Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Defeating Obama on Likeability - Not

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

I watched Sean Hannity waste valuable air time tonight railing against Obama's golf outings, his comments about scouting out nice places to take his wife while in Colombia and Obama's number of vacations. It all seemed like a futile attempt to damage Obama's "likeability." I often disagree with Hannity, and in this case, he has doubled down on his stupidity. Obama isn't going to be defeated on this issue, and I don't think its relevant.

Polls consistently show that Obama is considerably more popular than his policies. He is a decent family man who loves his wife and kids. But I don't think most people are going to vote for him on that basis. Romney is likeable as well, but that's only going to go so far as well. Obama's failure's and Romney's plans and experience make a more than adequate contrast for Romney to win. William McGurn in today's WSJ explains how this worked for Reagan.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan zeroed in on Jimmy Carter's competence. Plenty of Americans thought President Carter was a good and decent man too—but by election day Mr. Reagan had persuaded them that his rival just wasn't up to the job.

The day after that election, Mr. Reagan's pollster, Richard Wirthlin, explained the campaign this way: "We saw the opportunity for a role reversal—that is, by the end of the campaign, I think we came very close to having people look upon Ronald Reagan as more presidential than Jimmy Carter."

In my view, Romney has the same opportunity. But he can also put together a winning strategy to blunt Obama's simpleton strategy of class warfare and war on women. A brief outline:
  • Immigration. Adopt Newt's policy prescriptions. See my article here. Because the policies are actually compassionate, but maintain the rule of law, Romney could woo Hispanics without pandering. Point out that Obama has kept no promise on immigration reform.
  • Buffett Rule. Adopt a flat tax with equal treatment of all sources of incomes and remove all deductions, credits and loopholes. This will cause Buffet's secretary to pay a lower percentage than Buffett, but will actually grow the economy. Sell this as closing loopholes for millionaires, which has the benefit of being true.
  • Obamacare. The signature "achievement" continues to be unpopular. Point out how Americans are paying more taxes, losing their coverage and paying higher premiums under Obamacare. There is so much more to despise, but those are a nice start.
  • Jobs. Too easy, but just replay every broken promise. Point out that passing an absurd health care law took precedence over getting suffering Americans back to work.
  • Energy. Point again to all the jobs lost by Obama's failure to allow drilling and allowing pipelines. This is where you sneak in a little of the jet setting. Ask the President where the fuel for Air Force One comes from, asking this as a voice over while the plane is landing in some vacation destination.
  • Women. Point out how the economy has been bad for women and Obamacare has been bad for women; how gas prices are bad for working Moms trying to drive to work.

That's a start, Obama is a weak candidate on the issues and his record. It's up to Romney to show that he is "Presidential" and serious about these issues. It might be worthwhile to go all in with Paul Ryan as the VP nominee. I also like Romney's recent speeches which sound very Reaganesque.


  1. Don't diminish the liability factor. Carter lost that factor hands down because Reagan was so personable. Unfortunately, many people will vote on this factor. President Obama has shown very thin skin when challenged. Romney should find a way to get under that skin including engaging in the ethics of his policies or how they were passed. Expose his petulance.

  2. Likeability factor, (damn you, spell check)

  3. Where are all of the polls showing Obama's likeability factor. The only one I could find is the CNN/ORG International Poll that was all registered voters and they never showed a breakdown of the percentage of Dems vs Reps. They were hiding something. It looks like you may be from Boston Mass. but I can tell you Obama is considered to be an arrogant and nasty individual, maybe not in Boston, but in fly over country. Maybe CNN will come out with a poll showing that another politician,Elizabeth Warren is the pin up girl of the year.

  4. Squirefld, I live in San Diego. I personally consider the President to be nasty, but it doesn't seem to be the conventional wisdom. Perhaps you are correct. Thanks for commenting.