

May 29th, 2012
1:53 pm

Kyle – you are a candyass through and through. What do you think Romney did to his primary competitors? He virtually slandered them to death? How about another nugget from Romney – “If Obama is re-elected, Iran will have Nuclear weapons.” A little fear mongering there don’t you think?

iggy

May 29th, 2012
1:56 pm

No doubt Carlos Santana will attempt to rev up the “Latino, Anti-Republican, Hate Machine”.

Kyle Wingfield

May 29th, 2012
1:56 pm

PSS: Did you even read the piece?

jefflz

May 29th, 2012
1:57 pm

Obama has been facing a continuous torrent of lying propaganda from the Republicans: He is a socialist , a communist, he sunk th economy, the economy is worse than ever….he is not an American, he is Muslim terrrorist sympathizer, …it goes on and on and has done so since he was elected… why should the Democrats play softball with a Limbaugh/Beck/Hannity and now Romney campaign of lies and distortion?

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

May 29th, 2012
1:59 pm

“The best Romney said he can do is 6% unemployment”

Joe the Prophet, why do you need to lie about what Romney says to make your religiously-bigoted points?

You forgot the last 7 words Romney said – “by the end of my first term.”.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

May 29th, 2012
2:00 pm

Kyle, do you even need to ask PSS that question?

Of course he didn’t read the piece.

@@

May 29th, 2012
2:01 pm

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

May 29th, 2012
2:02 pm

“Obama has been facing a continuous torrent of lying propaganda from the Republicans:”

So, jefflz? The point of the article is that OBAMA ran on Hope & Change – NOT the Republicans.

Your deflection merely shows you have no argument against the substance of the article.

jefflz

May 29th, 2012
2:04 pm

Just remember that Kerry stood there like a deer in the headlights while the GOP slammed over him with the Swift Boat attack and he officially lost the election. (actually probably not since Ohio was stolen).

Jefferson

May 29th, 2012
2:04 pm

You can fear the next coming of President Bush in a Romney outfit…they are 1 in the same, except President Bush is much wiser.

jefflz

May 29th, 2012
2:06 pm

I m saying that yu can campaign on Hope and good will until the opposition spits in your face at every opportunity. Then you have to stand up and fight back.

iggy

May 29th, 2012
2:11 pm

Camp Obama is attempting to shore up its base by trotting out poor Michelle to appear on GMA and that Loon-Fest “The View.”

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

May 29th, 2012
2:11 pm

“(actually probably not since Ohio was stolen).”

Oy . . . . :roll:

jefflz, you just eliminated any valid reason to read your posts.