President Obama is aggressively targeting his political base in a way that resembles the kind of politics he spoke out against in the 2004 Democratic National Convention speech that launched his career, a New York Times columnist argues.
Thomas Edsall, a longtime political writer who was once the political editor of the Huffington Post, writes that the president’s 2012 approach is hard to rectify with his 2004 speech, in which Obama said, “there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and a white America and a Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.”
“Faced with a tough re-election fight, President Obama, has in fundamental respects, adopted the strategy he denounced eight years ago,” Edsall writes. “One track of his re-election drive seeks to boost turnout among core liberal groups; the other aims to suppress turnout and minimize his margin of defeat in the most hostile segment of the electorate, whites without college degrees.”
Edsall argues that Obama is targeting blacks, Latinos and young people, his core base groups, with specific, targeted appeals. And he says that the president’s aggressive ads highlighting Romney’s wealth and taxes are designed to turn off white men without college degrees, who might otherwise favor the ex-governor.
Edsall, noting Obama’s extremely low-poll numbers among this group, argues these ads are not meant to get them to back the president, but effectively attempts to make sure these voters don’t show up to the polls at all.
“Persuading more than 28 percent of them to vote for Obama is a tough sell, but the Obama campaign can try to make the alternative, voting for Romney, equally unacceptable,” Edsall writes. “Conflicted voters, especially those holding negative views of both candidates, are likely to skip voting altogether.”