I made a point earlier this week about the GOP Valentine card missing the mark on trying to reach the GOP base. In watching them closely over the last few days, I am starting to see a larger theme emerging, and it makes me very nervous about our chances in November if Barack is the candidate.
Today the RNC released the Barack Obama Spend-o-meter. If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because in 2004, the RNC released the John Kerry Spend-o-meter, and in 2000, the RNC released the Al Gore Spend-o-meter. I can’t find a reference to 1996, but I am fairly certain the RNC rolled it out then, too. That was the when the Internet was in its toddler stage, so perhaps it was only shown to the press.
This is indicative of the larger problem the GOP has with Obama. This is a young, dynamic, charismatic guy who hits a chord with people and really connects. In response, the GOP has picked a candidate beacuse “it was his turn”. We’ll dust off the every-four-year playbook and count on it to bring us to victory one more time.
The trouble is, Hillary has been working from our playbook. Everything she has thrown at Obama is right from “Republican Campaigns for Dummies” – he’s not experienced, he’s unelectable, he’ll take all your money, he’s black (I’m being facetious, but they did try it). Yet no matter how many of our plays she calls, she can’t seal the deal.
Do we honestly think that we’re so much better at running these plays that we’ll have a dramatically different outcome? Newt Gingrich doesn’t seem to think so. On Fox News last night he pointed out the strength of Obama’s appeal and commented that the GOP may be in trouble if it tries to run the same old campaign.
I think he’s right. If the RNC’s grand plan to beat Obama is to dust off the greatest hits of the last 40 years of campaigning, they’re going to be in trouble. This guy is running a different kind of campaign, and the old models aren’t going to win it.
That said, if Hillary’s the candidate, I think that model works fine. You’ll have two people who are re-running the same campaign we saw in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. It’ll be just like old times. For that reason, I hope I’m wrong and Hillary gets the nod. We know our tactics work on that battlefield.
Obama, however, is playing by a different set of rules. If he’s the guy, we need to step up our game.