Don Roach: Obama Campaign Takes Cue from Karl Rove
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Obama may have morphed into your typical Democratic decrying the ‘ebil Republicans’ over the last several years but one thing is for sure, his campaign definitely has the smell of a Karl Rove. Rove, you’ll remember, is the mastermind behind the Bush electoral victories in 2000 and 2004. In those campaigns, especially Bush’s battle against John Kerry in 2004, one of Rove’s key strategic points was to take Kerry’s strengths and turn them into weaknesses. Kerry was lauded for his efforts in the Vietnam war as a Swift Boat commander. However, during the 2004 campaign he came under fire for his military record and subsequent anti-war leanings. Thus, one of Kerry’s critical strengths, his military exploits, was turned on its head.
What’s disconcerting about this is that in 2008 Obama ran on a platform of shared pragmatism. Consider this quote from 2008, “I believed that Democrats and Republicans and Americans of every political stripe were hungry for new ideas, new leadership, and a new kind of politics - one that favors common sense over ideology; one that focuses on those values and ideals we hold in common as Americans.”
Fast forward to 2012 and the concept of new ideas/leadership has gone the way of the dodo as the Obama team channels their inner Rove. Not that it isn’t a winning strategy, it’s just that when you see what Obama says and does today and compare it to what he said and did in 2008, it makes you feel like an idiot, for lack of a better word, for trusting in his “hope and change” charade. And that’s exactly what it was, a charade and a sham.
Nonetheless, Romney finds himself in a similar predicament as Kerry did in 2004. He’s facing a President who’s popularity has waned. Yet, like Kerry, Romney doesn’t stir the heartstrings in terms of charisma or inspire the feeling of “we gotta follow this guy.” Kerry did a poor poor job of deflecting the Swift boat attacks and thus far, I have to admit that Romney isn’t faring so hot against these new Bain criticisms.
The Romney team should pick up the phone and take 30 minutes to talk to Rove about Obama’s strategy and how to counteract it. If they don’t, then the Bain attacks will just be the tip of the iceberg of attacks on Romney’s perceived strengths to slowly cut down his credibility.
By the end of the 2004 campaign, I thought John Kerry was a buffoon. Obviously 57 million people thought he was worthy of becoming our next president, but in that swing voter demographic, the key demographic in just about any presidential race, the Bush campaign marginalized Kerry with devastating effect. It appears the Obama campaign is trying to do the same.
The question is, will Romney answer the call or will his campaign be Swift boated like Kerry’s eight years earlier?
Don Roach is a member of the RI Young Republicans. Don can be reached at email@example.com.
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