FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How Obama Made an Easy Race Too Close

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.

 

More articles by:

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

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail