Obama Has Failed to Articulate a Second-Term Agenda

Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 10:31 AM

By Andy Bloom

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If you want to see an Obama supporter go into a meltdown, pose the following question: “Can you please tell me what parts of President Barack Obama’s agenda for the next four years explain why you are voting for him? Please do so without mentioning Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, George W. Bush, Republicans, and anything they might do or may have done.”
Until now Obama’s campaign has consisted of the theme of raising taxes on the wealthiest, which does not even come close to closing the deficit (let alone lowering the national debt or fixing Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security) and spending millions of dollars to demonize former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Obama and his campaign have said virtually nothing about what he intends to do if given another four years in the White House.
Paradoxically, it is Obama who in the debates and on the stump has repeatedly said, “I think the American people have to ask themselves, is the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret because they're too good?” 
I’ve wondered if the president’s plans are so good that they have to be kept secret until after the election too, because he simply has said nothing about what he intends to do if given another four years.
Yet, we actually did get 1 quite unintended glimpse into what a second Obama term might produce: At the tail-end of a 90-minute meeting with outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him “space.” 
The comments were picked up by microphones the two presidents did not realize were on as reporters were being let into the room. This candid moment gives us real insight into the kind of even deeper damage that a second Obama administration could produce. Americans should be very concerned what Barack Obama could do knowing he never again has to face the American electorate. 
The rallying cries, “Hope,” “Change,” and “Yes we can,” from the halcyon days of the 2008 campaign are absent in 2012. They have been replaced with messages of desperation and demagoguery. The president’s advisors realized, maybe Obama’s positives couldn’t be raised but with a war-chest of a billion dollars the challenger could be portrayed as a 21st century Gordon Gekko, carrying George W. Bush’s briefing books.
It looked like that might be enough to re-elect the President. Then the first presidential debate took place on October 3rd. That debate changed the trajectory of the election and Romney has continued to build momentum since then. 
Despite that, the Obama campaign has steadfastly stood-by its strategy and tactics to demonize Romney, especially his years at Bain Capital.
In 2008 during his acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High, adorned with Greek columns, and nearly 80,000 fainting fans, as if an emperor were being coroneted, candidate Obama warned, “If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.” 
The Obama campaign has made this election about Mitt Romney, his tax returns, his dog, “Romnesia,” etc. When the Obama campaign ventured into issues it is about a ginned up war on women, Big Bird, “binders,” and today bayonets. When it came to painting your opponent as someone people should run from, nobody has ever done it better than advisers David Axelrod and David Plouffe. When it came to “small things,” the Obama campaign has redefined “small ball.”
In the third and final debate last Monday night Romney scored big point when he said, “Attacking me is not an agenda.” It’s a great line and the bottom line is that throughout this campaign the man who was elected to bring us hope, change and bipartisanship has brought us desperation, despair and new levels of rancor.
The only chance for hope is if we make a change this November 6th and Mitt Romney is that change. When you test the logic of somebody who intends to vote for Obama, I find, they can tell you a lot about why they despise Mitt Romney but they know shockingly little about what Obama would do with another four years.
Andy Bloom is the former communications director for Rep Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio)

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