Conventional wisdom has it that people don’t start paying attention to campaigns until labour Day; that is labour Day next year. But in three easy steps Obama’s campaign could save a lot of headaches by simply winning the election right now. How is this possible?
Step One: Help establish the narrative Republicans want established. They want an economic platform of job stifling, trickle-down, tax-cuts-for-the-rich, privatize-programs-for-seniors-and-poor? Help the world know it.
Step Two: Frame the Debate: Once you’ve established a narrative it’s easy to frame the debate. Which vision do you want for America? Clearly if you want a country without a safety net (sorry grandma, hope your 401k protects you against Medicare costs and the privatization of Social Security) or one that rewards CEOs of oil companies over your local teacher and barber your candidates are stumping through Iowa and South Carolina right now. Think this example is a bit extreme? Time to read up on Rep. Paul Ryan’s ideas for the deficit.
Step Three: Be Presidential: This is easy for Obama. For the others? Not so much. We are in the middle of multiple wars, significant debt, serious economic and social challenges and from what I can gather the Republican debate is on such game changers as: whether or not the president was born in the U.S., how to make sure grandma doesn’t have Medicare and NPR doesn’t have funding.
And while we’re at it, let’s debate over whether photos of a dead Bin Laden should be paraded through the media world.
In fact, Republican aspirants have been stumping the early states claiming that the president is the “worst in history.” It’s great to take potshots. But what are they saying about how to fix what ails us?
Well… nothing. Here are three recent quotes:
Michelle Bachman, while campaigning in New Hampshire, had some trouble knowing where the Revolutionary War. “You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world at Lexington and Concord.”
Mitt Romney deciding that government workers don’t understand things like… their country. “So many people in government just don’t understand how America works.” (Let’s tell that to the over 20 million government employees including police officers, firefighters and teachers that apparently can’t figure how “America works”)
Donald Trump, touting that wallet size matters when choosing a presidential candidate. “Frankly, if I run, I will have to disclose financials and when I disclose my financials I can tell you people are going to be very, very impressed. I have done a good job.”
Now let’s take a quote from the President’s recent speech at George Washington University.
“There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. And this is not a vision of the America I know. “
I’m sorry Donald, Mitt and Michelle. This isn’t a campaign for class president. The country is facing serious issues and needs a serious candidate. President Obama, and his campaign team, should seize on this opportunity to put it away now.
The Bin Laden bump will be temporary. But narratives have staying power. With the creation of over 2 million private sector jobs we have a truly presidential story to tell.
For them? Birth certificates and dead guy photos. If that’s what they want let’s help them establish their narrative. If we do, the president’s reelection will be well underway.