Op-eds and Articles

POLITICO: Foolproof victory plan for President Obama

By / 10.29.2012

Will Marshall explains how Obama should speak to America’s pragmatic political center in his closing argument in Politico:

The last time Barack Obama sought my political advice was, let’s see, when was it … oh yeah – never. That’s a shame, because like every D.C. pundit who never won more than a high school election, I’m sure I know exactly what he needs to do to win a second term.

So Mr. President, here it is: my foolproof if unsolicited plan for eking out a victory next month over hard-charging Mitt Romney. Its goal is to enable you to seize America’s pragmatic political center, and it has four parts:

First, stop belittling Romney on the stump. Certainly you should draw sharp contrasts with your opponent on political philosophy and policy, but it’s best to leave highly personal attacks to surrogates, campaign flacks and negative ads. There’s nothing wrong in pointing out Romney’s willingness to jettison issue positions when they no longer serve his purpose. But resorting to ridicule (“Romnesia”) or parroting the kind of contrived, focused-grouped attack lines beloved by political consultants (“wrong and reckless”), makes you sound less presidential and more narrowly partisan. Sure, adoring crowds eat this stuff up, but you’ve already got them in your pocket.

From now to Election Day, you need to speak over their heads to your real target audience — the independents, moderates and weak partisans in eight or nine swing states who will decide this election. Ignore liberals who claim that by bashing Romney you’ll excite the base and spark a big turnout. Persuasion is the name of the game now, and the voters still in play are defined by their aversion to partisan stridency.

Read the entire piece at Politico.