No Mr. Romney, Barack Obama is still not a nice guy
Posted by KingShamus on November 13, 2012
In retrospect, what annoyed me the most about Team Romney’s campaign against Obama wasn’t the crappy voter turnout machinery or the listless September campaign or the anything else.
What has rankled me for a while is this piece of rhetoric from the Mittens Campaign:
“Obama is a nice guy, but he’s in over his head.”
I really don’t know why Romney decided to go this route.
Before you even start, don’t give me the “Mitt is just too decent to be mean” defense. I’m not saying that Romney is a bad dude. Romney is a good man, especially if judged by the standards of American Politician Behavior Circa Early 21st Century.
But let’s not get weepy and sentimental about the guy simply because he just took a good old-fashioned passionate ass-whoopin’. Romney had no problem slamming his primary opponents. None of them were ‘good folks’. Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum all felt the heat from Romney’s air and ground game. Every one of Mitt’s serious competitors got swamped by negative campaigning.
On the other hand, President Obama didn’t get the same kind of treatment from the Romney camp. Obambi was never demonized. He was always just ‘wrong’.
Now, it’s nice that Mitt was willing to call Obama mistaken about the issues of the day. At least Romney was good enough to help us out on that.
Typical Voter: ‘Wait, Obama’s policies are not cool? Oh okay Thanks for the heads-up, Mitt.”
That person then promptly went to the ballot box and picked President Downgrade McMassiveUnemployment.
So why did Romney take it easy on Saint Barry?
“It’s the likability factor,” said Spencer, a Romney supporter. “Many people think that Obama hasn’t delivered, but they still like him. I’d rather have a beer with him than Romney. Wouldn’t you?”
Leaving aside the fact that Romney doesn’t drink anything stronger than lemonade, Spencer’s gut view has statistical support from the time-tested Gallup Poll. Before the Democratic National Convention, Gallup’s editors observed that Obama’s personal favorability was consistently higher than his job approval rating. The day Gallup issued its report (Sept. 6), Obama’s favorability was 53 percent, compared to an approval rating of 45 percent.
Here’s a hint for every future Republican candidate ever.
Here’s another hint for you wanna-be Republican office-holders.
You should probably do a pre-emptive negative campaign on your rival before he gets to slime you first. Yes, I know the press will say you’re a meanie and a racist and your favorite hobby is kicking puppies. They’ll smear you as a latter-day Lee Atwater and every nasty advert you cut will be worse than the Revolving Door/Willie Horton commercial. By the way, they always say all that shit anyway, so going negative is the only way to be sure you’re covering all your bases while not getting punked out like a bitch with the Donkey-Puncher’s own negative campaign tactics.
Here’s yet another hint and it’s the most important one of them all. Because it’s so critical, I’ll just give it to you free of charge.
If the person you’re running against has high personal approval ratings, you know what Job 1 through 10 is? Make that person as unlikable as possible.
I know some of you think likability is overrated. Campaigns should be serious discussions of the pressing national concerns of our time. The candidates and their various personality traits shouldn’t factor much into the equation of who we’re going to pick to be president.
The thing is, not every American is terribly excited about politics. Most citizens are not political junkies. They don’t tune into to the day-to-day partisan fight. Low information voters base a lot of their decisions on their gut feelings about the candidates. Thus, a politician’s likability is almost as important as his communication skills or his ideological positioning.
Check out two recent examples of how personality can save a politician’s bacon.
Bill Clinton had to be dragged kicking and screaming by Newt Gingrich to sign welfare reform. Clinton’s wife tried to take over health care, with politically disastrous results. The President and his party were shellacked in 1994 midterms. Everybody knew that Slick Willy was constantly banging chicks who were not his wife. It was his sunny folksy demeanor, especially compared to Senator Darth Dole, that helped pull him through the 1996.
Look back to 2004. George Bush was fighting two wars, one of which was rapidly going pear-shaped. Every celebrity in the universe vomited red-hot bile at the mere mention of Dubya. Every time homeboy tripped over a syllable the press was ready to declare the President, a Yale and Harvard-educated businessman and governor of one of America’s largest states, a mouth-breathing retard. Yet despite all that, Bush the Younger outcharmed John Kerry–yeah, not the hardest job in the world, but still–and won the election.
Were there other factors in those elections that helped Clinton and Bush win? Of course. For instance, Bubba benefited from having Ross Perot split the conservative popular vote away from Bob Dole. George Bush didn’t have peace, but he had a relatively strong economy working in his favor.
The fact remains. When voters can identify and relate to a candidate, it can mask a multitude of political liabilities.
Barack Obama’s record consisted of five trillion dollars worth of national debt, GDP growth under 2% and a wildly unpopular entitlement program.
But he was hip and cool and he got the joke, so he’s our president.
Sadly, it’s too late to knock down Barack Obama’s personal approval ratings in order to win the 2012 election. That doesn’t mean conservatives and Republicans can’t start now.
Even better, barring the President pulling some kind of Bloomberg Maneuver, he’ll be done in 2016. Here’s how you’ll know if the GOP is serious about winning the next presidential election.
If they try to turn the next Democrat nominee into a smelly piece of shit Occupy Wall Street liberal panty-waist.
When the progressives whine and cry about unfair Republican attack ads, conservatives can just say, “We learned it from watching you, Saul Alinsky!”