1. Super PACs can run adds that say ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING without any form of recourse and they will reap the benefits of the negative (or positive) impressions created.
When I say anything, I mean anything. In Wisconsin they ran adds saying:
- Wisconsin had created +30K jobs since Walker took office, and
- Wisconsin has erased its deficit.
Both complete lies. They were a state ranking at the bottom in job creation and their deficit was erased by taking out a loan. Dis that it matter? Not at all.
In fact, it the Super PACs could have run adds saying that Wisconsin had the highest job creation in the nation and that they had created +500K in the past year. Fox News would have given it some coverage – and presto! It becomes fact. There would have absolutely no consequences for doing this and they would have reaped all the rewards. The truth is absolutely and completely irrelevant.
The Right and the Super PACs have read this message loud and clear and this is exactly what they plan on doing in the fall for all elections – local, state and federal. In fact, they probably have too much money. Who needs a billion dollars when a couple well placed ads based on lies can poison the well.
Obama’s negatives are going to skyrocket in the coming months. Why? Because people are going to hear that:
- Obama is guilty of raising taxes – Reality: Taxes are lower now than when Bush was in office.
- Obamacare is a government take over of Healthcare – Private Insurers reep the benefit of this legislation, not the government.
- Obama has exploded the debt - Out debt is due to the huge fiscal time bombs of the Bush Era (2 wars, huge tax cut, unfunded medicare prescription benefits) and their regulatory incompetence created the largest financial crash since the depression.
And the list goes on. The point is, Obama’s actual record is irrelevant - completely irrelevant.
2. Obama’s Reelection Team has no answer for this – None what-so-ever.
The Obama election team is operating in the reality where clever little strategic moves and ‘being right on the issues’ is going to be enough to carry the day. If it were 1980, perhaps this would be true. In 2012, this is the absolute worse case scenario for Obama and the Democrats.
But ‘the Obama campaign beat Hillary Clinton in 2008′ you might say. Well, yes, but the rules were completely different. The Hillary campaign wasn’t resorting a ‘Campaign of Lies’. This was much more of a traditional campaign.
But ‘the Obama campaign beat John McCain in 2008′ you might say. My response – after Bush, Mickey Mouse could have beat John McCain. Sarah Palin was also the gift that kept on giving. The more she spoke, the more her obvious ignorance and lack of curiosity shone through. Another important point in this election was that while McCain did get sleazy and resort to many lies, he did resist the temptation to totally jump in bed with the dark side. If fact, if he had, he would had a much better chance of defeating Obama.
What Does Obama Need to Do?
Dump David Axelrod
Dump David Axelrod and bring in somebody that has a better grasp of reality. Not a single one of Axelrod’s ‘we are right on the facts’ campaigns has worked in the past three years – not a one of them. He has lost the communications war for all of Obama’s major accomplishments:
- Obama has obliterated Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden but he has gotten little if no praise for this. (He is another Democrat that is weak on Foreign Policy - apologizes to the world)
- The Republicans have put forth a Budget that turns Medicare (a 3rd rail in Politics) into a voucher program. (Obamacare is a huge government takeover of healthcare that is going to gut Medicare)
- Obamacare, if presented issue by issue get overwhelming support. (The majority of Americans oppose Obamacare but they cannot tell you why – something about a government takeover of healthcare.)
- Obama has guided our economy through the most challenging time since the Great Depression. (Obama has exploded the debt, increased regulations, put people on food-stamps and raised taxes)
Axelrod has proven himself incapable of creating a message that people can understand and remember (even though Obama took popular measures) and he has no response to right-wing media like FOX NEWS. Fox News doesn’t even acknowledge any of his clever rebuttals. In their universe he doesn’t exist.
Let define Romney’s time at Bain, lets make an impression about his time as govoner….etc. Who cares? These grand strategic efforts stayed in the news cycle for how many days? To what effect? Who will remember them in November? If this is the strategy going forward, Obama’s approval rating will be in the 20s by election day.
Choose One of the Two Following Options:
Option One: Go Low – Get Dirty
This approach will probably not be taken, given the higher moral compass of Obama, but it would be effective. Make stuff up – put out an add – make more stuff up – put out another add. Label Romney as a secret polygamist - claim he embezzled money from Bain – claim his actions at Bain directly led to someones death - go completely into the gutter.
Sound appalling? That is because it is – but these types of lies are ones you going to see coming from the right about Obama. Let those evangelicals know exactly what Mormonism is and what they believe. If they decide not to vote for someone that is a member of what they consider to be a cult – let them vote that way. In fact, make up something completely untrue and horrible about Mormonism – in a world where the truth is irrelevant, what does it matter? If Obama was born in Kenya why can’t Mormons believe in child sacrifice? Ride those negatives - disregard the truth – beat the GOP at their own game.
Option Two: Completely Discredit Super PAC Advertising
This is a much better option and if anyone besides Axelrod was in control of the strategic vision of the Obama campaign, I would have expected to already see it.
Label and drill into peoples mind ANY ADVERTISEMENT MADE BY A SUPER PAC IS A LIE WITH AN AGENDA. Don’t waste time trying to combat lies one-by-one – blanket them all in one huge message. If it is a message from a Super PAC, it is a lie – full stop. Let people know that Super PACs are not accountable. Let people know that Super PACs can say anything - absolutely anything in ads. Let people know that anything they here in a Super PAC ad will be deceptive and is only there to promote the ‘secret agenda of secret donors’. Neuter their most effective tool – freeze it in its tracks.
The intended effect – when voters hear a political add, regardless of the message, they think to themselves ‘I wonder who is behind that message’, ‘I wonder if that information is true’, ‘I wonder what they stand to gain by giving me this message’. The seed of doubt needs to be so huge that even 2 billion dollars wouldn’t make any difference.
The greatest things about this approach:
- it is not in the gutter,
- it would reach all elections, national, state and local,
- its true,
- and it could effectively neutralize a 1 billion dollar smear campaign. In fact, if done well, it will raise the negatives of to groups running the ads.