FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How Obama Made an Easy Race Too Close

by RALPH NADER

One day before Election Day 2012 and the incredible has come true. Obama is neck and neck with Romney when, even with his disappointing record, Obama should be landsliding Romney and his Party of Big Business.

For all his billions plus campaign dollars, President Obama has missed out on repeatedly emphasizing the most obvious flaws of the Romney/Ryan campaign for a complete takedown.

If a year ago, people with a casual interest in politics were told that Obama’s opponent was a man who has secret bank accounts abroad, withholds his tax returns, maneuvers his various incomes in tax escape islands abroad, runs a takeover business that destroys or exports jobs, declares contempt for 47 percent of Americans receiving public benefits, adopts the Ryan Budget that shreds  America’s public services, corporatizes Medicare, bloats the military budget, and further entrenches the domination of the one percent over American workers at a time of overall declining livelihoods and growing poverty, wouldn’t they conclude that the President was a shoo-in for re-election?

The Democrats failed to follow a cardinal rule of politics. Never let the public forget your opponent’s most serious liabilities. Sure, Obama’s televised ads battered Romney during the summer. Sure, when Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate, the Democrats portrayed the Ryan budget as cruel, dishonest and economically destructive (e.g. in the name of spending austerity, the Ryan budget still contains deficits past the 2040s, by his own admission).

But in the final eight weeks of the campaign you repeat these grim and dim positions over and over again. If you don’t, Romney’s ads and the dittoheads running Obama’s campaign involuntarily converge to produce voter amnesia.

Have you seen the Democrats hammering in the secret tax returns and bank accounts lately? Have you seen the grisly details grinding down people’s economic, health and safety well-being and sense of security contained in the unchained Ryan budget? They have virtually disappeared from the horse-race obsessed mainstream media – print and electronic – and pointedly from Obama and unions advertisements. Until the final hour, repetition of your political opponent’s worst failings before the undecided voters, that a winner-take-all election makes so pivotal, is the recipe for victory. It also changes some decided minds and induces some Romney-leaning voters to stay home. Better yet, it throws the Republicans on the defensive all the way down to local elections.

But then what can you expect from a visionless political party that has more money than strategic brains. Obama’s advisers tell him to run by himself and not with his Democratic members of Congress, who he needs to retake the House and keep the Senate in order to and get anything done in his second term. Worse, as Matt Bai wrote Sunday in The New York Times, Obama has had no narrative for America’s future.

The Democratic National Committee went along with letting their chief nemesis in Congress- Speaker John Boehner – run unopposed by a Democratic candidate in his Ohio District. Unopposed! A free ride! Newt Gingrich never did that when, as a junior Congressman from Georgia, he led the movement to dump Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright and shortly thereafter defeat the sitting Speaker Tom Foley in Foley’s own Washington state Congressional district.

But then who ever thought the Democrats had the energy, persistence and brashness to take on their opposing political giants and topple them?

Kevin Phillips was so right when he said years ago that the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is that the former go for the jugular while the latter go for the capillaries.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.

 

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 24, 2016
John Pilger
Provoking Nuclear War by Media
Jonathan Cook
The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine
Eric Draitser
Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism
Robert Fisk
The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria
Abubakar N. Kasim
What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?
Renee Parsons
Obamacare Supporters Oppose ColoradoCare
Alycee Lane
The Trump Campaign: a White Revolt Against ‘Neoliberal Multiculturalism’
Edward Hunt
Maintaining U.S. Dominance in the Pacific
George Wuerthner
The Big Fish Kill on the Yellowstone
Jesse Jackson
Democrats Shouldn’t Get a Blank Check From Black Voters
Kent Paterson
Saving Southern New Mexico from the Next Big Flood
Arnold August
RIP Jean-Guy Allard: A Model for Progressive Journalists Working in the Capitalist System
August 23, 2016
Diana Johnstone
Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion
Bill Quigley
Race and Class Gap Widening: Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers
Ted Rall
Trump vs. Clinton: It’s All About the Debates
Eoin Higgins
Will Progressive Democrats Ever Support a Third Party Candidate?
Kenneth J. Saltman
Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success
Binoy Kampmark
Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day
John Feffer
The Globalization of Trump
Gwendolyn Mink – Felicia Kornbluh
Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”
Medea Benjamin
Congress Must Take Action to Block Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia
Halyna Mokrushyna
Political Writer, Daughter of Ukrainian Dissident, Detained and Charged in Ukraine
Manuel E. Yepe
Tourism and Religion Go Hand-in-Hand in the Caribbean
ED ADELMAN
Belted by Trump
Thomas Knapp
War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us
Nauman Sadiq
Shifting Alliances: Turkey, Russia and the Kurds
Rivera Sun
Active Peace: Restoring Relationships While Making Change
August 22, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’
Robert Hunziker
Arctic Death Rattle
Norman Solomon
Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Hubris: Only Tell the Rich for $5000 a Minute!
Russell Mokhiber
Save the Patients, Cut Off the Dick!
Steven M. Druker
The Deceptions of the GE Food Venture
Elliot Sperber
Clean, Green, Class War: Bill McKibben’s Shortsighted ‘War on Climate Change’
Binoy Kampmark
Claims of Exoneration: The Case of Slobodan Milošević
Walter Brasch
The Contradictions of Donald Trump
Michael Donnelly
Body Shaming Trump: Statue of Limitations
Weekend Edition
August 19, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Hillary and the War Party
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Prime Time Green
Andrew Levine
Hillary Goes With the Flow
Dave Lindorff
New York Times Shames Itself by Attacking Wikileaks’ Assange
Gary Leupp
Could a Russian-Led Coalition Defeat Hillary’s War Plans?
Conn Hallinan
Dangerous Seas: China and the USA
Joshua Frank
Richard Holbrooke and the Obama Doctrine
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail