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How Bill Clinton Destroyed Obama’s Campaign

From the New York Times:

How Bill Clinton May Have Hurt the Obama Campaign

By MATT BAI | Wed October 24, 2012

When the histories of the 2012 campaign are written, much will be made of Bill Clinton’s re-emergence. His convention speech may well have marked the finest moment of President Obama’s re-election campaign, and his ads on the president’s behalf were memorable.

But there is one crucial way in which the 42nd president may not have served the 44th quite as well. In these final weeks before the election, Mr. Clinton’s expert advice about how to beat Mitt Romney is starting to look suspect.

Bai’s wording here almost sounds like he is suggesting a conspiracy.

You may recall that last spring, just after Mr. Romney locked up the Republican nomination, Mr. Obama’s team abruptly switched its strategy for how to define him. Up to then, the White House had been portraying Mr. Romney much as George W. Bush had gone after John Kerry in 2004 – as inauthentic and inconstant, a soulless climber who would say anything to get the job.

But it was Mr. Clinton who forcefully argued to Mr. Obama’s aides that the campaign had it wrong. The best way to go after Mr. Romney, the former president said, was to publicly grant that he was the “severe conservative” he claimed to be, and then hang that unpopular ideology around his neck.

In other words, Mr. Clinton counseled that independent voters might forgive Mr. Romney for having said whatever he had to say to win his party’s nomination, but they would be far more reluctant to vote for him if they thought they were getting the third term of George W. Bush. Ever since, the Obama campaign has been hammering Mr. Romney as too conservative, while essentially giving him a pass for having traveled a tortured path on issues like health care reform, abortion and gay rights…

In other words, Clinton advised Obama to attack Romney for being too conservative. And that has backfired — big time. What does that tell you? (Hint: America is still a conservative country.)

For a while this summer and into the fall, the Obama-Clinton strategy seemed to be working flawlessly. That’s because, almost inexplicably, Mr. Romney continued to run as if he were still contesting the Republican primaries. But in recent weeks, starting with the first debate, the challenger has made a brazen and frantic dash to the center, and Mr. Obama has often seemed off-balance, as if stunned that Mr. Romney thinks he can get away with such an obvious change of course so late in the race. Which, apparently, he can.

What an outrage it is that, Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, is pretending to be a moderate. And that he is pretending he could work with a Democrat legislature.

The bottom line here is that one can over-think this whole notion of framing your opponent. Ninety-nine times out of 100, the line of attack that works best is the one that really rings true. In the case of Mr. Romney, whatever his stated positions may be, the idea that he’s a far-right ideologue, a kind of Rush Limbaugh with better suits and frosty hair, just doesn’t feel especially persuasive.

More is the pity.

On the other hand, the notion that Mr. Romney isn’t centered in any philosophical impulse — that he will say or do whatever it takes to win — seems more plausible, given his contortions on a range of policies, and given his excessive caution as a candidate.

If there’s one thing voters have shown time and time again in recent elections, it’s that they value authenticity above almost anything else.

Obama is authentic? In what way? And in what way was Bill Clinton authentic?

And Mr. Obama might have argued that this lack of a true north actually makes Mr. Romney more threatening to moderate voters than he would be if he were an actual ideologue, simply because he hasn’t shown any inclination to stand up to the more extreme forces in his own party.

As it is, though, Mr. Obama has chosen his path, and he now has only days to convince a lot of independents in states like Ohio and Virginia that Mr. Romney really is some raging conservative, rather than the more malleable, somewhat awkward fellow he is impersonating on TV. It’s an approach that has both pluses and minuses for Mr. Obama, much like the former president whose influence pervades his campaign.

This column is not actual campaign advice. There are not enough days left in the campaign for Obama to change his strategy now.

This is preparing a scapegoat for Obama’s defeat.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, October 25th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “How Bill Clinton Destroyed Obama’s Campaign”

  1. GetBackJack

    on that “binder full of women” bull,
    this is what I’d use as a rejoinder (to
    Obama):

    But you’re the guy who spent $200,000,000
    and 18 months making sure that America
    wouldn’t have its first female President.

    Bazinga

  2. BannedbytheTaliban

    The problem is Obama didn’t attack Romney for being conservative. He chose the class ware fare line. He tried to paint Romney as a rich heartless business man who didn’t pay his fair share of taxes. This is borne out by the countless “Bain Capital killed my wife” and “why do we pay less in taxes than Mitt Romney” adverts. This is just an example of the Obama media standing by their man, even at the expense of their second favorite politician, Bill Clinton.

  3. Right of the People

    What the moron in the Oval Office and his slobbering minions didn’t and still doesn’t understand is that this isn’t Chicago. There are no divorce records to be unlocked, there is no smoking gun. He can’t fathom that Mitt Romney is a moral and upright man since he isn’t even close.

    I like to think that most Americans won’t fall for the lies his ads spread, especially the BS about the guy whose wife died because she supposedly didn’t have insurance after his place of employment was closed, (even though she still had it through her work even after her hubby was laid off). Did the dolts who created these fairy tales think that we the people were just going to blindly believe the Bravo Sierra they were trying to spread especially when things are so easy to check now?

    If you believe in conspiracy theories here’s one: Slick Willy is doing everything he can to get rid of Dumbo Ears so the Hildabeast has a shot at the nomination in 2016. He wants back into the White House in the worst way even as the First Lady.

  4. P. Aaron

    ‘How Clinton destroyed Obama’s campaign’. I ain’t complaining.

  5. Democrats describing themselves again:

    …as inauthentic and inconstant, a soulless climber who would say anything to get the job.

    Isn’t that exactly Obama’s career in 1 sentence? Kicking people off the ballot, unsealing court documents, spending a little time at one station before moving on to another without any accomplishments?

    as if stunned that Mr. Romney thinks he can get away with such an obvious change of course so late in the race.

    Ends justify the means, isn’t that Saul Alinsky? And didn’t Obama try to sound like George Washington in his final remarks during the debates? I thought a flag would drop, music would play, tears come out of his eyes talking about how great America is.

    Mr. Romney isn’t centered in any philosophical impulse — that he will say or do whatever it takes to win — seems more plausible, given his contortions on a range of policies, and given his excessive caution as a candidate.

    You mean like voting “present” 135 times, to avoid political liability?

    If there’s one thing voters have shown time and time again in recent elections, it’s that they value authenticity above almost anything else.

    Oh please! We are talking about politics here for gosh sakes! Since when is political maneuvering not in the playbook? They are just mad that Republicans are actually doing their strategy. New York Times tells us that voters want whatever it is the democrats are selling.

    simply because he hasn’t shown any inclination to stand up to the more extreme forces in his own party.

    Like the violent union members, and the violent occupy members. Or people who think the government owes them an Obamaphone, or free contraceptives, or open borders letting criminals in is a good idea. Or the people who said they were going to riot, on Twitter, if Romney is elected? –those people?

    These liberals stand long enough in their own poop, it just doesn’t stink anymore.

  6. wirenut

    I do not place my politicians on a pedestal, I want my politictians to put my Constitutional Rights above their personal ambitions. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of wealth were brought by God. Only our founders, put it to paper.
    Anything else, is a dictatorship over man, or a woman. Putting “chill bill” in front of The Incompetent and Chief,
    just chappes my hide. Obama lied, Bengazie people died. 46 days later, no answers. When is the truth , on a
    pedestal?


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