Posted by: mutantpoodle | August 10, 2012

The Narrative

I’ve talked before about the value of a simple story in a Presidential campaign, and Mitt Romney’s challenges in that area:

Romney’s [story] is supposed to be that, as a massively successful businessman, he knows how to get America moving again. He’s a little hampered beyond that because his signature achievement of governance is what, on a national level, he now condemns with every fiber of his invertebrate body. Which is why he talked a lot about Bain during the primaries. (And why it’s more than silly for his campaign to suggest that Bain is off-limits.  Not to mention that is sounds, well, weak.)

The Priorities USA ad above is diabolical, because it tells a story that is all too common. Man loses job and insurance, wife loses job and insurance, wife doesn’t see doctor when she’s not feeling well, and by the time she does, it’s too late, and she dies within a month. It is a story that is familiar, in part or in sum, to lots of people Mitt Romney doesn’t know. More damning, of course, is that the central claim: that Romney is unconcerned with the fallout from the “creative destruction” Bain unleashed on many of its targets, is easily believable. Successful attack ads should pick at a place of gnawing uncertainty.  So: mission accomplished.

But then Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul mentioned that had Joe Soptic been in Massachusetts, his wife might have lived because of Romneycare.

Of course, Saul forgot that Romney’s embrace of his own health care plan is, er, complicated.  Or, more specifically, he doesn’t like to remind people that he’s the one who gave the black guy the blueprint for Obamacare.

So the right is up in arms, calling for Saul’s head, and wondering how trustworthy Romney really is. (Do you have to ask?) From TPM:

Romney is in serious trouble because Obama co-opted his signature achievement, which made it radioactive to the right, and Obama is hammering away at his Bain experience, making it radioactive to almost everyone else. And while we’re in the middle of the Olympics, the warm glow of Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, and the U.S. Women’s National futbol team is not enough to get someone elected based on running a winter Olympics a decade ago.

And, in case you’re wondering, Romney really is in serious trouble:

That’s Obama nearing 50%, and Romney falling off. (I exclude Rasmussen, well, because.)

Romney hasn’t lost this thing yet, but if he’s going to win, he’s going to need something better than “Obama sucks” and “trust me”. Because whatever you may think of Obama as President, he knows how to run a campaign, and as for Romney, no one trusts him.

No one.


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