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Slow Starts Do Not Mean Slow Finishes

May 25, 2012

I think it’s fair to say that strategists on all sides of the fence are scratching their heads at the slow start the Obama campaign appears to be having as it finally gears up against its Romney campaign opponent.  Hot Air notes that even the more mainstream bodies are starting to notice it.  Here’s Politico noticing the bumps.

Surely, all of this could prove to be ephemeral and meaningless in the arc of a long presidential contest. One Democratic consultant who often advises the campaign said that although Obama has spent a few weeks on the defensive, top Obama aides are unfazed.

These guys don’t panic, don’t turn into a circular firing squad, don’t doubt their strategy,” the consultant said.

But for now, it’s impossible to overlook the early struggles of a White House and political team notorious for discipline and effectiveness…

It’s fine to be confindent in your strategy.  In fact, the less-experienced strategist would probably make a mistake in starting to panic early and tweaking the strategy.  The Obama campaign has some sharp people working there, and I’d expect that they’ll stick to the existing plan and keep going at the essential rich-against-poor dynamic in order to pull in moderate voters.

Ed Morrissey notes:

That’s why the nod to Team Obama being a “political team notorious for discipline and effectiveness” appears to be one last fantasy to which the media may be bitterly clinging.  In 2008, all they needed to be was not the establishment, either in their own party or in general.  They are effective at raising money, or rather they were, but only in the context of being a cipher.  It’s easy to sell a product when no one knows what it is.  This team has had to sell a record that few would buy, and Team O knows it.  That is why their campaign has consisted of dodging ObamaCare, celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden, and throwing every distraction about Romney they can find to keep the media from talking about jobs and the economy.

I see his point, though I don’t necessarily think that their money-raising woes will continue.  To date, the campaign has been focused on getting dollars from high-end contributors, and I think they’ll open up the gates for low-level contributors as they amp up the rhetoric over the disparities in the economy.  I don’t think it’ll be an effective strategy, but I do believe they’ll continue to pursue that throughout the campaign.

Ed notes correctly that the campaign is going to have to explain the last four years of results.  I expect that, like any campaign, they’ll focus on the successes.  One thing that I don’t believe is off the table is health care.  The uncertainty of what will happen in the Supreme Court is probably keeping healthcare off the table for now, but I’d expect that after the decision the Obama campaign will take a stance and drive it hard.  If the court mostly upholds the law, then it’s the success of a new and exciting entitlement.  If it’s struck down, the focus will be on the “judicial activism” of the court and how it further divides America.

Either way, I don’t believe that the campaign is over by any means.  But I do believe we’ve already seen the skeleton of the campaign strategy from the Democrats, and I wonder how much more new we’ll actually see beyond that.

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