James Carville’s Democracy Corps is out with a new memo outlining the challenges for President Obama in the upcoming election. Basically, the memo by Carville and Stan Greenberg concedes that the economy stinks and everybody knows it. But of course, it’s all Bush’s fault.
It is elites who are creating a conventional wisdom that an incumbent president must run on his economic performance – and therefore must convince voters that things are moving in the right direction. They are wrong, and that will fail. The voters are very sophisticated about the character of the economy; they know who is mainly responsible for what went wrong and they are hungry to hear the President talk about the future. They know we are in a new normal where life is a struggle – and convincing them that things are good enough for those who have found jobs is a fool’s errand. They want to know the plans for making things better in a serious way – not just focused on finishing up the work of the recovery.
Read the whole thing. The study’s authors conducted focus groups with Americans who have been hard hit by the ongoing Obama economy, and offer suggestions for how Obama can win despite his failures. All he has to do is trick enough voters to judge him not on his record, but on his promises. (Isn’t that what they did the last time?)
I printed out the memo, and will hang on to it to see if President Obama follows its advice when he delivers yet another campaign speech in an effort to re-frame the economic debate.
(If I had more time I’d pick apart the “fact sheet” about Mitt Romney they handed out to the focus group participants.)