...Romney's failure to engage on real issues is the result of misplaced campaign strategy. Like Admiral Titanic and Colonel Blimp his handlers are busily preparing to fight the last war. They think that there is a spectrum of voters ranging across a spectrum from left to right. Now that the right wing voters have been disenfranchised or neutralized by the campaign to date, the Republican strategists feel that they must now make an appeal to the mythical middle. They hope to peel off enough of these middle voters, many of whom voted for Obama in 2008, to give them a narrow margin of victory, particularly in a dozen battleground states with the most electoral votes.
In order for this strategy to succeed, they believe that the candidate must switch to a strategy of sweet reasonableness, a campaign that avoids sharp elbows and seeks an overriding consensus attracting a 52 or 53 percent majority. The meme is Massachusetts moderation. According to reports, they plan to spend millions on a massive TV barrage on the theme that Obama has not lived up to his promises, that his administration is a failure. The basic assumption to be presented to the voters is that Obama meant well, but was just not up to the job. They hope that a reasoned debate will win the undecided over, vote by vote.
But the Obama crowd has an entirely different kind of campaign in mind. While the Republicans have been nattering among themselves, the Obama for America campaign has been burning through tens of millions of dollars organizing shock troops state by state. TV is strictly secondary in getting the message across. The official Obama website announced on April 25 that "the President will take to the campaign trail in ten days," although in point of fact the President has been on the campaign trail for months, usually on the taxpayer's tab. This week, the President has visited three universities to publicize his proposal to renew the temporary cut-rate interest on student loans before the law expires in July.
The real purpose of this proposal is to energize youth cadres by website, twitter, Facebook and other social media. The Community-Organizer-in-Chief is going to install a new model of community organizing nationwide. The campaign has set up twelve-week Obama Fellowships to be deployed to each state in spring, summer and fall. Applicants have to answer detailed questionnaires about their organizing background, their willingness to travel to other states and to work long hours. The Obama fellows are expected to go door-to-door spreading the Obama message, and training local community organizers. They are asked whether they can work with diverse communities.
The Obama campaign will be about turnout, not truth. The organizing effort will coordinate with teachers unions, auto unions, government unions, racial and Hispanic pressure groups and other special interest organizations. Group identity and race will be the prevailing electoral argument, not ideas or failed promises. Obama stands for the politics of division. His informal slogan will no longer be hope and change, but hate and envy.