That’s the impression I got from the lead-in to Howard Fineman’s latest column. These are types of columns that get written via campaign leaks on a sinking ship (think backstabbers Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace in 2008):
Last spring a leading Democrat in the Hispanic community begged top officials in President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign to find at least one new, inspiring idea for the 2012 campaign. It didn’t have to be costly, this adviser said, just something to project optimism and a crusading sense of novelty into what, even at that time, was a nasty, essentially defensive campaign against Mitt Romney. Obama officials hinted — but didn’t quite promise — that they would unveil a new proposal at the Democratic convention in Charlotte. The convention came and went. Nothing.
Fineman, who for four years has been a complete “in-the-tank” Lefty for Obama proceeds to itemize all the reasons why Obama is faltering should he actually lose this election:
THE AXEMAN COMETH — Axelrod [is] an instinctive fighter with a former reporter’s penchant for eviscerating his foes. Beginning a year ago, the Obama campaign’s central, and negative, plan was to make Romney an unacceptable alternative. The Obama campaign and its allies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the effort, and have spent most of their time attacking Romney on everything from Bain Capital and his tax returns to Seamus the dog and the elevator in his splendid new garage. Arguably, the Obama campaign put Romney in a hole that took him months to climb out of, but climb out he has. His “favorables” are finally on the plus side and are approaching those of the president.
This is probably the most obvious planted storyline. Axelrod is a notorious jerk with many enemies within his own camp, notably Stephanie Cutter. Interesting to the claws come out with 3 weeks left. The internals must be horrible…
NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS — The Obama campaign, and the Obama presidency, haven’t done a consistent or convincing job of touting whatever good news there is — and there are increasing amounts of it — about the economy. Yes, the unemployment rate remains high; yes, the “right direction/wrong track” poll numbers remain negative (though not as negative as they once were); yes, millions of Americans remain underwater on their mortgages while big banks horde cash and pile up huge profits. But there is another side to the story, and the Obama campaign hasn’t sold it well, beyond talking, justifiably, about the success of the auto bailout. Consumer confidence is at its highest point in five years. The stock market has come back from the late Bush-era crash. Home starts and hiring are up. Venture capital groups are lending money again. If you don’t talk about the good stuff, no one else will.
By the way, Fineman probably knows better but the above litany of economic good news is illusory which is why Obama doesn’t tout it.
FAILURE TO PACKAGE A LEGISLATIVE ATTACK — The president does have a new proposal to sell: a job-creation package that sweeps together several ideas. He and fellow Democrats say that it would create at least a million new jobs. Obama mentions the package but hasn’t made it central to his campaign.
Again phony “jobs” bill that doesn’t create jobs.
CALLING IT “OBAMACARE” — In private polls for members of Congress, majorities of voters support the individual measures that comprise the landmark Affordable Care Act. But in most polls, the percentages drop when votes are asked if they support “Obamacare” — in one poll in a swing district, support dropped by 15 percentage points.
Vanity thy name is Obama…
FAILURE TO PHONE, PRETEND TO FRIENDS — Obama’s aloof (some would say condescending) attitude toward Democrats in Congress is legendary, though not in a way that is helping him now. Many, if not most, leading members of his party in Congress have never had a serious, lengthy conversation with him. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been lectured to more than wooed.
Be nice to the people on your way up because you’re going to be seeing those same people on your way down …