Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Romano’

USA | Medan allt fokus är på de republikanska presidentkandidaterna har Barack Obamas kampanjteam sakta men säkert finslipat sin strategi.

Oavsett dåliga opinionssiffror (ca 46 %), höga arbetslöshetssiffror (8,6 %) och en inte alltför imponerande ekonomisk utveckling är det sannolikt Obama som tar hem segern 2012.

Om han vinner kommer det att bero på att han – till skillnad från de republikanska kandidaterna – har en över hela landet vältrimmad organisation, välfylld kampanjkassa och ett stort teknologiskt försprång.

För Newsweek har Andrew Romano intervjuat bl.a. campaign manager Jim Messina och David Axelrod som är Obamas chief political strategist.

Without a primary war to wage, his staff has been able to dedicate the past 10 months exclusively to general-election preparations—a head start not only over 2008 (and previous incumbents) but over a bumper crop of clumsy Republicans who have been too distracted by 2011’s 13 televised debates to bother with old-fashioned chores such as fundraising or field organizing. “We now have people on the ground all across the country who’ve spent four years, five years in our system and know how to do this, who believe in this guy, and who are trained,” Messina told me. “That’s just a huge piece of business. [Mitt] Romney and [Newt] Gingrich don’t have operations on the ground in these states.”

Consider the numbers. In January 2004, George W. Bush’s aides bragged that they’d held a grand total of 52 training sessions around the country for precinct leaders. The Obama campaign, by comparison, held 57 … in a single December week … in a single state, Iowa. Right now, there are more than 200 paid staffers working in Chicago—double Bush’s head count at the beginning of 2004, and more than double Romney’s current total. (Bill Clinton employed only 40 people at this point; the first President Bush was still stuck in the single digits.) Messina has already hired an in-house design crew, an in-house gear team, and in-house tech developers, who are tinkering away on a top-secret application that will track every conversation that every single Obama volunteer has, every door they knock on, every action they take.


The plan for 2012, according to Axelrod, is to tout the president’s achievements while also recognizing that “people are less interested in a tote sheet of what has been accomplished” than in “how we, and alternatively how the other side, would approach the larger economic challenges” facing the middle class. Translation: voters should expect (1) more talk about the future than the painful recent past, and (2) a merciless populist assault on the Republican nominee’s alleged belief in “trickle-down social Darwinism”—an “every man for himself” ideology designed, according to Axelrod, to ensure that “whoever starts with the advantages will likely multiply them, while everybody else pedals faster and faster just to keep up.” Think No We Shouldn’t (elect a Republican) instead of Yes We Can. “You’re looking at a lot more competitive situation, and that’s what we’re preparing for,” Axelrod admits. “It’s going to be a very vigorous debate.”

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MITT ROMNEY har ett problem. Han har en tendens att stöta bort väljarna ju mer de lär känna honom.

Romney är den bland de republikanska presidentkandidaterna som har störst chans att besegra president Barack Obama.

Men innan han kan ta sig an Obama måste han först besegra – inte bara övriga republikanska utmanare – utan också delar av sin egen personlighet.

Andrew Romano, Newsweek, skriver om hur olika personlighetsdrag kan påverka både valrörelser och valresultat:

What is Mitt Romney? It is very hard to tell. Put him on a debate stage, and he can outshine the klieg lights.


And yet, away from the stage, and the lights, and the shrink-wrapped soundbites, where real human beings aren’t kept at a respectful distance, and résumés and factoids matter less, Romney isn’t quite as luminous.


If Romney loses the Republican nomination, the reasons won’t be mysterious: “Romneycare,” Mormonism, and the rise of a rival, Rick Perry, who is better at connecting with voters. (Perry’s Positive Intensity Score among Republicans is a league-leading 24, according to Gallup; Romney’s has fallen as low as 11.) By the same token, if Romney becomes president, it won’t be a surprise to see him succeed; his conscientiousness has already helped him oversee a successful state, a successful business, and a successful Olympics.

The only mystery now, the only surprise left, is Romney vs. Obama. Supporters say that Romney would be “more himself” in a general-election setting, where he’d no longer have to pander to the Republican fringe. But it’s possible, too, that being himself would be the problem. In America, voters tend to replace sitting presidents with polar-opposite personalities: Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama. But as Aubrey Immelman [an expert on the electoral effects of personality] points out, the rational, technocratic Obama “is one of the few presidential candidates since 1996 who can be labeled conscientious,” just like Romney. Faced with a choice between the conscientious devil they know and the conscientious devil they don’t, voters may not be as motivated to switch sides—especially when the incumbent scores higher on empathy, confidence, and comfort in his own skin.

Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget är från den amerikanska editionen.

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POLITIK: Samtidigt som det republikanska startfältet inför presidentvalet börjar se alltmer tunt ut växer Barack Obamas opinionssiffror.

Han attackeras både från höger och vänster. Desillusionerade demokrater på vänsterkanten tycker att han gör för lite och högern att han gör för mycket.

Men trots detta – eller kanske tack vare detta – verkar Obama ha funnit en strategi som  fungerar. Andrew Romano på Newsweek skriver:

[O]bama’s agreement with Republicans to slash $38 billion from the 2011 budget […] actually contained less than $25 billion in spending cuts, few of them to cherished Democratic programs. The same day, Public Policy Polling released a survey showing that independents, who backed Republicans 56 percent to 37 percent in 2010, now prefer Democrats 42 percent to 33 percent—a 28-point reversal.

Obama har lyckats placer sig i mitten av den amerikanska opinionen. Ingen dålig utgångspunkt för en president som vill bli omvald.

Hur lyckades Obama med detta?

When Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, the White House’s top priority was simple: getting legislation passed. To accomplish that goal, Obama followed two rules. The first was that he would largely allow the legislative process to run its course before stepping in. […] “Presidents getting involved can actually make things worse,” says [political scientist Frances] Lee.

The second rule was that when Obama did weigh in, he would support the best possible proposal instead of the best imaginable proposal. The White House slashed the stimulus from $1.2 trillion to $787 billion to preempt congressional objections.


Obama’s initial leadership strategy was tailored to a time when Republicans couldn’t torpedo his agenda. In policy terms, the approach paid off, helping him put more points on the board during his first two years—the stimulus package, health-care reform, financial reregulation, and so on—than any president since LBJ.


But now that the GOP controls the House, no laws can pass without Republican support, and no Republicans will support anything the president proposes because they’re afraid it will help him get reelected. This changes the contours of Obama’s pragmatism: in 2009 and 2010, he could champion progressive legislation; in 2011, he can only defend against the GOP’s most objectionable ideas—and position himself to win a second term.

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