This essay was originally published at American Thinker.
The great puzzle of President Obama’s re-election campaign is why previously successful political pros are creating so many ineffective initiatives that blow up in their faces like exploding cigars.
Take, for example, the Obama campaign’s insistence that they can sell the narrative that Republicans in general, and of course Mitt Romney in particular, are waging a “War on Women.” How many different ways can they try and fail? They’ve used Hillary Rosen as a stalking horse, a cartoon named “Julia,” and on and on and on. Most normal people (and I am including Team Obama among the “normal” simply for the sake of argument) would try something once. If it fails, then they might assume that whatever they were trying needs a bit of tweak, and they’ll try again. If the second try also crashes and burns, they might do it one more time, but only after some radical changes are made to the original plan. After the third disaster, almost everyone would conclude that there is a flaw in the basic assumption or in the plan, or even both.
Not those geniuses who are running the Obama and Company effort to get the man re-elected. They just keep trying the same tired old theme again, and again, and again.
There’s an old saw about insanity being illustrated by someone trying the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. I disagree with those who assume that Obama and Company are simply insane. Are they hard to relate to for anyone on the right, and equally so for anyone on the left who finds himself within shouting distance of the center? No question about that. But insane? No.
They seem to be following in the footsteps of many great, well-trained military officers of the past, though.
The military has often been criticized for being unprepared for some action of the enemy that surprises it. That is not, however, a lack of preparation. Great generals have often been completely and intelligently prepared…for the last war. For the next war? Maybe not so much.
Obama and his campaign advisors seem to falling into that same trap. They are exhibiting and executing the skillful attacks of the last campaign that they found to be successful. And since L-P-Ds almost invariably view themselves as the smartest guys in the room, any changes from the original plan have to be resisted at all costs, since an admission that their plan isn’t working is a simultaneous admission of their own fallibility. And that simply is not an acceptable alternative for any L-P-D, but most especially Barack Obama.
What has come as a rude shock to Obama and his supporters is that Mitt Romney is not a carbon copy of John McCain. I’m not speaking of differences in governing philosophy, or specific policy prescriptions, but rather the diffidence that McCain exhibited and the kid glove treatment he gave Obama in 2008. Part of that was McCain’s sense of what he viewed as being honorable. Part of it was, reasonably, a justifiable concern that he might be accused of racism. And while maintaining a sense of honor is admirable, it ultimately led to Obama and his policies for the past 3-1/2 years. Most of those on the right don’t believe that was a worthwhile trade-off.
Mitt Romney has two things that should help him in this election.
First, he can learn from John McCain’s error concerning the definition of honorable combat. He can acknowledge it, evaluate the result, and then learn something even more useful from his opponent. After all, it was Obama who said, “If they bring a knife, you bring a gun.”
In a similar vein, he can watch the movie Patton, which starred George C. Scott. As portrayed in the film, when George Patton took over U.S. forces in North Africa, he planned a tank battle against Rommel’s Afrikakorps and decimated them after reading Rommel’s book on tank warfare. As he viewed his troops overwhelming the German Panzers, Patton, in praising Rommel, is quoted as saying, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!” Mitt Romney has the book on Obama, Plouffe, and Axelrod. He can use the book on them in the same way Patton used Rommel’s — to beat Obama using his own tactics.
As for any fear of charges of racism, the only people now who think of Barack Obama as “black” are those who have a vested interest in making sure that racism remains a viable moneymaking industry. Almost everyone else now tends to be race-neutral. Have you heard anyone refer to our current president in a racial way recently? I could be wrong, but when I looked up “socialist,” “failure,” “ideologue,” “narcissist,” and “phony,” not one definition had a racial component.
So Romney can attack Obama on many fronts, and while the racial grievance industry will cast a lot of mud, very little (if any) will stick.
Another strategic error that the Obama campaign is making is its refusal to even mention the great “accomplishments” at the start of the Obama administration: the stimulus and ObamaCare. It’s almost as if they think that if they don’t mention it, they will never be attacked on it.
There is only one word to describe such an assumption: Oops!
This is where Obama’s “book” (as well as the earlier Clinton edition) shows the way. Always attack where your opponent is weakest and vulnerable.
Obama’s biggest weakness is his economic policies (or lack of any coherent economic policies at all, if you prefer). With actual unemployment (which includes those looking for work, those under-employed, and those who have given up looking) running near 14%, it’s hard to see how Obama can possibly dodge the issue.
He has done nothing to ameliorate the rise in gas prices, and his policies have increased our dependence on foreign oil.
He has justified every one of his energy policies by claiming that global warming or climate change is a clear and present danger. Unsurprisingly, there has been no scientific evidence of global warming to support this supposed threat.
He has waffled on defense issues.
He has insulted allies and comforted our self-avowed enemies.
He has shown disdain for our Constitution. He has even tried to subvert the constitutions of other constitutional republics, as when he tried to subvert the adherence to constitutional law in Honduras.
I can only imagine that Mitt Romney and his staff are saying to themselves, “So many targets, so little time.” But I hope he picks one or two, and then hammers and hammers and hammers on Obama, from multiple directions and sources, until the thin skin of our narcissist-in-chief is rubbed so raw that he starts making unforced errors — and then realizes on the morning of November 7 that he has to remember to have Valerie Jarrett call the movers for him.