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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail