Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Obama Should Beware of Democratic Strategists

I was struck by this article in the Washington Post:  ”Obama campaign’s rough patch concerns some Democrats.” The Democratic establishment apparently believes that the team that got President Obama elected in a “change” election year is not adapting to the new realities of a sputtering economy, ballooning public debt, and widespread dissatisfaction with Washington.
“The bad thing is, there is no new thinking in that circle,” said one longtime operative in Democratic presidential campaigns who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.
Eight other prominent Democratic strategists interviewed shared that view, describing Obama’s team as resistant to advice and assistance from those who are not part of its core. All of them spoke on the condition of anonymity as well.
The president’s definitely got his work cut out for him, but I’m terrified at the thought of the establishment political wizards riding in to take over messaging for his campaign. If they do for Barack Obama what they did for Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton, that is great news for Mr. Romney.
Don’t get me wrong. I think Stan Greenberg and James Carville (two of the Democratic strategists mentioned in the Post article) are brilliant, but their track record in post-Bill Clinton presidential elections is dreadful.  Obama and team ran a brilliant campaign in 2008 beating two formidable opponents, Hillary Clinton in the primaries and John McCain in the general election.  Somehow Obama and his group of Chicago greenhorns managed to excite the public in a way that no Democrat had done since Bill Clinton. Especially given the weak economy and the general sense of malaise, rekindling that excitement would seem even more important in 2012 than in 2008.
I don’t know whether that will be enough to get the president four more years, but I really worry about his chances if he returns to the the 2000 and 2004 game plan (and the team of strategists who produced it).
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