Fred Barnes writes: President Obama is famous for proclaiming a “pivot” to a new issue—to the economy, to jobs, to Asia. By my count he has announced more than 20 pivots during his presidency, invariably to matters that bring political benefits and away from those that don’t.
The story of this year’s campaign in the dozen or so races that will decide who controls the Senate is uncomplicated. Republicans have a single talking point: Their Democratic opponents are partisan clones of Mr. Obama. Democrats often rely on one response: Pivot to an issue that has nothing to do with the president.
The pivot strategy has also been a major feature of Democratic campaigns that conclude with Tuesday’s midterm election. And it is understandable why Democrats have employed it. Redirection is the best response they could come up with to the Republican charge that they are closely tied to Mr. Obama and his policies.
“Watching Democrats struggle to escape Mr. Obama’s ideological grip was the most fascinating aspect of the campaign. They have tried everything from identifying with prominent Republicans to openly rejecting Mr. Obama.”
Democrats would rather not discuss their relationship with the president, much less dwell on it. He is unpopular and so are his major policies (ObamaCare, national security, the economy). So candidates pivot to another issue. We saw this strategy at work in Louisiana’s Senate race last week. Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu , trailing Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy in most polls, suddenly raised the explosive issues of racism and sexism. She insisted that racism makes Mr. Obama unpopular in Louisiana and sexism causes her re-election to be a struggle.
“Over the weekend, Mr. Obama was still trying to pivot, this time to make the campaign agenda more liberal.”
Pivoting can be a clever strategy—when it works. And no Democrat has been more effective at adopting it than Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Six months ago, she was viewed as vulnerable, even doomed. Not only had she voted for the president’s health-care law, but she had also declared publicly that North Carolinians could keep their current insurance policies and doctors. For a while, she hid from reporters to avoid talking about her vote. Read the rest of this entry »
Mystery Campaign Captures Attention of Undecided Low-Information Voters in Ambitious Bid for Global DominationPosted: October 29, 2014
— greg varner (@varnergreg) April 21, 2014
The Republican lawmaker, who also runs Haynes Street Pawn and Gun Shop in Talladega, has been parading around the giant firearm at local events to get the word out on his campaign, and signal his strong support for the Second Amendment…
…Thus far, the float has been well received and become a popular subject for photos…
And some sass from Gawker:
Are you from Talladega? Do you like guns? But I repeat myself. The point is: Your conservative state representative likes guns. A lot. He’s a big fan of big guns. With big barbecue smokers inside of them. Now, who are you voting for in November?
(funniest epithet so far–jackhole)
I expected “table-pounding atmospherics” from Biden but I didn’t expect him to act like a total jackhole for fully 90 minutes. Give him credit for knowing his target audience, though: His task tonight was to get the left excited again after Obama fell into a semi-coma in Denver, and evincing utter disdain for Ryan — grimacing, shouting, laughing inappropriately, and constant, constant interruptions, the total jackhole experience — is just what the doctor ordered. He might have irritated independents and undecideds, but probably not so much that it’ll change people’s votes. The Democrats needed someone to go out there and clown for liberals, and if there’s one thing this guy knows, it’s clowning.
Here’s a taste of what I mean via Mediaite, centered around one of Ryan’s more cutting lines of the evening. For what it’s worth, the media lost patience with Biden’s shtick too, but I doubt that’ll cost him anything tomorrow.
And yes, Raddatz was also terrible. Exit quotation from Greg Gutfeld: “Biden is the drunk at the bar; Martha is the unhappy bartender, and Ryan is the unfortunate salesman caught in the middle…”
More >> via Hot Air
“…the pundits and pollsters, who’s collective integrity could almost fill a shot glass…”
(watch ’till the end, for the concluding statement)
So if you’re politically attuned and on Twitter, you’ve probably seen these disturbing photos of Obama supporters pledging allegiance to the president of the United States. Supporters write on their hands some value or thought that is allegedly embodied by the Obama campaign. It’s the kind of thing that used to be very punk rock back when people used sharpies to adorn themselves with antiestablishment messages rather than suck up to the leader of the free world.
Here’s Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, performing into the act:
Now, in case you had any doubt, this is an officially astroturfed campaign tactic — not a spontaneous showing of support from Obama voters. So why are they doing this?
There’s a new book out that’s being talked about a lot in political circles, The Victory Lab: The Science of Winning campaigns by Sasha Issenberg. I’m in the process of reading it myself, and it’s very enjoyable and enlightening so far. The book is all about the “cutting edge persuasion experiments, innovative ways to mobilize voters, and statistical models predicting the behavior of every voter in the country.”
But the main reason I recommend reading The Victory Lab is because I believe voters should be forewarned about how campaigns are going to try and manipulate them. While some of these cutting-edge campaign techniques are benign, I find the grand experiments in behavioral manipulation insidious and just plain creepy. (In this respect, the reaction to the Messina photo may be more hurtful than helpful to the Obama campaign.)
And that’s exactly what this pledge to Obama nonsense is. The campaign is running a psychological experiment on its supporters to forge some sort of emotional commitment to the president, and to create an artificial sense of obligation to vote for him.
Peer pressure is also an exceedingly useful thing to force people to conform to a preordained conclusion, which is why the Obama campaign has an app that allows you to see which of your neighbors are Democrats. Nothing disturbing about that at all, no siree.
Of course, it’s not just Obama. Many high level campaigns in both parties are trying to employ behavioral psychology–in particular, they’re sending a lot of seemingly odd and manipulative messages via direct mail these days.
But the Obama campaign has been far more brazen about this than most, and aside from creeping me out, I find it actually disdainful of the autonomy and dignity that every American is supposed to feel when entering the voting booth. Democracy is important. It should not be viewed as an experiment in psychological manipulation, and it’s certainly not one that you as a voter should feel obligated to participate in.
The man needs coffee. Lots of coffee. Gallons of it.
Mitt Romney needs to temporarily suspend his Mormon custom of avoiding caffeine, and go on a binge, consuming quadruple shots of espresso every morning. Then chase it with six tall mugs of black coffee. Then, while on the road, tall paper cups of hot black coffee.
Imagine what that could do to improve his clarity, sharpen his focus, promote alertness, and awaken his aggression?
Do you think his opponents are caffeine-free? Think Axelrod neglects to start his day with mugs of morning coffee? Think David Plouffe misses his morning jolt? Think Obama says “no thank you” when coffee is offered? I don’t think so. Does he not realize that lacking healthy doses of caffeine, he’s at a critical campaign disadvantage? Is it any wonder his poll numbers aren’t double digits ahead of opponent?
Memo to Romney’s staff: order a couple hundred pounds of premium coffee, grind it, brew it up, pour a nice steaming mug, and wave it under his nose. Explain the benefits. Get him to accept it. And drink it. Then drink more of it. Wait 30 minutes. Then lead him to the stage, in front of an audience and TV cameras, and hand him the microphone.
Within two or three news cycles, it’ll be a whole new campaign.