GEARING UP FOR US ELECTIONS
Recently, President Barack Obama, battling a low approval rating, launched his first of series of TV campaign ads to come before the Presidential Election on November 6, 2012, in six swing states-Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In this premier campaign ad, Obama touted his records, particularly his effective energy policies, stating that the US dependence on foreign oil is now below 50% and Clean Energy Industry has produced 2.7 million jobs. Well, there isn't much he can do in a 30-second campaign ad. It'll take much more than that to energize disenchanted electorate-an uphill task he faces in this election.
Nevertheless, to win in these swing states and be successful in his reelection bid, President Obama must not only run aggressive campaign ads there articulating his achievements in office, but must also be a habitu? of those states and other critical states such as Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Nevada crystallizing the future; what he will do in the next four years is pivotal. Fortunately, Obama is receiving succor in getting his message out from the unlikely people.
Appearing on 'Hardball' with Chris Matthews to discuss his Newsweek piece, Andrew Sullivan, a conservative columnist, reminded the audience about the impressive accomplishments of President Barack Obama by illuminating the following: 'Depression averted, auto industry saved, Iraq war ended, Bin Laden dead, Supreme Court appointees, Universal Health Care law.' He went on to say that 'Most of the leadership of al-Qaida are destroyed,' under Obama. After three years in office, Obama's tenure is with enormous accomplishments, but no one has been able to elucidate them better than Andrew Sullivan.
No matter how impressive Obama's accomplishments are, the Republicans are bent on making him a one-term president. To blunt any momentum Obama may enjoy from his records of achievements, the Republicans have from day one tried to make the President a persona non granta in the country through their racially-tinged utterances and unnecessary policy fights tethering Obama's policies to un-American phenomena. All the scurrilous and demented descriptions of President Obama and his policies are orchestrated attempts to emasculate the President for an easy defeat in November; an objective avowed by the Republican leadership. The Republicans in the Congress have consistently excoriated and obstructed the President's policies to the cheering of their base. Also, the Conservative commentators have derided the President at every turn.
Well, the Republicans are still campaigning to produce a putative nominee to face Obama. A candidate must garner at least 1,144 of 2,286 delegates to win the nomination. The last stop was in South Carolina, 25 delegates at stake, where they just concluded a bruising primary with Newt Gingrich's squeaker victory over Mitt Romney who was much of a frontrunner in the contest. According to Kantar Media Group/CMAG, it was estimated that over a whopping $12 million was spent on campaign in South Carolina.
This is as a result of the proliferation of Super PACs. Super Political Action Committees (Super PACs) receive unlimited amount of money from individuals, corporations, including unions to openly support candidates of their choice while running primarily attack ads against opposing candidates-thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in 2010. The Super PACs are not legally allowed to coordinate their activities with their candidates and they upped the ante with a carpet bombing of negative ads and dirty politics aimed at dislodging the targeted opponent. Feeling bloodied in South Carolina and losing his aura of inevitability, Romney scolded his opponent, Gingrich who attacked his records and experience mercilessly by deriding Romney's capitalism. Romney angrily alarmed, 'Those who pick up the weapons of the left today will find them turned against us tomorrow.'
The next stop is today, January 31, 2012 in Florida. Fifty delegates are up for grabs. Similarly, eight states will hold primaries/caucuses between February 4 and March 3 before the Super Tuesday on March 6 when10 states will hold their primaries or caucuses. And we may not have a Republican nominee until June, 2012. Until then, the Republican candidates will continue bash Obama in unison at the behest of the establishment as they sort out who will be their flag bearer. Whoever is the Republican nominee-Romney or Gingrich, the person will face a tough opponent, Obama. While Romney's economic argument is dulled by surfeit of his income and perceived unfair effective tax rate, the character issue will dog Newt Gingrich who has so far been giving red meat to his base-a base not large enough to ensure victory in the general election.
The big elephant in the scene is the economy. Though stagnant economy and a high unemployment rate may spell doom for Obama's reelection bid. However, he has started to change the narrative so that the electorates will make a choice between Obama and his Republican opponent based on sentiments aroused by the Occupy Movement psyche such as 99% vs. 1%, income inequality, and fairness, which has been highlighted by Romney's 13.9% effective tax rate, way below what most middleclass pay.
The Republicans will like to make the election a referendum on Obama, but the President and Democrats are working hard to make it a choice election. Therefore, attempting to renew the enthusiasm and galvanize the Democrats and dithering Independents who have been weary of him not appearing to be fighting hard for the middleclass, Obama has increased the rhetoric as he draws sharp contrasts between him and the Republicans-amplifying the choice and 'future' narrative which Obama further harped during his third State of the Union Address on January 24, 2012. The Excerpts:
'…A future where we're in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren't so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.'
'…No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What's at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them.'
'As long as I'm President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place. No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that's built to last - an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.'
'Let's never forget: Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that does the same. It's time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody.'