Earlier this week, the president launched his 2012 campaign. A number of things struck me, first, how early this announcement comes and second, the debut ad, not just its vapidity, but the near absence of a certain word, indeed the defining word of Barack Obama’s successful 2008 bid for the White House:
Maybe I missed it, but I watched the ad a few times, but I only caught one of Democrat’s supporters using the word “change”. And this one, Katherine from Colorado, merely said, “I think it needs to reflect the changes that we’ve seen in the last two and a half years.” The only change she identifies is that the guy who was once an underdog candidate for the White House is now President of the United States.
Barack Obama may be absent from video, but it’s still about him as a personality and not about the principles he’s advocated and will continue to fight for.
No one else talked about the changes their guy wrought while in the White House nor did they identify any of the particular reforms the incumbent is fighting for. Contrast the vapidity of Obama’s approach with the tough choices Paul Ryan made in crafting the Republican budget. As Michael Barone puts it:
This is not an approach recommended by campaign consultants. Their conventional wisdom says that you never, ever recommend any changes in programs like Medicare.
Such advice has been heeded by the former community organizer now in the White House. “Hope and change” was a nice theme for an out-party candidate in 2008. But protecting the status quo and fear mongering seem to be the approach of the in-party candidate who on Sunday announced the beginning of his 2012 re-election campaign.
Seems that Paul Ryan is proposing a real change from the politics as usual while Obama plans to seek reelection as the candidate of the status quo.