I have long had a theory about Barack Obama’s reelection strategy, a theory that I may only be able to confirm when his campaign staff spills the story to the news media after the election.
The theory is this, that, with a barrage of negative ads all summer, Obama and his team had hoped to build Romney’s negatives such that the Republican presidential nominee became an unacceptable alternative, then after the conventions, with Obama comfortably ahead in the polls, he would pivot back to a kind of updated hope and change theme, forward to a new and better America!
Even before the debates, however, while maintaining a lead in the national polls, Mr. Obama never succeeded in “disqualifying” Romney, then the debates, particularly the first, totally upended their campaign calculus. As a result, instead of pivoting to an upbeat message, the Democrats have remained on the attack, burning to bayonet his binders with Big Birds.
And the attacks continue. His closing ads play to our fears, not our hopes. His agenda is little more than a rehashed version of his past policies, most of which have failed, few of which enjoy much popular support.
Yesterday, Politico reported that in the campaign’s home stretch, “several of the Democrats’ top independent spenders are leaning hard into the Bain message, eschewing a pure policy message for a gut-punch reminder that the former Massachusetts governor made his fortune through controversial deals in the private-equity industry.”
Excerpting the Politico piece, Ed Morrissey finds it significant
. . . that these groups can’t make an argument for the incumbent. In the final week, voters usually want a positive argument about why they should vote for a candidate, or at least contrast ads based on policies and records. Democrats simply don’t have those arguments to make.
Bold added (italics in original). Most national polls show Obama either significantly or slightly behind Mitt Romney, particularly among independent voters. Will a negative pitch, at this stage, sway any of those remaining undecideds?