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Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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No horsing around: Obama kicking Romney’s rear, Chicago-style

Posted by James McPherson on August 1, 2012


Barack Obama is showing a nasty side in his campaign for re-election, in a way he never did four years ago (despite tough talk and a Chicago political background). And no, I don’t know the message of the bat in the photo at the far left.

The tough approach–from the candidate who came across as “nicer” than Hillary Clinton or John McCain four years earlier–seems to be working in the states that matter most. The Republicans’ response? Whining.

I don’t like the ubiquitous negative campaigning, and I especially dislike negative campaigns combined with lying (something being done by both Obama and Mitt Romney, with a little help from Fox News). Sometimes such campaigning reflects desperation, sometime perhaps a desire to depress electoral turnout. But it would seem to work against the candidate who has no coherent message–a candidate like John McCain in 2008, for example, or like Mitt Romney in 2012.

The Obama campaign is taking advantage of the void that is Mitt Romney. “Don’t want to run on your record at Bain Capital, Mitt? Here, let us define that for you.” “Want to avoid coming up with an economic plan, while proposed an indefensible tax plan? Well, let’s talk about your own taxes then–what exactly are you trying to hide?” “Don’t want to talk about your time as governor? Let’s remind folks often that as governor you provided the model for Obamacare.” CNN’s “Gut Check” defines the Obama strategy as “campaigning 101: Define your opponent before he defines himself.”

And Romney is apparently unable to define himself, though he is finally trying. It doesn’t help when the candidate cluelessly wanders abroad, insulting your hosts and others while commending another country’s version of Romney/Obamacare. Or when the GOP’s best attack on Obama in 2008 (and 2010) and on John Kerry four years earlier, that they were out-of-touch elitest snobs, works even better against Romney. OK, GOP, Dems will take your windsurfing (not really an elitest sport, anyway) and raise you dressage.” Americans may dig “Dancing with the Stars,” but they’re not really into dancing horses, at leastnot since Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger died.

Romney’s only defense, the old standby of blaming the media just doesn’t work as well as it once did. Newsweek went too far with its “Wimp” cover, shown above, but the floundering magazine is struggling for survival as much as the Republican candidate is. The fact is, we don’t know Romney well enough to know if he’s a wimp. But what we do know, we don’t much like.

All in all, Romney’s chances of winning the presidency still appear only slightly better than Rafalca’s chances of winning Olympic gold. In platform diving.

13 Responses to “No horsing around: Obama kicking Romney’s rear, Chicago-style”

  1. Reuel said

    In the famous words of the 1992, You know the same time Newsweek call President Bush SR a wimp. “It the economy stupid” and of course the word “Stupid” is not to be intended for any reading this. Couple more Chicken Sandwiches and the right and Independents will have lots of energy to get to the polls.As you recall, I don’t care about non traditional marriages, but to Call this man’s out for exercising his right to freedom of speech and of all things say it did not meet “Chicago Values”. Mayor Rahm deliver a dead fish Emanuel you better get control of the murder rate if you want to talk about values. I have to go into Chicago once a week and work I uses to love to go downtown and just wander around after work. Now I just head for the exit. I will be nice and call Him President Obama, got out right before all his crones went to jail and he was left untouched. Why he was playing in the same game as Blogo, Tony Resco and both of the other x-governor that went to jail. You want to talk about Bain, OK I want to talk about why everyone that helped him went to jail and it nothing stuck to him. This is no Birth Certificate, School papers, this is Chicago Politics and there is no way he is clean. Be very weary of polls, they had Wagner in Wisconsin at to close to call in the re-call by the whining minority party and way to much union money spent, that is effecting the bank account of the Democrats across the board for this year. Do you know why he is going to win Illinois? The majority left are on some government assistance. That said; yes Romney is not any better yet, I hope he lets lose all they want to see and take that off the table, because they sure can’t run on the “Economy or there record”.

  2. James McPherson said

    Yes, I remember Newsweek calling Bush a wimp, and how that turned out.

    “this is Chicago Politics and there is no way he is clean”

    Could be. I suspect the same about both Obama and Romney. And as I wrote elsewhere, I agree with you on the Chick-fil-a thing–which turned out to be a good thing for the chain, it appears.

  3. I did not know that you had written another post…..glad I decided to come and stalk you. I say, James; do you not think that by keeping his pie hole shut, he will foil them in the debates? It seemed to work to his advantage in the Rep. debates….

  4. James McPherson said

    Romney had four advantages in the GOP primary debates that he won’t have against Obama, I think. First, there were lots of other folks taking shots at each other, so he didn’t have to slam anyone. Second, some of those candidates were idiots, who drew most of the heat and attention Third, with so many folks on stage, he didn’t have to talk much. Fourth, he could run hard to the left and not worry about offending the moderates he’ll need to win a general election.

    Those are off the top of my head, so I’ll think more about it. Maybe it will even prompt another post. Thanks.

  5. Perhaps it is strategy. Or would that be satagee? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1dy44jV8EM (If you go to 2:40 seconds maybe you can tell me what a satagee is.)

    Romney was not my choice. I wanted Ron Paul. That said, I feel that America will be in for a hello of lot of more trouble with el presidente and his tsars for another four years than Romney. Then again, with el presidente it could be longer than four…..

  6. Reuel said

    Kellsbells, Agreed, we do not need four more years of trying to grow the economy from the government out. I know I changed his words, he says it is from the middle out, bottom to top or something like that. The celebration last week for the jobs numbers and still the Unemployment numbers went up tells us many things. Now were they created or saved jobs they are counting? Still don’t understand that one. My guess is they are still counting “Saved Jobs”. If Obama does win, I will bet he won’t do another speech in the Middle East about reset, the security for that visit would be quite costly. He also did do a reset as he promised with Russia, it is a reset back to prior to the Cuban Missile Times of Kennedy. Finally considering his love of Executive orders and Departmental Regulations changes and avoiding congressional over site, he would be unleashed to make “Changes” that may not be in the best interests of this country. No Romney isn’t my first or last choice, he is my second to last choice. “Forward” To where exactly is he leading us? We know that answer

  7. Reuel said

    I remembered a article I read last year and it was one of those things I read as if that explains my thoughts of President Obama exactly. Considering we are now getting to see Romney’s grades being leaked, well at least his selective bad ones. I recalled this article and found it. Is President Obama the smartest man ever to be President? We don’t know, but the Left Stream Media tells us he is. It always amazes me that leaks of educational history seem to be selective.



  8. James McPherson said

    Good piece on Obama, Reuel. I don’t happen to think that either Obama or Romney is all that smart. Hillary is smarter than either one.

  9. Reuel said

    Thanks, Agreed Hillary is smarter, I just don’t understand why she fell for the usual tactic that has got President Obama to where he is, look at his history of how he won the positions he had. Pretty much the same as this current season. Control of the conversation by dropping unsupported dirt at the others and never really discusses the major issues. I know it done by both sides, but this guy is the master of this. Harry Reed is a fine example, unless some career IRS agent has broke the law and released something that they shouldn’t have. That is why he can’t say where I heard that Romney hasn’t paid taxes for 10 years. If that were true it would be kind of like the “Watergate” that really was only about election politics until the lying started. Its is not the act that brings most elected officials down, it the cover up. No neither are as smart as they assume they are, they both just understand that most voters fall for the message instead of the content of the issue. Someone here ask if I was still angry about the Hillary thing “Still”. No not angry, disappointed that of all that were running that year from both sides, she was the one was the best of the worst as we always have to choose from.

  10. James McPherson said

    Hillary and Bill screwed up by thinking they could focus on a few key states, rather than Obama’s 50-state strategy. The Clintons are smart, but they fell into the trap of thinking that some states don’t matter in presidential politics–something more true for general elections than for primaries.

    As for Reid, he wouldn’t have to have heard it from an IRS agent–it could have been from Romney’s accountant or even a secretary with access to the paperwork. But you’re right–it’s yet another distraction from the things that should be costing Obama the election.

  11. Silly boys. It is because Hillary is a girl!

  12. […] dishonest John McCain-style desperation, and despite the fact that I’ve been predicting an Obama victory for some time, I do recognize that there is time for the electoral picture to change. Perhaps the […]

  13. […] than expected, however, I have strong doubts about the chances of a Romney victory. In fact, as I’ve been doing consistently since last spring, I predict an Obama win with at least 290 electoral votes (270 are […]

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