Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What Obama Must Do to Win

Let’s step back from depressing daily political news for a longer look at the 2012 narrative.

At the end of summer, Democrats will have a home-field advantage with a convention in early September after Republicans go to bat in the last week of August. A let’s-try-to-love-Romney fest will be followed by a wall-to-wall TV week of making the case for Obama’s first term after umpteen prime-time GOP primary debates bashing it.

If down-in-the-mouth Democrats and open-minded independents are to be energized, that convention and the Obama-Romney debates to follow will be crucial for November.

For a year now, the media have been held captive by a one-sided story line about Obama’s “failures” in hard economic times, countered only by the weak defense that the Administration staved off even worse.

That better-than-terrible narrative, coupled with attacks on Romney’s Bain record, won’t do it in the fall.

If Barack Obama is to be reelected, a truer 2012 story line has to be brought into focus: the near-treasonous four years of subversion of every effort toward recovery on the part of a Republican Congress held captive by Tea Party extremists.

While David Axelrod et al hammer away at Romney in logistical skirmishes, the overarching message has to be retaking America from zealots who have been kept from driving the country off an economic cliff only by the President’s resistance in manufactured debt-ceiling crises and mindless attempts to destroy a social safety net for the poor to preserve and expand tax cuts for the superrich.

Ironically, articulation of that story line comes first from a representative of quietly alarmed traditional Republicans such as Jeb Bush, pointing out how Reagan and his father would have “a hard time” fitting in with today’s ideologues.

On this bleak landscape, tonight will bring heartening news that Democrats have held on to Gabrielle Giffords’ seat in Arizona, but it will take much more than that to get the country moving toward a recovery from Tea Party treachery.

Update: Alarmed Democrats go public with Obama’s need for “a new narrative” this fall:

“It is elites who are creating a conventional wisdom that an incumbent president must run on his economic performance--and therefore must convince voters that things are moving in the right direction. They are wrong, and that will fail. The voters are very sophisticated about the character of the economy; they know who is mainly responsible for what went wrong and they are hungry to hear the President talk about the future. 

“They know we are in a new normal where life is a struggle--and convincing them that things are good enough for those who have found jobs is a fool’s errand. They want to know the plans for making things better in a serious way--not just focused on finishing up the work of the recovery.”

This is James Carville, among others, urging Obama to update Clinton’s 1992 “It’s the economy, stupid” into the future tense.

Whatever. Time to get all hands on deck in full battle dress.


John said...

Team Obama is playing defense. At some point the nation needs to ask Romney what the hell he'd do differently. So far, he's gotten a pass.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Hi Mr. Stein, I hope you are well. Miss your wonderful posts.