Why Is Obama So Focused on His Base This Year?
At Hot Air, Karl tries to see the big picture strategy behind Obama’s campaign approach:
Team O is left with a strategy which is essentially an amalgam of 2004 and 2008. It draws on 2004 by relying on mobilizing supporters more than persuading swing voters. It draws on 2008 insofar as that mobilization is confined to a subset of the coalition Obama won 3+ years ago (largely the demographics of the supposed Emerging Democratic Majority). As Sean Trende observes in his book, The Lost Majority, Obama won a higher percentage of the vote than Bill Clinton ever did, but Obama’s coalition was demographically narrower. The political perfect storm that swept Obama into office has been replaced with the Obama record; Obama’s available demographics will have narrowed accordingly.
Obama’s reelect strategy is visible in the daily headlines, but typically not considered in toto. (Jay Cost came pretty close to it.) Political junkies notice Obama’s student loan policy is a sop to the young, the absurdly fictional “Julia” a pitch to single women (esp. single mothers), the reversal on same sex marriage a balm for Hollywood’s big donors, gay rights activists and the media, and so on. Brooks views these positions as the sort of small-ball politics Clinton used successfully in 1996, which has it backwards. Clinton played small-ball to appear more conservative and reach for the center as the economy ramped up; Obama is taking positions to pander to his base as the economy limps.