Reality Starting To Intrude Upon Reality
“Our real concern is that they’re just sleepwalking,” says a Democratic strategist, who did not want to be quoted by name criticizing the Obama campaign. His fear, echoed by many, is that Obama’s responses to the dire economic conditions fall far short of the bold leadership needed.
The latest gimmick rolled out by the White House, a To-Do list aimed at Congress that fits on a Post-it note, is emblematic of what’s missing. “A To-Do list is for little things, like picking up the dry cleaning; you don’t put "schedule your son’s MRI" or “buy a new house” on the list,” says this frustrated Democrat.
Hand-wringing is a common malady during presidential campaigns, and Obama has a history of hanging back, listening to his own internal clock, and then acting just when others think all is lost. Campaigns have a rhythm, but the worry among Democrats is that the Obama team is so focused on disparaging Mitt Romney that they haven’t laid out in a clear and compelling way what Obama would do in a second term. “If all Romney has to say is, 'I’ll do better,’ Obama will lose,” says Sam Popkin, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, and author of The Candidate: What it Takes to Win—and Hold—the White House.
People still quote the phrase from the Clinton ’92 war room, “It's the economy, stupid.” Another phrase written on the blackboard by then-strategist James Carville is equally relevant today, “Change vs. more of the same.”