Monday :: Sep 3, 2012

Selling It Differently

by Steve

As the Democrats begin their convention this week, they should be glad that in the midst of this economy Obama is tied with Romney. Yes, Mitt got a slight bounce from the GOP convention, to the point that several major polls show he has pulled even amongst likely voters, but this is far less of a bounce than what John McCain got with Sarah Palin around his neck four years ago. So for Barack Obama and Joe Biden to be essentially even before they get a chance to recast the narrative this week is a good sign.

Having said that, Obama needs to have a good convention this week in order to win this race. Yes, the electoral college numbers this late in the race look good, but the GOP will outspend the Democrats two or 3:1 the rest of the way, with their secretive individual donors doing everything possible to buy the government they want at any expense without fear of being found out anytime soon.

Also, as James Fallows notes in an excellent piece in this month's Atlantic Magazine, no one should assume that Mitt Romney will fall flat on his face in the three debates. Fallows points out that Romney will benefit from just being on the same stage as Obama in the first debate, and can be counted on to be well-prepared with rehearsed lines and zingers, even if he is bereft of any real knowledge of policies or facts underlining them. Fallows notes that for his part, Obama is slightly overrated himself in not being crisp enough in his messaging and ability to cut against an opponent, and for talking at times too haltingly. But Fallows notes the one thing that has upended Romney at times: an opponent who focuses on facts who directly challenges Romney's truthfulness. Based on the record so far in this election cycle, Obama will have numerous chances to nail Romney for outright lying, and for being unwilling to level with the American people about things both personal and policy-based.

Hopefully, the campaign leaves the dirty work to Joe Biden this week. Biden's job in his speech should be to call into question the integrity and truthfulness of both Romney and Paul Ryan. Biden should be the one making the case that America cannot afford to take a leap backwards into the same policies pushed by the same people who got us into the mess we face now. It should be left to Biden to point out that Ryan of all people cannot be trusted given his propensity to lie about everything from his policies to his marathon running times. Biden should pointedly ask America what does it say about a man who would so willingly lie to the country about personal matters and his conspiring against Obama from even before Obama's inauguration. Biden should then move on to Romney, and ask America if, despite their legitimate unhappiness about the pace of economic recovery, it was worth stepping into the unknown with a man who appears to feel that the rules don't apply to him.

This all tees it up for Obama himself to make the case for his reelection. It would help if he showed some humility and acceptance that his own willingness to trust his political opponents hurt him and the country. It would be perfectly legitimate for him to point out that he was hindered by a do-nothing obstructionist GOP congress bent on his defeat from before his ascension to office. But Obama will need to show voters not just an accountability, but also why the next four years with him would be better than four years of risk with Romney/Ryan. He needs to bring up the Supreme Court, and needs to remind voters that they deserve a White House and Congress that focuses on Main Street and not Wall Street or the One-Percenters. In the end, Obama must sell himself to the country once again.

The question is: can he do it?

Steve :: 1:34 PM :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!