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How Obama's Campaign Went From Cashing in on Hope to Exploiting Fear

Three years after Obama took office, his campaign's re-election strategy has shifted from capitalizing on hope to exploiting fear.


From Townhall Magazine's EXCLUSIVE December feature "Fear We Can Believe In":

Obama needs something or someone to run against, and he needs it quickly. His approval ratings have dipped below 40 percent, and his disapprovals are approaching 55 percent. His
campaign’s most important goal in 2012 is to prevent the election from becoming a referendum on his presidency. If this means that “FEAR” must replace the iconic “HOPE” motto of his 2008 effort, then that is what his team will aim for. ...

What sort of hand will Team Obama have in 2012?

Obama's small inner circle is nearly the same, still containing [Davidl] Plouffe and [David] Axelrod. Obama is still the candidate. The re-election campaign begins with the same large list of donors and bundlers that the last campaign accumulated. It will rely on the same ideological and demographic core.

But the elements that conspired to create the 2008 magic are conspicuously absent in this new cycle, and therein lies the problem.

First, President Bush is long gone. The defining excuse of the Obama presidency--that Bush created all the problems of the Obama era--is becoming increasingly untenable to the point hat Democrats trot it out less and less frequently. The public has never let Bush off the hook for his role in the economy's ongoing difficulties, as many polls have shown. But in September 2011, for the first time since Obama's inauguration, a majority (53 percent) told Gallup that they now blame Obama as well. That number will continue to grow, at least until the economy improves.


Second, the old '08 slogans have lost their meaning for Obama. They are not only obsolete, but in fact counterproductive. No incumbent can run on a platform of "Change"--especially not an incumbent president who enjoyed a blank legislative check for much of his first two years in office. Obama had his chance to change anything he liked. The changes he chose to enact inspired not Hope, but the tea party movement. ...

Read more of David Freddoso's analysis in the December issue of Townhall Magazine, including:

  • -- more analysis of the Obama campaign's new tone: hair-raising rhetoric
  • -- what prompted the change from hope to fear
  • -- targets of the new campaign
  • -- calling Team Obama's bluff: "There is no small irony in Obama's plan to turn election 2012 into a referendum on Wall Street. In 2008, his campaign took more Wall Street money than any candidate for any office in the history of America."
  • -- why this campaign of fear is a rocky strategy for 2012 and its effect on Obama's fundraising

Order Townhall Magazine today to read the full report in the December issue.



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