Over at Buzzfeed, Zeke Miller has a great post up about what's currently worrying the Obama campaign. As it turns out, it's insufficient worry.
See, right now, you can't line a birdcage without picking up a story about how the long GOP primary is damaging the candidates and driving up frontrunner Mitt Romney's negatives. Or a story about Romney's fondness for "Romneying" -- the term coined by David Weigel for those moments where Romney awkwardly reminds America how wealthy and out of touch he is. Or a story about how the slowly improving economy heightens Obama's re-election hopes. There's too much good news, too early, about a one-on-one race that hasn't even begun. And as Miller reports, the "deepest fear" of the Obama campaign is that it will all breed overconfidence and complacency in its most avid supporters.
Democrats expect a campaign sharply aimed at different constituencies, and spiked with warnings of what a Romney presidency would mean for women, for African-Americans, for immigrants, for the old, and for the young.
“Fear is a great motivator — at this point, the more Democratic voters have seen of Romney and the Republican issues discussion, the more they see there is an awful lot to fear,” said Steve Rosenthal, president of The Organizing Group.
Miller goes on to note that the Obama campaign and its allies have lately "struggled to avoid simply stamping 'L' for 'loser' on Romney’s forehead" -- by which he means that the campaign's standard reaction to some of Romney's more awkward moments has been to point and laugh. That's going to change, apparently, in that these moments won't be used to merely make Romney the butt of a joke, but rather to suggest that Mitt has some "deeper personal or political flaw" at his core. (Here's a hint, by the way: The thermonuclear weapon in the war to paint Romney as dangerously "strange" is the word "brainwashed." Watch for it.)
Now, one of the things that I predict will happen as Miller's piece percolates, is that you'll see a lot of people in the media editorializing about how Obama has "gone negative" in 2012 after a 2008 campaign in which he promised to be a different sort of politician. Or about how he ran a positive campaign once, but is now giving in to the basest cynicism of the political age and is abandoning his cherished campaign values. Or something like that. Hue, cry, garment-rending, the whole nine yards.
So let me once again point you in the direction of John Sides, reminding you that "Barack Obama Is A Negative Campaigner." Sides writes: "Some commentators seem to assume or imply that Obama’s 2008 message of unity and bipartisanship meant that he didn’t 'go negative' in the heat of that campaign. He did. And he will."
And now, you will know your hacks by their trail of cliches.
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