Bill Clinton’s New Role as Pres. Obama’s ‘Campaign Whisperer’
WASHINGTON – Politico nailed the headline in the most important political article of the day Monday, penned by Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin.
Team Obama has finally realized that talking about Mitt Romney as not having a “core” is a loser.
Anyone who has looked at his life, which I have, knows this is well off the mark. Romney has a deep, foundational core, which can be seen in his family life, his devout commitment to Mormonism, as well as the outreach he’s done through his church, which includes helping people.
However, there is nothing in the Mormon fundamentalist faith that is liberal or even centrist. It is a staunchly conservative doctrine with defined roles for men and women that are vastly outside of how the majority of Americans live. It’s also what allows Mitt Romney to embrace the Republican far right.
This reality is masked by whatever moves meant to get him where he wants to be, with Mitt Romney’s necessity to cater to the fringe right his most vulnerable point of weakness, because the American people are not moored on the right.
Of course former Pres. Bill Clinton would know the extremes are where Romney’s vulnerable, while also offering an opportunity to hit fringe right policies trumpeted by today’s Republican Party.
From Politico’s piece:
Barack Obama’s top advisers are making a mid-“core” correction in their attacks on Mitt Romney — with a little nudge from Bill Clinton, who is finding a niche as an Obama campaign whisperer and fundraiser.
Romney, senior advisers David Plouffe and David Axelrod intoned time and again, was a political shape-shifter who lacked any real moral or political “core.”
The slogan was the Obama talking point for months. But Clinton, echoing survey data presented by Obama’s own pollster Joel Benenson, quietly argued that the empty-core approach failed to capitalize on what they see as Romney’s greatest vulnerability: An embrace of a brand of tea party conservatism that turns off Hispanics, women and moderate independents.
Helene Cooper did a story in the New York Times on team Obama’s new strategy last week titled “In Strategy Shift, Obama Team Attacks Romney From the Left.” This is how it began:
So long, flip-flopper. Hello, right-wing extremist.
Followed by the fill-in”:
After months of depicting Mr. Romney as the ultimate squishy, double-talking, no-core soul, Team Obama is shifting gears. Senior administration officials, along with Democratic and campaign officials, all say their strategy now will be to tell the world that Mr. Romney has a core after all — and it’s deep red.
However, the Times missed former Pres. Clinton’s “campaign whisperer” role, which is the best characterization I’ve read to date on what’s been circling.
Bill Clinton’s role is critical, because there’s been no sense that Axelrod and Plouffe have gotten a clue how to run against Mitt Romney with a candidate that’s no longer about “change” and “hope” in anyone’s eyes. It begins with the lack of a campaign slogan. That there has been no mention of what Pres. Obama wants to do in his second term isn’t surprising, because if Pres. Obama came out and admitted he’s in on some form of entitlement grand bargain, his activist base would bail. It’s about defining his opponent as a choice people can’t afford to make, which is best made through Romney’s austerity penchant for the 99%, but not the 1%, with emphasis on his far right policy approach, not populism.
America’s had many wealthy presidents, but none wanted to balance the federal budget on the backs of people, which Mitt Romney telegraphs he would by embracing the Paul Ryan economic model.
“You can’t just keep changing these things around, they have to have more of consistent message or nobody will buy it,” Politico quotes veteran GOP consultant and the man who ran Jon Huntsman’s doomed campaign, John Weaver.
Considering that’s exactly what happened to Huntsman and Weaver, he learned the lesson the hard way.
Romney’s already Etch A Sketching his immigration stance, so Democrats need to get busy with their message. Mitt Romney wants to allow the government to force women to have unwanted medical procedures; he wants to tear Hispanic families apart; and double down on austerity, expecting the private sector to take over on multiple fronts, while drowning the government safety net in the oval office bathroom if he gets the chance.
Bill Clinton knows a deeply religious man like Mitt Romney, with a beautiful family, no scandal in sight, except the sin of being rich and not caring much how he did it, except to serve at the pleasure of shareholders, can’t be carved out as having no “core.” It also alienates the financial industry and big donors that the Big Dawg is now being tapped to reach, because Obama needs them to wake up.
Personal attacks also let a politician slip through the cracks on their policy extremism.
Pres. Obama wants a second term and former Pres. Bill Clinton beat Newt Gingrich at his own game, then beat back the right who tried to make a private consensual affair about something it wasn’t, utilizing what many have deemed unethical means through Kenneth Starr to do it, which was set up before Bill Clinton was in office by Chief Justice Rehnquist, something I talk about in the chapter of my book “Blaming Bill.” Yet, Bill Clinton survived to thrive.
The partnering of Barack Obama with Bill Clinton is long overdue and it could be something that will make a difference in the 8-12% of the electorate that will decide the presidency in November.
The rest will be about world events over which neither campaign or either big two parties have any control.
Taylor Marsh is the author of The Hillary Effect, which is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, where it was 1 of only 4 books in their NOOK Featured Authors Selection launch. Marsh is a veteran political analyst and commentator. She has written for The Hill, U.S. News & World Report, among others, and has been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her new media blog.