Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Bets

The Obama campaign is betting heavily that they can define Romney now in a way that essentially disqualifies him in the minds of enough voters in the swing states to make the difference.  They've outspent the Romney campaign 2 to 1 so far trying to do this, and there is evidence that they are getting voter attention.  They are counting on voters who want to make up their minds now, and ignore the rest of an increasingly exhausting media campaign.   So far however the polls don't show Obama gaining advantage, although in truth the polls are all over the place--except the ones that are very close either way.

The Romney campaign is betting that as unemployment continues to be high, month after month, voters will be receptive to his negative ads, which distort the President's words shamelessly, but which could sew enough doubt or disgust to engender an "anybody but Obama" vote.  They are piling up money to do huge media after the Democratic convention.  They are betting on low information voters who make up their mind when they absolutely have to, close to election day.

I have to believe there is a second component to the Obama campaign, a positive one, with real action from the White House and an exciting vision for the second term.  It may not be enough to define Romney as the wrong solution (which of course he is, to a devastating extent) or to continue a general theme campaign.  Confronting the realities of this summer would also be helpful.  Let's hear Romney deny global heating.  But the Obama campaign, and President Obama himself, need to add something new.

The question for the Obama campaign will be whether there will be any air time left to buy, let alone money to buy it.  They need a strong convention and strong debates.   It's not clear that Romney has a second act to his campaign.  He's betting that he doesn't have to release his tax returns or state actual positions or make actual proposals on issues--he's betting on the power of millionaires to lie him into the White House.

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