Friday, April 13, 2012

Style over Substance

Politico lays out what looks to be Obama's current reelection strategy: claiming that Mitt Romney is, like, totally uncool:
He may not drink or cheat, and he lacks the fictional ad-maker’s charisma, but Democrats, despite the potential perils of such a strategy, remain determined to paint Romney as a throwback to the “Mad Men” era — a hopelessly retro figure who, on policy and in his personal life, is living in the past.
President Barack Obama has noted the presumptive GOP nominee uses archaic turns of phrase such as “marvelous” and warned in an email to donors Thursday that his rival would usher in “a social agenda from the 1950s.”
 However, the 1950s witnessed less economic inequality and greater job growth than Obama's term has.

As Jay Cost suggests, this style-driven narrative might not be the most effective:
Clearly, this is not an ideal strategy, for any candidate. Typically, successful reelection campaigns – e.g. 1936, 1956, 1972, 1984, and 1996 – have been based on narratives about how the country has turned a corner, thanks to the incumbent’s greatness. Think “Nixon’s The One!” “It’s Morning In America” or “Bridge To The 21st Century.” None of that applies to President Obama, who instead looks to tar Mitt Romney as the evil stepchild of J.P. Morgan and Barry Goldwater.

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