Today, this is not an important GOTV article. Just pointing out something for clarity that may help explain some of the interesting and seemingly stupid choices made by the Obama campaign.
Awhile back, Vassar pointed out that at some point Obama’s campaign strategy, in 2008 full of Hope & Change, was now locked in on winning the “Stupid Vote.” Aiming at the dumb, the gullible, the ill-informed, the hysterical crowd, that has long been a staple of the Democrat electoral strategy.
For this campaign, how horribly the Obamanistas had abused, neglected, and mismanaged this whole governance business the last 4 years forced the campaign to make hard decisions. Large groups of voters who had fallen for the Hope/Change line were much more cynical this time around. So the campaign had to decide on how to build a coalition that might get them 270 electoral votes. Tack toward the middle, promise a change of direction? Or go hard left, promise to redouble their efforts at punishing the rich and other enemies of the Left, and get more votes out of their more reliable constituencies.
It was probably lose-lose any way they decided, even with a monumentally compliant press for an ally. If they promised to change direction, that direction could only be rightward, alienating (somewhat) their own base in favor of appealing to the middle, and giving the right some “flip-flopper” traction. Ironically, this route probably had the best chance of getting a win. But the ego of not only Obama but his entire governing team made this impossible. They are incapable of admitting error.
So they went with Door #2. Go stridently after the professed enemies of the Left, paint Romney as the worst caricature possible, and make outlandish claims that only stupid people would believe. Think here of the Sandra Fluke affair (aka the War on Women), the “Romney killed my wife” ads, the “Romney via Bain Capital chopped up companies and laid off employees for their own profit,” the “throw granny down the cliff,” and so on. While all the moderates and independents would roll their eyes at such silliness, and further harden themselves against ever voting for Obama – the stupid people would be incited and inflamed and driven to vote for Herr Obama.
But here’s something that occurred to me very late. An important part of this “win the stupids” strategy was winning the news cycle. This meant that they would attempt to score cheap points in the short term – knowing they would get killed by subsequent fact-checking – but they would get to define the meme with the initial news cycle.
That is how they “won” debates 2,3, and 4. Joe Biden not only acted like a lunatic, but he told incredible whoppers – insane whoppers – that allowed him to “win” the debate by talking over and “refuting” the facts of Ryan. The newsmedia of course faithfully gobbled it up. Meanwhile, the average watcher, including independents, was nauseated by the antics and the obvious lies. But the stupids, hey, they reveled in Biden’s “showing up” that little upstart Ryan.
In debate 3 Obama got to make it a matter of record that Romney had falsely accused him of lied about the Benghazi terrorist attack, thanks to Candy Crowley — who of course knocked it out of the park, as you recall. Most of America, including independents and moderates, knew the truth. But the media and the (other) stupids were just plain giddy.
After Hurricane Sandy hit, Obama looked like a hands-on guy with that bomber jacket, promising the victims that his government would be all over it. The media covered this – but not his skating off to Vegas to hang with Eva Longoria. Six days later, the government has been its own disaster zone with its inept and inattentive handling of that crisis. But Obama got his news cycle and photo op.
At the end, he will lose. There are not enough stupids, thank God. The desserts of the news cycle will not forever outperform the meat and potatoes truth of a wrecked economy, corruption, tyranny, a joke of a foreign policy, and an incompetent and terminally vain administration.
Good try, but he’ll still get clobbered.