Monday, October 29, 2012

Not the campaign of a winner

Rick Wilson says that the election comes down to the candidate who is closing big rather than the one who is closing ugly.
His campaign grows more shambolic, vicious and noisy by the day. And you might say I’m characterizing the President’s homestretch message this way just because I’m a Republican and strong Romney backer; that’s your right.
But the evidence is clear. More than any policy or issue, the closing month of Obama’s campaign death spasm will be remembered for Big Bird, binders, bayonets and the word “bullsh--ter” (that’s what Obama called Romney in a Rolling Stone interview) — a succession of absurd attempts to mock Romney on the smallest terms, at a time when the stakes couldn’t be larger.
His attempt to get the term “Romnesia” to catch on — the President pushing a too-clever-by-half meme about his opponent supposedly forgetting his own stances — was especially pitiful.
If you really want to know what a campaign cares about, you look at what it’s spending money on. And ad after ad from his campaign seems to address smaller and smaller issues. Obama’s campaign spots of the last month are unintentionally hilarious, and almost entirely tone-deaf. I’ll leave the Lena Dunham ad, which compares voting for the President to having sex, to history, but if Obama doesn’t have the waifish Brooklyn female TV hipster vote locked down, he’s got larger problems than even I suspected.
This isn't the Obama who sent thrills up the legs of the electorate four years ago. This is not the guy who was touted as "the adult in the room" when we were staring into the abyss of economic collapse four years ago.

As Victor Davis Hanson writes, Obama's "appeal to Cool, Inc." may do more to turnoff middle-of-the-road voters than it does to whip up enthusiasm with his young base.
The uncertainty with all this, however, is whether the appeal to Cool, Inc., will really energize the base more than it turns off the undecided middle-of-the-road voter who gets wind of all this pizzazz and thus wonders why Obama jets to Vegas (once an Obama no-no) after the Libyan attack, or why he talks to disc jockeys and not the prime minister of Israel, or why he goes on chat talk shows but does not hold press conferences — and, of course, identifies more with a Lena Dunham’s psychotherapeutic inner voice and angst than with a woman in Ohio or Michigan who may have lost her job or is married to someone who is unemployed, or can’t afford filling her car up at the pump or has no equity in her home or lacks the ability to help her jobless kids pay down their growing student loans. There is a reason, after all, why Sandra Fluke draws ten people to a Vegas shopping center, and why to millions Lena Dunham will sound more self-obsessed than empathetic.
Now all Obama has left is to demonize and ridicule his opponents. He rushed out a glossy pamphlet when even the media started to notice that he didn't have any real proposals for a second term. He is not running as if he's ahead and has a vision of where to take the country. He's trying to energize an enervated and disenchanted base by being the cool guy on Jon Stewart, David Letterman, or in Rolling Stone. But all he has to promise those young people is more free stuff to paid for by themselves if they ever do get a job.