Is it time for Democrats to panic?
That’s what a growing number of party loyalists are wondering, amid a rough couple of weeks in which President Obama and his political operation have been buffeted by bad economic news, their own gaffes and signs that the presumed Republican nominee is gaining strength.
(...) “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 latest alarm came in a memo Monday from Democracy Corps, a research group headed by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and political consultant James Carville.
Based on their analysis of focus groups conducted late last month among swing voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania, they wrote that the current campaign message — which stresses the fragile progress of the economic recovery — is out of touch with the daily pain voters are feeling.
“We will face an impossible head wind in November if we do not move to a new narrative, one that contextualizes the recovery, but, more importantly, focuses on what we will do to make a better future for the middle class,” Greenberg, Carville and pollster Erica Seifert wrote. They added: “They know we are in a new normal where life is a struggle — and convincing them that things are good enough for those who have found jobs is a fool’s errand.”
The memo came days after Obama handed the Republicans new ammunition with his declaration at a news conference that “the private sector is doing fine.”
However difficult the task, the president may have little choice but to try to make voters feel better about the economy. Successful presidents have run for reelection on the strength of their records, as well as on the hope they offered for the future.
But successful presidents also have benefited from presenting voters a choice — between their stewardship and their rivals’. Obama’s defenders said that although the Greenberg data reflect voters’ frustrations with the economy, they are not a good gauge of Obama’s vision vs. that of GOP challenger Mitt Romney.
(...) “Now all the stories are about the flawed Obama team and strategy, which is ridiculous,” said Mark McKinnon, who was a top campaign strategist for George W. Bush. “They are not any more or less smart than they were four years ago. The dynamics are just different. This time, the wind is in their face instead of at their back.”
Still, some Democrats say that the campaign has lost its bearings at some turns recently. Some have suggested that the president’s team is flailing in its attacks against Romney.
(...) Running for reelection poses additional challenges for the political team that so successfully positioned Obama as an outsider and an agent of change in 2008.
For one thing, the candidate now has a day job and therefore cannot devote five or six days a week to the campaign trail as he did then. Indeed, Obama was slower off the mark even than his predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Where Bush held his first big reelection campaign rally in March 2004, Obama’s did not step out for his until last month.
And where Obama was the one who had superior financial resources in 2008, this year he is virtually certain to be outgunned by the combined forces of the Romney campaign and its allied super PACs.
(...) There is still the power of the presidency. But the bully pulpit is not what it once was, given that this is an era in which people get information from far more sources than they did in the past.
Obama’s advisers say his campaign has advantages that will be critical if the race remains close. While the Republicans were slugging it out in a long and bitter primary, the Obama campaign was building its ground operation in key states — to a degree that Democrats think Romney won’t be able to match.
miércoles, 13 de junio de 2012
Chicago empieza a generar dudas entre los demócratas
The Washington Post: