Duck! and Gather

Obama Strategy: Issues that Unite = Win; Issues that Divide = Lose

Posted on: July 5, 2008

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I just posted this on

I think I’ve hit on the language that fits Obama, and that can articulate some of the outrage coming from the FISA group, and more broadly, from people horrified by Obama’s clumsy “move to the political center” in June.

It’s pretty simple, really. Sometime around mid-June, on the advice of his campaign managers, Obama embarked on a two week tour of historically divisive issues in American politics. Issues that over the past 40 years have demarcated the old divide between “left” and “right”.

These divisive issues include the relationship between state and church, gun control, crime and punishment, “Islamo-fascist” “terror”, “welfare queens” and absentee black dads, Israel, Iraq War, to name a few that Obama’s advisers had him weigh in on the last two weeks of June.

Unless we can perform some kind of intervention, I dread what words his too-clever-by-half campaign staff will now put in his mouth about abortion, gay marriage, and drilling in the Alaskan wilderness.

I don’t know if Axelrod: (a) has always been planning this “June surprise”; (b) has been shouted down by the DNC and the Clinton types; or (c) has been kidnapped by aliens and had his brain reprogrammed.

Whatever the case, it seems that the “brilliant” strategy of Obama’s A-team campaign staff was to have the greatest and most inspiring politician over the last 40 years — the man who had Bill O’Reilly tripping over himself to shake the hand of the Great Man — wade into the most divisive issues in the nation with the aim of converting the Red Staters. Issues, for which, a “middle ground” has proven fodder for myth (see Sisyphus).

Brilliant, fellas. Not only is this a sure-fire losing strategy on its face, you have taken a “virgin” politician for whom accusations of hypocrisy were a stretch, and branded that epithet on his forehead.

I hereby fire you all. Go home to your estates. Watch this campaign on cable between reruns of the Sopranos.

Now, on to business Obama. Here is the strategy for winning over who Olbermann refers to as the “knuckle draggers”:

Stick to the issues that unite us. Address only these issues.

What are the uniting issues? You know them. They’re in your platform:

– housing crisis/foreclosures
– peak oil/gas prices
– clean energy/global warming
– sustainable economy
– crushing personal debt/bankruptcies
– inflation

That’s just a sampling. Here’s the thing: these uniting issues trump the dividing issues in 2008 and the foreseeable future.

That is, the Red Staters are not going to move or be solicited on religion, guns, Israel, etc. etc. You can only piss them off here.

But to them, and to the Blue Staters, the uniting issues are more pressing. Moreover, the uniting issues touch the lives of each and every one of us — unlike those dividing issues.

In addition, your story on these uniting issues is the story the nation wants to hear.

Finally, you are magic when you discuss them. In contrast, you are a schmuck when you wade into the dividing issues.

If you’re still confused, here’s an example of a uniting issue:

“We’re in a housing crisis affecting everyone from home owners to Wall Street banks. What did George Bush do? He gave $30 billion to bail out one Wall Street bank. What did he do for home owners facing foreclosure? Nada. I’m gonna flip that imbalance come January 20.”

OK, I’m sure you can find a nicer, less confrontational way to the say the same thing. But you get the picture.

You have your marching orders. Now march!

for the money has gone too far

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