Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Impossible Task of Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention

Convince Voters Why He Deserves a Second Term

With the end of the Republican convention everyone now knows the election strategy of Mitt Romney.  Mr. Romney’s convention absolutely ignored the social issues that drive the modern Republican party, and he refused to provide any details on his economic plans, his tax plans or any other policy plans.  The convention concentrated on extolling the virtues of Mr. Romney’s life and the convention did what it had to do, namely didn’t make any glaring mistakes.

So it is clear Mr. Romney will run on a two part strategy.  Part A is that Mr. Romney is not an evil, nasty person (and he is not) and Part B, Mr. Romney is not Barack Obama (and also something that he is not).  Since many voters, maybe a majority don’t want an evil nasty person and don’t want Mr. Obama, this may well be a winning strategy.  It is certainly not something the mainstream press will challenge Mr. Romney on.

For Mr. Obama, his task at the Democratic convention will be to demonstrate and convince voters why he should be given a second term.  This will not be easy, the rationale is just not that obvious.  For example, Mr. Obama could claim that if voters will re-elect him he will take on the Republicans in Congress and fight them all the way.  But voters want effective co-operative government, they don’t want a battle, so that doesn’t play very well.

The President could argue that with a mandate from re-election he can work with the Republican Congress to make legislative progress.  Given that Republicans are going to fight every action of the President regardless of the cost to the country such a position would only elicit laughter.  Nobody would believe that.

Mr. Obama could argue for health care reform, but nope, already done that.  And any expensive policy initiatives are not going to pass because of lack of GOP help and because there is no money to pay for them. On foreign policy there are no real opportunities.  The U. S. can stay in Afghanistan and court disaster or leave and court disaster.  It may be impossible to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon without all out war, which is not exactly a platform that would endear Mr. Obama to many voters other than John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

So the President is reduced to arguing the social issues, the ones ignored by the Republicans (until they gain power that is).  He will have to argue for protection for women’s rights, for the separation of church and state, for the rights of all Americans including gays and lesbians and he will have to argue that it is only his Presidency that stands between the nation and a Republican theocracy. 

Nope, not a particularly winning strategy, but in fact it is all the President has.  Good luck Barack.

1 comment:

  1. Obama has three advantages.

    1. Many Americans like him.

    2. Many Americans, including Republicans, don't like Romney.

    3. Nearly all Americans don't like Congress.

    Obama's message, boiled down to two sentences, will be: I am on your side. Republicans aren't.

    That might be enough.