USA | Alla politiker har sina svaga punkter. Och även med bra kampanjstrateger är det svårt att helt dölja detta i en lång och utdragen valrörelse.
Ekonomitidskriften Fortune har fokuserat på Barack Obamas och Mitt Romneys ekonomiska budskap och hur man tänker lösa landets problem.
Tony Newmyer skriver om Barack Obama och hans planer inför nästa mandatperiod och hur dessa planer har påverkat valkampanjen så här långt.
Reflecting on his first term in an interview with CBS last month, Obama said he had made a mistake. He had thought, he said, ”that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.” It’s odd that such a masterful storyteller forgot to tell a story. Bogged down in legislative wrangling, he frequently neglected his most powerful tool: his ability to go over the heads of the fractious Beltway crowd and take his case directly to the American people. He had run on a pledge to end an era of crippling partisanship, and he had won the White House with a huge army of volunteers. The care and feeding of that ground force shifted to the Democratic National Committee once Obama took office, but the party never quite figured out how to translate the popular energy that inspired his campaign into an instrument to advance his legislative agenda.
It’s an error Obama is determined not to repeat if he wins a second term. To that end, his team is prepping a major post-election mobilization to preserve the campaign’s momentum and keep the heat on Congress during the budget talks. The plan is to retain about 150 of the campaign’s sharpest operatives on payroll, deployed across the country to organize grass-roots support behind the President’s agenda, people briefed on the plan say. ”Whether you’re organizing people to vote or organizing people to try to encourage their representative to support or oppose something, it’s the same thing,” says one, who wasn’t authorized to discuss internal deliberations on the record.
And Obama appears poised to match that tactical gambit with a new toughness at the negotiating table.
When you observe the race, it’s difficult not to notice the gap between the specificity with which Obama’s economic team in the White House is thinking through second-term scenarios and the vague treatment the next four years are getting on the trail. ”I have to believe, and this surprises me, that the Obama team has concluded their economic narrative is not strong enough to sustain their campaign,” says Bill Galston, who was a senior adviser to President Clinton. Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a former adviser to Obama, warns, ”It matters what he campaigns on, because you can’t claim a mandate for doing things unless you talk about them in the election.”
I samma nummer skriver David Whitford och Doris Burke om bl.a. Mitt Romneys otydlighet när det gäller hans planer vid en eventuell valseger.
Romney’s critics complain that he’s not saying enough. That he’s long on grand gestures — rein in the federal government, unshackle the private sector, restore America’s greatness — but short on specifics. The critics are not wrong. Romney says, for instance, that he favors lowering tax rates but preserving current tax revenue. He says he can achieve that by ”broadening the tax base” — Washington-speak for closing loopholes and fiddling with deductions. But closing what and fiddling how?
A bipartisan research team at the Tax Policy Center (TPC) in Washington ran the numbers and concluded that ”any revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Gov. Romney has proposed would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.” Some voters will think that’s great — just not the voters Romney still needs.
Assuming Romney really does have a plan to pull off this feat of fiscal wizardry, he’s keeping the details to himself.
That’s basically been the Romney campaign strategy: the less said the better. It makes obvious political sense, and not just because the candidate, as we’ve seen repeatedly, doesn’t do himself any favors when he goes off script. The economy is weak, unemployment is high, consumer confidence is low, and an alarming (for President Obama) nearly two-thirds of the electorate is dissatisfied with the direction the country is going. Maybe all Romney has to do to beat Obama is not be Obama.
I gathered as much during a Romney bus tour in June that wound through half a dozen Northern battleground states. Along the way I did meet some hard-core Romney backers, but they were the exceptions. At a rally in Troy, Ohio, Zelda Hockaday, 75, a retired lab technician and former Newt Gingrich supporter, told me, ”I’m not sure yet,” when I asked her why she was supporting Romney. ”That’s what I came to find out. The main thing is, he’s opposing Obama.”
Läs mer: I samma nummer kan man även läsa ”Hey, Washington: Enough Already”. Artikeln är tidskriftens förslag på hur man skulle kunna lösa problemen i ekonomin. På nätet finns också den fullständiga intervjun med Mitt Romney.
Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Fortune den 3 september 2012.