Tuesday, August 09, 2011


I can't seem to arrive at a coherent set of thoughts about "Obama Plan: Destroy Romney," Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin much-talked-about Politico story, so here are a few disconnected reactions.

First, I confess to being partly pleased somebody in the Democratic Party wants to try a bit of turnabout-is-fair-play on the Republicans -- I wish it were people in charge of getting bills through Congress rather than campaign staff, but I'll take what I can get. Smith and Martin think this is supposed to send me to the fainting couch, and I gather it actually has sent some lefties there, but to a great extent it just seems like just deserts for Republicans:

And so the candidate who ran on "hope" in 2008 has little choice four years later but to run a slashing, personal campaign aimed at disqualifying his likeliest opponent....

In a move that will make some Democrats shudder, Obama's high command has even studied former President George W. Bush’s 2004 takedown of Sen. John Kerry, a senior campaign adviser told POLITICO, for clues on how a president with middling approval ratings can defeat a challenger....

Obama's reelection campaign will portray the public Romney as inauthentic, unprincipled and, in a word used repeatedly by Obama’s advisers in about a dozen interviews, "weird." ...

"Presidential campaigns are like MRIs of the soul," said [David] Axelrod. "When he makes jokes about being unemployed or a waitress pinching him on the butt, it does snap your head back, and you say, 'What's he talking about?'"

"It's not just a matter of dodging the debate, not just a matter of flip-flopping and putting his finger to the wind -- it is that he’s not comfortable in his own skin, and that gives people a sense of unease," added a Democratic consultant expected to be involved in the reelection campaign.

After Dukakis, after Gore, after Kerry, part of me would very much enjoy seeing the Republican be the one who's banished from the cool table in the junior-high cafeteria that is our infantile political system. If we can't run our politics like grown-ups, at least let the immaturity work in our favor for once.

But I'm not sure it'll work -- Republicans and many in the Beltway elite think of Obama as weird. He's not universally seen as the Cool Guy anymore -- not by a long shot. There's an allusion in the article to Romney's switch to "skinny jeans" -- but Obama has been mocked for his choice of jeans on more than one occasion.

Smith and Martin speculate that "weird" is, or could become, a euphemism for "Mormon." Jane Hamsher, I see, is playing judge and jury and has already convicted Obama on this charge. I see nothing in the Politico article that says that that's where the campaign is going -- but, as John Cole says, in anticipation of Village reaction,

...the fact that none of Obama's advisers mentioned religion is ALL THE PROOF YOU NEED THAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT RELIGION.

I fully expect by the end of the week to hear Halperin and the other bobbleheads decrying this outrageous attack on Romney's religion.

The rest of what's discussed in the Politico piece seems like exactly how a Romney candidacy should be approached -- a lot of talk about his ideological flip-flops, a lot of talk about the job-killing in his business career. I'd still prefer an attack on him as a Republican, and thus a representative of the party that's clearly destroying America, but I guess we're not ready for that, or at least the Obama campaign isn't.

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