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Photo of giant fork in the road
This is one of those fork in the road moments for the Obama campaign. The campaign is facing the prospect of watching the president's economic approval numbers dip, dragging down his overall job approval and with it our electoral prospects.

There are several schools of thought circulating about what to do, assuming nothing is actually going to happen on the lawmaking side:

1. Run on his record. Accept the "referendum" argument.

This seems to be the choice of the president's most ardent supporters. Go out and throw the laundry list of bills at folks and convince them that things are getting better and we are on the right track (despite the glaringly lopsided right track/wrong track numbers). Seems to me Mitt Romney would love to just have the election be about the presidents record, especially on unemployment and housing.

This option basically assumes that most if not all of the folks who voted for Obama last time will show up and vote for him again. If only they are informed about just how much good he's done. This strategy assumes that the economy will continue to improve. Think Reagan '84.

2. The choice/vision debate.

This seems to be the choice of the president himself. Basically, the president wishes to have a public debate with Mitt Romney over policy. Mitt wants to do this, I want to do that. Basically running as if he were not the incumbent. Thus we get the "forward" slogan and a rehash of the "dont give them back the keys" message we heard from him in 2010.

This option basically assumes that the electorate will be the same size as it was last time, with swing voters being the key to a close victory. He wont get as many swing voters as last time, but they will show up. A key component of this involves running against "obstructionism" in Congress. Basically a rehash of the 2010 message writ large. Bill Clinton likes this strategy. This strategy assumes that the economy will continue to improve. It's a policy/wonky message. Think Clinton '96.

3. Demonize Romney.

This basically involves making Mitt Romney unacceptable for the oval office. It is a deeply negative message that seeks to gin up the base Democratic voters by making them afraid of Mitt Romney and scaring the bejesus out of swing voters. It also involves identifying the Republican Party as a crazy hate group. (This is the strategy I prefer, of course.)

This assumes that electorate is essentially turned off this year and will be smaller than the 2008 electorate. It assumes a much more traditional partisan election, won with heavy turnout of base voters and leaners over swing voters. This strategy basically assumes the economy will not improve, and may in fact decline. Think Bush '04.

I don't know where we are going to be just five months from now. I do know that there is a significant number of people who will be for and against Obama no matter what happens. I have no idea if those folks are going to show up in big numbers or not, but the Wisconsin recall election should tell us something.

I do know this though: this election isn't going to be fun, it isn't going to be enjoyable, and there's gonna be plenty of blood on the floor no matter who wins in November. I think we can beat Mitt Romney no matter how bad the economic picture is, IF we are willing to do some rather ruthless things. Which I doubt we will do. Democrats would generally rather lose with dignity while Republicans have no problem winning dirty.

The way I see it, there will be corporate spending unchecked, ballot box shenanigans galore, dirty tricks out the yin-yang, and probably some good old fashioned ballot stuffing to boot in places like Ohio, Virginia, and Florida where the GOP runs everything. I suspect a lot of people in this country have simply thrown up their hands. There will be even more of them after the GOP Super PAC's get done.

The Obama campaign has thought through these things and they'll do what they think is best for President Obama. I hope. But I do know for sure that unless we get a bit of extraordinary luck, we may be in for something that looks a lot more like 2000 than 2008. A nailbiter right down to a couple of votes in one state.

Originally posted to Triple-B in the Building on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 07:02 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sounds to me like they're going for (0+ / 0-)

    an all-of-the-above type strategy.  You have people going after him on Bain and his bullying and heartless nature.  You have the President running against Congress and the SCOTUS and talking about not only what he's done, but what he wants to do.

    And you have others pointing out the contrasts in vision.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 07:05:25 AM PDT

    •  Well, if you accept bbb strategies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon

      You figure where the economy's going and you only do one.  If it doesn't improve 1 and 2 are a waste of time and might hurt you.

    •  That sounds like a mess. (5+ / 0-)

      I don't how you beat Romney like that. Methinks Bush 04 is the right model: swift boat your opponent, go to your base.

      •  Fear, fear, fear. Mitt with scissors will cut, (5+ / 0-)

        cut, cut so much you won't have a dime left your own haircut.  This nation is said to operate on optimism, but since there is little stimulating that from either side, let's just go with what we know works:  Be afraid; be very afraid.  Romney is being wound up and run by the dark forces of backroom lobbyists, foreign governments, and religious cults who've sanctioned multiple wives, just like the Sharia Law guys.  Ask him why he has a year's supply of food in his cellar.  Who will he bomb first?  Why does he refuse to release tax returns from earlier in this century?  How does a guy who's been unemployed for ten years know anything about the world of work?  War on women?  Why'd Romney depart from his own mother's pro-choice views?  We need the Romney weekly tabloid with its searing headlines.  

        Romney went to France instead of serving in our military, got rich chop-shopping US businesses and eliminating US jobs, off-shored his money in the Cayman Islands, and now tells us to "Believe in America."

        by judyms9 on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 07:47:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The big problem with fear is voters like me -- (8+ / 0-)

          people who don't belong to anybody's base, don't belong to a party, and have been hurt badly over the last few years.

          Problem 1 is that we're cynical.  We expect politicians to say that the other guy is some extremist wingnut who is doing to destroy the country on his/her second day in office.  It's not that the message has no effect, but you run into

          Problem2 is that things really aren't all that good for many of us.  We've lost jobs, homes, most trappings of our former lives.  It's just a whole lot harder to be really scared by the other guy when the guy who's in there now doesn't seem to be doing anything to help.  You start to wonder how much worse can it be?, especially in light of

          Problem 3 is that this administration has not gone out of its way to seem like it gives a damn about the things that are ruining so many lives.  The President did a nice job of channeling Ronald Reagan in the last campaign.  Wouldn't have hurt to channel FDR after getting elected.  From fireside chats to bill after bill to threats against the Supreme Court, it was hard to believe that FDR wasn't in there fighting for you.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 07:47:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  dino - I understand your concerns (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            deepeco, mightymouse

            but Rmoney/Republican proposals would be devastating for the working poor
            and middle class - and quite an upgrade for the already wealthy.
            I'm sticking with the Forward guy.

            "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

            by MartyM on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 02:50:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It will be interesting to see how many votes (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MartyM

              got to the Greens and other third parties this year.  Romney verges on being a complete betrayal of the electorate.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 03:26:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  sure - but Obama and the Dems don't make it easy (0+ / 0-)

              They could have made it a lot easier for the average cynical voter - better narrative, more obvious commitment to regular people.

              It wasn't there. Now they have to fake it a bit.

              This is not saying Romney would not be a disaster. My point is Dems need to communicate in broad, unmissable strokes if they are to get the votes dinotrac is speaking of.

              An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

              by mightymouse on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 08:28:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  But... (0+ / 0-)

            Obama has done all of the things you mentioned. He has had weekly video addresses (the modern equivalent of the fireside chats), he has taken very public shots at the SCOTUS (press conferences, State of the Union Address), and he has passed or promoted bill after bill after bill. How many elements of his jobs bill have been passed? The tax cuts...that's right, the part that was intended to be an olive branch for bipartisanship. Not the additional spending to raise demand enough to fill in for the lagging economy...the tax cuts.

            He took up health reform and started with a conservative and liberal idea, the conservative idea passed, and now it's a socialist government take-over of health care that is killing jobs. And passing THAT bill took a year of rancorous debate and exhausting effort.

            Meanwhile, on the economy, when we should passing more stimulus, the Republicans in congress use the debt ceiling, and risk the full faith and credit of the United States, to force massive CUTS to spending. Since the vast majority of government spending is on labor, those cuts mean more jobs taken out of the economy. It means more consumers not able to consumer products from businesses, who in turn must lay off now unneeded staff. So the Republicans, after all of this obstruction of bills like additional stimulus and the Jobs Act, tell the president, "Cut spending more, which we know will hurt the economy, or we'll blow the economy up with a default and you'll be blamed because voters will forget who was responsible by the time 2012 rolls around."

            Tell me, with that, what more can the president do? Fireside chats? Done, but did anyone watch them? Attack SCOTUS? Done, but does anyone remember or back him up on it? Fight to pass mounds of targeted relief legislation? Done, but does anyone back him up on it? Does the media cover his efforts? Rarely. For the next week, watch the news casts and see how often they mention the president positively or give air time to his message. For all the claims of the media loving him, he gets little airtime except in moments of controversy within his administration.

            Anyway, personally, I think if you really don't think he's been fighting, you haven't been paying attention. No politician can do these things alone.

            •  When FDR did his fireside chats, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mightymouse

              radio was the major communication medium.

              It ain't now.

              As to bills -- bills don't matter unless they are bills that are clear in their benefit to the people casting votes.  Thrilling the policy wonks is cool, but policy wonks don't make for a very big chunk of the public.

              The administration has done some good things, but it's very hard to look at the last few years and see clearly what the administration has done for me, and "for me" is the perspective voters tend to take.

              Let's see the big hitters so far:

              The "stimulus" -- very early, and plenty porky.  Biggest problem? Over and done with (at least from a news perspective) BEFORE unemployment reached its peak.  When unemployment was skyrocketing, Democrats were pre-occupied with ACA -- another incomprehensible monster.

              Obama's "friends" didn't help with promises to focus on jobs one of these days when it becomes important, maybe.

              And that was all before the 2010 debacle -- some of which can fairly be laid at the feet of the administration and its friends in Congress.

              And --- sheesh! Do you remember the half-hearted talk before the 2010 elections about preserving middle class tax cuts, but letting cuts for high-earners expire?

              Nothing got done prior to the election, and the administration found its back against the wall in the lame duck session.

              Clever and trust-inspiring.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 06:54:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Fair enough... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mightymouse

                Your criticisms in the response are definitely fair criticisms that I share. I will be the first to acknowledge that Obama has made mistakes. I mean, his administration is loaded with people in high ranking positions that were disappointing choices out of the gate, and have been largely responsible for self-inflicted wounds and tepid responses to urgent situations. I mean, I think two or three of the most damning mistakes right out of the gate was keeping Geithner, losing Goolsbee, and putting Arne Duncan in Ed....huge disappointments.

                The stimulus had it's issues, not the least of which was including nearly half of the total cost as tax breaks in a naive attempt at bipartisanship, but there just is not a large enough administrative structure in place to effectively manage that much money being dispersed in the short term in a far-flung nation like ours. And the timing is easy to deride in retrospect, but at the time, there was no clear indication of when we'd hit the bottom, nor was there a desire to allow the bottom to be reached. Honestly, structural unemployment and underemployment hidden by a growth in credit debt and two-income households was the foundation of the house of cards the pre-recession economy was built upon; the recession triggered a comeuppance for decades of poor macro-economic policies adopted by largely conservative lawmakers (bipartisan conservatives, but conservatives none the less). All of that to say, there were many issues that the stimulus, as small as it was in the face of our $16 trillion annual economy, was not going to fix. Stimulus measures are inherently short term, and there needed to be a bigger, more sustained stimulus for it to truly be effective. Obama

                And 2010 was certainly full of frustration with Obama, not the least of which his being unwilling to fight hard enough on taxes and seeming afraid or ashamed of progressive values. The messaging has been wandering and the party completely not unified in any particular direction on any particular issue. I will give you all of that.

                As infuriating as it is, that is the history of the Democratic party. The party has a much wider tent and much more ideological diversity than the Republican. They can message easier and move with more unity because they have so few wonks, so few experts, and so few people concerned with "problem-solving." There's an easy, natural narrative: lower-taxes, pro-business, smaller government. Painting with broad strokes, in simple terms, with no need to provide evidence for your claims, appealing to those predisposed to "faith-based reasoning" to place "faith" in the "free market," makes it very easy to unify and move lock-step. The Democratic party, by the nature of its own disposition towards tolerance, diversity and respect for others, contains a diverse caucus that has difficulty taking unnuanced stances. Most in the party prefer evidence and problem-solving, making it much harder to drive a simple narrative given the complexity of social and national problems. Slowly but surely that is beginning to change. You are starting to see Dems awaken to the fact that unity and better, more focused messaging will be necessary in the face of Republican poisoning of the well of public discourse, but it's clearly at odds and in tension with the history and ideological disposition of the party.

                I think some of the problem has been Obama's background as a Senator. He knew a lot of congressional Republicans personally, and I don't think he anticipated the kind of bitter, unified defiance he has seen. Much less public demonization of himself by people he used to work closely with. I think he came to office ready for governing and legislating, but completely unprepared for the POLITICAL aspect of the WH. It's a very different beast from congressional politics. I think that's why ACA was botched and dragged on so horribly, and why he let legislative trickery block and delay his initiatives for so long without getting involved.

                Anyway, I guess what I found so questionable about the original post was the assertion that he's done nothing and the idea that Mittens could be no worse. I mean to think that Mittens will fight for middle or working class situations, especially if congress is controlled by Republicans, in an equal way to Obama is just absurd. Does it suck that we have to be appreciative of a president arguing that maybe we shouldn't cut all of safety net programs away rather than arguing for expanding them and having the wealthy pay their fair share to the society from which they have benefited so much? Yes. It does. It sucks very much. But it could still be worse. See: Paul Ryan Budget.

                •  The "could be no worse" is a POV thing. (0+ / 0-)

                  If you've blown through 99 weeks of unemployment, lost your home, and have lost hope of ever getting a job, it's hard to see how much worse off you could be.

                  The level of frustration and desperation will vary with one's individual circumstances, but...a lot of people aren't going to find Romney all that scary.

                  How many?  Beats me, especially of good things start to happen.  People with something -- even if it's just hope -- to lose act differently from those without.

                  Obama's going to beat on Romney because that's what politicians do.  It might be too late to try spreading a little hope, but maybe not.

                  After all, we're talking Mitt Romney, not Ronald Reagan.  No need to worry about a charm offensive.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 08:29:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're right... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    dinotrac

                    It's definitely a point of view thing. I suppose for the people for whom things cannot get worse, the question is more which person will fight to make things better? If someone's at the bottom and out of hope, I can't imagine listening to and thinking about Mittens and coming to the conclusion that rolling the dice on him improves the probabilities that a rope will be lowered at a faster pace than with Obama in the WH. But you're right: for those people, the contrast needs to be made in terms of who provides the clearest path to relief from a bad situation, not a contrast of "that guy will sink things."

                    I suppose politically (and I kind of hate myself for thinking/typing political strategy, as I find it an abhorrent way to discuss issues that affect real people in real ways), the utterly hopeless make up a small (though unfortunately growing) part of the electorate and turn-out among them is typically pretty low. I mean, to participate in electoral politics is an act of hope, so most voters show up because they have something to lose, even if it's in the abstract. The hopeless, with little to lose, also have little reason to participate in an electoral system that has so clearly not worked to their benefit. Thus, spreading hope makes less sense for an incumbent. In a sense, you're right: there's a bloc out there that could be won with a hopeful message that doesn't simply attack Rmoney. But is that bloc possible to motivate in high enough numbers, in terms of actual turn-out, to justify the cost of pursuing them as a strategy? Probably. I just hope they aren't ignored in the actual governance. That's what really matters. And I think Obama gives the best odds of them not being forgotten post-election.

      •  I kind of like how you have laid this out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Supavash

        I think the campaign should hit #3 hard.  If it is the truth, I do not see this as negative campaigning.  Romney is running on his business experience at Bain, so that is fair game.  To use a boxing analogy, this is when the President weakens Romney with body punches.

        Where the President gets to #2 is during the debates which is when I expect to see his polling numbers go way up.  Romney will not be able to stand toe to toe with the President in the debates.  Carrying the boxing analogy along, this is when the President delivers the knockout punch to Romney's glass jaw.

        "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

        by gulfgal98 on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 09:28:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  As long as Romney doesn't want to talk about (0+ / 0-)

    Romney........Talk about Romney.......What's the prollem?

  •  Well, if 1) was going to work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kestrel9000, brooklynbadboy

    it probably would have kicked in by now.  That leaves 2 and 3,  but so far I haven't heard a big enough vision to make 2 work.

    So 3.

  •  All in for #3. (3+ / 0-)

    And the "hands-off-religion" policy needs to die. They made it that way.
    Mitt Romney is not a lay Mormon. He is a highly placed bishop-type whose loyalty to the Church will, NECESSARILY, come before his loyalty to the Constitution and Amercia.
    This is because the Church decides whether he gets his own planet full of wives and followers after he dies.
    Yes.
    He literally believes this.
    If we elect Mitt Romney as President, we have actually just elected Thomas S. Monson.

    "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

    by kestrel9000 on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 07:33:45 AM PDT

  •  Been here, done this, and it ain't pretty (5+ / 0-)

    It's not Reagan '84; it's, not 1996; and it's not 2000, or 2004. It's 1980, but without an Ayatollah Khomeini...yet.  And, I had a front row seat to that one. Bigtime. The similarities are downright striking. And, you know what? We could have won that one, too (especially without Iran holding us hostage in the press, every f*cking night on Koppel).

    This time around, there's going to be plenty of "deficit drama." And, all it's going to take is Standard & Poor's, or Moody's, or Fitch, to do another, highly-publicized ratings downgrade in September (maybe just one little notch; and it might only be one of the three credit ratings agencies, too). And, that will be "the story" (the MSM narrative), heading into Election Day.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 07:49:45 AM PDT

    •  Sounds like that could very well be the case (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobswern, Supavash

      with the only caveat I'd offer that Obama hasn't faced a primary. Had he, yeah...it would be Carter all over again.

      But I agree with you 100% on the debt rating. We will probably have an uptick in unemployment as well on November 2nd, but by that time the cake will be baked.

      If Mitt Romney isn't made unacceptable, we will probably get beat. Bad.

    •  In 1980, Carter was being vilified for (4+ / 0-)

      Operation Eagle Claw, a major disaster which Carter did not design, but which he signed off on and took responsibility for.

      The analogy, then, is Obama's whacking of Osama bin laden, which was successful. It was a gamble and it worked, even with a helicopter crash to make the analogies eerie.

      Obama gets to add GM and general attempts to help the economy. And if you wanna be technical, he helped our economy against End Stage Reaganism as much of the damage to our economy began shortly after Reagan was elected.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 07:59:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd agree with you except for a few "details"... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xxdr zombiexx, Supavash, Eric Nelson

        ...what you're saying, in fact, may very well be part of the key Dem talking points (in many ways, those already are) heading into Election Day. HOWEVER, Reagan was able to hijack significant union support (starting with the Teamsters, bigtime), in the runup to November. (Dems having their convention in Charlotte is going to be--it already is, IMHO--a big tactical mistake, as far as that's concerned, too.) And, there are a lot of white, moderate and conservative (and "racially-challenged"), working-class Democrats out there that look back on the Reagan years quite fondly (and THAT's quite twisted, but an inconvenient reality of our time). Obama can't diss Reagan. That would be a failure, perception-wise. Reagan sucked, and his policies are a huuge part of the reason why we're at where we are, today; but, touting anti-Reaganism would be self-defeating, especially in mid-America.

        (NOTE: I was the Carter/Mondale press secretary in Michigan, in the general election; and also that campaign's media liaison with the UAW's national leadership. Like I said in my last comment: "I had a front row seat.")

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 08:13:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And there's the personality factor. (4+ / 0-)

        I love Jimmy Carter, I voted for him, but he's no Barack Obama in the charm/charisma department.  

        Proud Democrat since 1960.

        by Lying eyes on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 09:34:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the charisma thing is over except for the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Owlet

          base.

          Wish it weren't true, but the Repubs are already saying that we heard the words before - now we need action that only Rs can achieve. Also they're going back to the meme that he was too inexperienced to handle the job that needed to be done.

          Looks like they will make the case the the 2008 election of Obama was the wrong man for the time. Job too big.

          Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive. And... It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!

          by auapplemac on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 08:11:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you look at Obama's poor performance... (4+ / 0-)

            he really should be done at this point.  He has actually accomplished very little in his term.  Yes, a lot of that has to do with Republicans claiming the majority in the House and being obstructionist, but it's still the truth.  

            If the Supreme Court overturns the health care bill, then what will Obama really have done in four years?  It pisses me off that he and the Democrats were not more aggressive at pushing their agenda in 2009 and 2010.  That was a sorely missed opportunity.  

    •  This summer DOES seem to be loaded with lots of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobswern, Eric Nelson

      'exogenous' events. But I think the europeans and everubody else are not too keen on another Reagan-like or Bush-like character in Washington for the next.....ohhhhhhh.....let's say.......50 years.

  •  Well written. It's a tough call. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, Eric Nelson

    When I think about all the crazy stuff Republican officeholders have said, proposed, and legislated, well, this election shouldn't be as close as it is. You've clarified the various strategies clearly, why people don't see how nuts the Republicans are escapes me.

  •  Since our education system has been on the decline (0+ / 0-)

    the 30 and under crowd typically don't have the historical context from school on how long it took to crawl out of the Great Depression and are not likely to have relatives who actually lived through it. The Campaign needs to fill in the gaps.

    Doctor Mitt Romney Brain Sturgeon-The Operation was a success but the patient died, where's my fee?

    by JML9999 on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 08:33:18 AM PDT

  •  Romney won't be as inept as McCain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, Lying eyes

    But I still think that his nervous laughter, Bush-type policies, oozing 1 percenter privilege and complete inability to connect with anyone who doesn't own a sports team will be his own undoing - that, and his penchant for telling huge whoppers and general weirdness.

    I think that once the public wakes up to the election and takes a look at this guy they'll be totally turned off.  That's why I'd pick option #1 for Obama and have his surrogates take care of #3.

    you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    by Dem Beans on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 09:01:42 AM PDT

  •  I tend to agree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, Eric Nelson

    this election is going to be a nail bitter. There are times I'm not sure I can stand to watch...

    The economy is starting to go into stall mode, not improving and that's not helping.

    There's been some diaries including by Markos the past two months suggesting the electoral map favors Obama and the national popular vote polls aren't the full picture. That he  leads in more swing states such as Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Nev. Also, that NM is no longer a swing state and Arizona is increasing competitive.

    I'm hoping that Americans won't elect the poster boy for the top 1%, but I can't be sure.

    As a member of Courtesy Kos, I am dedicated to civility and respect for all kossacks, regardless of their opinions, affiliations, or cliques.

    by joedemocrat on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 09:35:26 AM PDT

    •  Anybody remember the last time (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      America had a brief affair with a businessman and how that ended?  The memory is dim but I see him dancing with his wife to Patsy Cline's "Crazy".

      I know, times they have a-changed and money is in the saddle but I'm hangin' with the guys who did it in 08.  They're not dummies in the getting elected department.  

      Proud Democrat since 1960.

      by Lying eyes on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 10:07:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Go hard with #2 which only works once.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash

    ..Romney has been hammered with #3 at every turn and with as many of Romneys' own speeches including his former campaigns.

    Don't avoid #1, flip it. Make it poison.
     it will be the focus of the Romney campaign, so flip it from the economy to the republicans.  Make referendum ugly , too ugly for Romneys' team to profit from.

    Tie the economy to the republicans only goal: Not jobs but dividing and conquering and taking back the White house at any cost; holding the economy hostage

    Examples: DeMint & waterloo, or McConnells' primary and only purpose to defeat President Obama at any cost to the economy, with many more examples lined up.

    List the republicans house Bills , HB 1, HB2, HB3, etc. - Every single Bill has been about attacking women or closing Post Offices or naming a f**cking bicycle.

    And Use the filbuster hard.
    The do nothing filibustering Senate led by Mitch and his stated primary & only goal - filibustering (eg.  The American Jobs Act)  

     Prove that every time the republicans say jobs, jobs jobs, they do nothing about it, that they are reactionary, outdated, regressive with zero new ideas. Certainly none with jobs in mind
    Their record is right there. Expose it. Then do it some more.

  •  Mittney will not engage him in this way (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash
    This seems to be the choice of the president himself. Basically, the president wishes to have a public debate with Mitt Romney over policy
    He has been burned in the past by being too specific and now will play the vague generalization game, it is to his advantage to keep it vague and let voters paint their own image of him in their head and vote for that

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 06:44:57 AM PDT

    •  He's only been burned because he contradicts (0+ / 0-)

      himself!  The man stands for nothing.  So one day he says one thing, then the next another.  Yeah, he was 'too specific' but only because he specified both sides of every issue.  

  •  Question: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rcnewton

    How will SCOTUS rule on the ACA, and how will that affect the approach to the election?

    Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

    by SottoVoce on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 07:39:45 PM PDT

  •  There Exists No Argument. (0+ / 0-)

    Obama is mostly an arguer.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 07:39:48 PM PDT

  •  Do All 3 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, sydneyluv

    there is no doubt in my mind about that.

    We have a lot to work with.

    Barack Obama for President '08

    by v2aggie2 on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 07:47:45 PM PDT

  •  Blame for a (0+ / 0-)


    screwed up economy mostly rests with the Republicans.....but there are things that the President can do himself now if he wished to make improvements tot he economy.  I know he doesn't want to appear like he is playing politics, but hey at the worst at least he helped make the economy better before letting the Republicans give it the final few stabs.

    Perhaps some here can help me on this but, doesn't he have control of a lot of discretionary spending he can funnel to jobs programs. How about executive orders.....at least go out with a bang..  I believe Obama said may years back that he didn't mind being a one term President as long as he did the right things.

  •  Hit the Ryan Plan and hard (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, cocinero

    Krugman is giving out smoke signals.

    This plan is a fraud.

    The tax "cuts" in it are a fraud.

    The spending cuts will only hurt the middle class and the poor and it won't cut our debt.

    The good thing about this is that, though it may be negative, it is also completely and utterly true.

  •  "Demonize" is the wrong word (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, Nisi Prius, dull knife

    Unmask Romney, and there's a demon. Not some damn Hollywood demon. The real thing. Naked evil. And the whole apparatus around him, all of the corporate money launderers, the same thing ... no matter how nice you'd find some of them if you met them for drinks. For that is the nature of true evil. Satan isn't an ugly fucker. He's a smooth-tongued liar. He looks a lot like Mitt.

    It would be funny, if these guys weren't true evil, but they are. They're so truly evil that evil needs another name.

  •  To execute #3 successfully, we can't (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Red Bean, mightymouse, MinnesotaMom

    have Bookers, Rattners, Patricks, and even Clintons.  Off message surrogates have ruined the Bain strategy.

  •  #3, definitely. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, MinnesotaMom, llywrch

    The economy, unemployment numbers, housing crisis are only going to further deteriorate in the next five months. His record of accomplishments is too nuanced to sell to an electorate that is only (understandably) focused on their own diminished circumstances.

    Additionally, he needs to reign in the Big Dog and tell him to stop talking about Romney's "sterling business career." And, FFS, it's time to have a serious sitdown with Nancy Pelosi and tell her this million dollar threshhold crap and her promotion of Simpson/Bowles has gotta stop. Obama himself may still want to achieve the Grand Bargain that "reforms" entitlement programs, but it's an electoral loser.

    Run on (finally) breaking up the TBTF banks, really reforming Wall Street, and investing heavily in jobs programs as the only sensible (and historically proven) way to grow ourselves out of the deficit. He may be too much of a neo-liberal to believe in these things, but he better learn to fake it. Continued shoring up of the status quo is a prescription for apathy and disillusionment of the Democratic base.

    Why are critically important stories that merit serious discussion posted on Open Thread for Night Owls, where, at most, 10% of the comments actually address the post? This is an embarrassing waste of the talents of Meteor Blades and Hunter.

    by WisePiper on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 07:54:27 PM PDT

    •  * rein (not reign) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade

      The last thing we need is to put a crown on Bill Clinton. His record of "achievements" is an object lesson in how to empower Wall Street.

      Why are critically important stories that merit serious discussion posted on Open Thread for Night Owls, where, at most, 10% of the comments actually address the post? This is an embarrassing waste of the talents of Meteor Blades and Hunter.

      by WisePiper on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 08:02:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's the Supreme Court, stupid! /nt (0+ / 0-)

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 07:54:41 PM PDT

    •  It is the whole federal court system. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polecat

      If Republicans get to put more Liberty U judges in the system, who will rule that DOMA is unconstitutional?  Who will inforce separation of church and state?  Who will protect voting rights?  Sure the SC is, well Supreme, but they are not alone.

      “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

      by ahumbleopinion on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 09:42:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The fact this diary was even written (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, shaharazade

    And the choices you decided were important, says more than a 10 thousand word essay on the failure of the Obama administration could ever dream of achieving.

    And I see people advocating to use the Bush/Rove 2004 campaign strategy to get reelected.

    Fucking sad.

    Progressivism is dead on this website.

    •  not really (0+ / 0-)

      the Bush/Rove 2004 campaign strategy was lying about Kerry, pumping people full of fear that Al Qaeda was on the verge of attacking again if Cheney & Bush weren't returned to the White House, and getting anti-gay legislation on tons of state ballots. I don't see BBB advocating any of those things.

      Think of me what you will, I've got a little space to fill. - Tom Petty

      by itsbenj on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 10:00:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bush won in 2004. Do you not want to win? n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 08:07:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You wrongly equate means with ends (0+ / 0-)

      and that, indeed, is the most common shortsighted error on this site.  

      Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

      by Big River Bandido on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 09:32:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with you, bbb. (0+ / 0-)

    The Obama team has to keep on showing how much worse it will all get if the nation gets into Romney's clutches. It can't be too difficult to pound that until November and that's all there is to actually pull this one out of the fire.
    As usual, dandy diary.

  •  WTF is wrong with this place? (6+ / 0-)

    Why is there no option: Fucking deal with the fucking mess we have. Slam some Wall Streeters in jail, use the British travails of Murdoch to demonize the conservative movement in its entirety and even lock up some of the SOBs, and go to Congress and ask for $8 trillion to repair infrastructure and begin building the electricity generation and distribution system we need to achieve 75% solar and wind power by 2030. Compromise position would be $3 trillion to $4 trillion.

    If the conservatives and elites freak, notch it up a level: nationalize the Federal Reserve. Another level would taking the power to issue money away from the Fed and giving it to the Treasury. That means printing money that is NOT based on debt: watch the financial elites and conservatives go absolutely bonkers.

    This crap presented here is more "business as usual" that is dooming us to failure, and even extinction. Seriously, is our political system this incapable of the action really needed to assure human survival?

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 08:04:24 PM PDT

  •  a better argument (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sydneyluv

    I think another argument that might be effective is ..
    "I need to finished  the job I started in 2008--
    I need 4 more years"

    I think  this is what won Bush the election in 2004 ... Iraq was a mess but Americans gave him the benefit of the doubt to finish the job he started .

    It is a bit nuanced but it could swing last minute independents to Obama's column

    "Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative." - John Stuart Mill

    by smartone on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 08:15:51 PM PDT

  •  A mix of #2 and #3 seems right (0+ / 0-)

    Heck, done correctly, 2/3 will seem like one big theme.

    #1 is out though. People will think you are out of touch and start looking for a different message.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 09:00:44 PM PDT

  •  Any problem with all of the above? (0+ / 0-)
  •  yeah (0+ / 0-)

    the campaign has to do #3 effectively. it doesn't have to be the sole component of the campaign, but it must be done and done right, or defeat is highly possible.

    Obama can sort of run on his record, parts of it, but doing so just results in endless recursive arguments about sh#t that nearly everyone is sick to death of rehashing. Obama can most certainly not run on "what he plans to do" because as we've seen for the last 2 years, he can barely get anything shepherded through Congress. what's going to come along and change that? nothing. certainly nothing the Dems are talking about. they seem almost exclusively focused on getting Obama reelected. I don't see any path to a significant change in Congressional numbers. seems like Romney just has to argue he'll have more luck with Congress, and I don't see how Obama really refutes that...

    Think of me what you will, I've got a little space to fill. - Tom Petty

    by itsbenj on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 09:55:06 PM PDT

  •  Run Against the Republicans Party (0+ / 0-)

    Obama and all of the Democrats have to make the case that the reason things are getting better is that the Republicans are blocking legislation. They have to make the electorate understand that when you vote for a Republican President or member of Congress you are voting to protect oil subsidies, tax benefits for corporations that move jobs overseas, higher taxes for most Americans and low taxes for the richest of the rich.

    Democrats can't just run individual races. They need to teach the electorate that one individual doesn't matter; The important part is which party is in charge. They need to make the case that people won't like what a Republican party will do and they will like what a Democratic Party can do if it is not held back by Republicans.

  •  DESTROY ALL MONSTERS!- the title of a japan sci-fi (0+ / 0-)

    that had all the greats: godzilla, mothra , rodan, etc. my point: use everything  to make sure that romney doesn't get the job. much as i hate fear-mongering, the situation is dire enough to merit it, and it doesn't need to be backed up by lies in this case.

    bring your own petard.

  •  Go with 2 and 3.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    People SHOULD be afraid of Romney. The man has no ideas other than to kill government to make America safe for international corporations. Romney is the candidate China wants to win. I am quite serious about that. "Free" enterprise, no trade barriers, sell your soul to homever is buying.

    He needs to make crystal clear that Republicans have sabotaged any chance at recovery. That's option 2. Stop talking about "Congress" and refer to "Republican terrorists".

    Too strong? Fuck you. They are. And remind people you don't like terrorists.

  •  Similar to '04 (0+ / 0-)

    in that I think the majority of American people would like to be rid of President Obama, & this includes a lot of progressives. But the option isn't terribly appealing: a decidedly strange, stilted man with absolutely no experience as a "regular guy" or the capacity to be one. You know the "Who would you rather have a beer with?" presidential choice.   How about guy who not only can't drink beer, but probably doesn't watch any popular sports because he enjoys them. NASCAR? Everyone knows that's Mitt jiveass. & lordy, how Mitt can lie like he believes what he's saying.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:20:26 AM PDT

  •  Romney's a Demon (0+ / 0-)

    Of course they should demonize Romney. He's a demon. And his campaign will demonize Obama - already has - despite Obama not being a demon.

    If the campaign can't tell Americans the truth that Romney's a demon, while telling them Obama's not, as they should know (though many cough*teabaggers*cough don't), then they can't lead.

    But Obama's got hundreds of $millions to spend. He should throw the laundry list and the kitchen sink at Romney. Demonize him. Have the policy debate. Run on the record. And a hundred other arguments. A hundred fifty million voters have lots of buttons to push, which requires lots of different fingers.

    This is basic campaigning. Don't bet on any one or three things. Do everything you can. The right things in the right places. Different messages for different audiences. It's hard to coordinate without contradiction and incoherence, as we've seen Romney prove, but the best campaigners do it.

    This is the big time. Obama can do it all. Romney sure will, and without truth or value to call upon.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 04:37:23 AM PDT

  •  Expose - not demonize Repubflicans (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans = Bain.  That is how they operate. Take over, borrow to reward their investors, screw the employees, etc.
    Look at this both at federal and state level.

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