We’re still going to win, I think; but after Wednesday’s debate it’s not going to be as easy as it had begun to seem.
My pal Ed emailed: “No 47%, no Bain, no Cayman Islands, no eye contact. I’m so depressed.”
I get it. But depressed is not helpful. We have a terrific story to tell. We all need to help tell it.
One way to tell it is, “Look: Bin Laden’s dead, GM’s alive. Don’t be an idiot.”
(Leave off the idiot part. But God it’s frustrating when the opponent can tell a multi-trillion-dollar lie – a multi-trillion-dollar lie! – and the big story is that the President didn’t make eye contact.)
Another way to make our case is to get people to read Michael Grunwald’s wonderfully uplifting The NEW New Deal. But since almost no one has the time, they could at least click here and enter their zip code to see what the Obama Administration has done for them these past few years, on jobs, energy, health care and the rest. You can’t get much more specific than this.
A third way is to point out that what they saw Wednesday night was the fake Romney, playing to the camera. And then show them the real Romney, when he doesn’t realize the camera is on. Which is likely to be more revealing of his true views?
(And don’t accept the “clinging to God and guns” retort – in THAT unguarded moment, candidate Obama was expressing EMPATHY for people facing really hard times. Candidate Romney’s unguarded moment, by contrast, was an expression of CONTEMPT, writing off the 47% he considers irresponsible. Empathy is the complete opposite of contempt.)
A fourth is to use the “fool me once” frame most people know. Namely, that the last Harvard B-School Republican governor to run against a somewhat professorial Democrat and tell a multi-trillion-dollar lie (that “by far the vast majority” of his proposed tax cuts would go not to the wealthy but “to people at the bottom of the economic ladder”) gave us eight disastrous years. Do we really want to make this mistake again? Fool me once, Mr. Tax-Cuts-For-The-Rich-Will-Create-Jobs-And-By-The-Way-My-Tax-Cuts-Aren’t-For-The-Rich . . . shame on you. Fool me twice (same deal, different guy) . . . shame on me.
Seriously, how do you cut tax rates 20% across the board . . . and cut the estate tax rate on billionheirs from 45% to 0% . . . and add $2 trillion in government waste (by pushing through an extra $2 trillion in spending the Pentagon doesn’t want) without blowing up the deficit? By cutting off funding to Big Bird? Really?
We have such a great president who has done such an amazing job under such unbelievably difficult circumstances (the economic collapse he was handed but also the unprecedented GOP obstructionism), it makes me crazy to think the country might be fooled again by a multi-trillion-dollar lie.
Or be fooled by Romney’s bizarre repudiation of Romneycare, which he simultaneously lauds and loathes . . . and his replacement for which would destroy Medicare (as private insurers turned away high-risk applicants, leaving them all to Medicare).
Replacing Medicare with private insurers is the key to reducing costs and improving outcomes? Really? Adding in their sales and marketing, underwriting costs, corporate overhead and profit will not raise costs? Really?
We are the only modern country that provides much of its health care through private insurers — and the only one whose health care costs as a proportion of GDP are already at least 50% higher than everyone else’s. So the solution is to turn the rest of our health care system over to private insurers? Really?
A fifth way to make our case: Show them that clip I linked to recently of FDR mocking his opposition. It is exactly on point: Romney will give everybody everything “and it will not cost anybody anything.”
A sixth: Ask which candidate’s views remind them more of Clinton’s, which of Bush’s. Then ask which years they liked more.
You’ll craft even better ways to make our case — and that’s exactly what those of us who don’t want to see the Citizens’ United vise tightened by an even more right-wing Court are called upon to do . . .
. . . and to (gently and respectfully) open the eyes of those who are at risk of being fooled twice.
We’re going to win. But as the campaign team at Chicago headquarters have maintained all along, it’s going to be close.
[UPDATE: Ed called as I was getting ready to post this – he’s already back in fighting mode. And the President was taking it to Romney yesterday as well, as I expect we’ll see him continue to do.]