For the better part of this year, even though he lead in the polls, Barack Obama has not seemed a very confident candidate as did previous presidents running for reelection, particularly Bill Clinton in 1996 and Ronald Reagan in 1984. And he seems far less secure than did George W. Bush in 2004 to which campaign his current bid is often compared.
In many ways, as I have suggested in previous posts, the incumbent seems like W’s father, George H.W. Bush, an incumbent seeking a theme, a reason to justify his reelection in 1992. Incumbents often highlight their record — even W did that. Obama has seemed to highlight his opponent’s deficiencies — even making up deficiencies as the campaign rolls along.
Would be fascinating to see what percentage of the $120 million Obama spend this summer went to campaign ads attacking Romney (that amountmore than his prior opponent’s entire fall campaign budget). Of the Obama ads I have seen here in Los Angeles, none have touted his accomplishments, all have sabotaged the former Massachusetts governor.
In an insightful piece in the British Daily Mail, Toby Harnden compares the crowds Obama drew four years ago to those he draws today. Not only do fewer people show up, but
More significantly, the mood of the crowds is different. There is a sullenness, even resentment, that was not present in 2008. Ask an Obama supporter about their man and as often as not you will get a few words about him and then a demeaning attack on Romney or Ryan.
They are taking their cue from the candidate himself. Obama used not to mention Romney by name. In Las Vegas, he did so nine times.
And while he was careful to call him ‘Governor Romney’ and not stoop to the kind of attacks he has left to his campaign and its allies (such as accusing him of being a felon or linking him to the death of a woman from cancer), the contempt he has for his opponent was almost visceral.
(via Powerline picks.) The Democrat just doesn’t seem confident. He, like George H.W. Bush in 1992, seems in search of some notion to animate the campaign. But, unlike that decent Republican, the incumbent Democrat seems to harbor a deep and abiding contempt for his partisan adversary — and even for anyone who opposes his path to a second term (the rhetoric of hope and change notwithstanding).