Over at Slate they point out some interesting parallels between 2008 and 2012.
Any of this sound familiar?
The social conservative (wins/almost wins, depending on what math you believe) Iowa. Flush with victory, eager to prove himself in all battlegrounds, he spends most of the next week in New Hampshire. But the surge can only take him from the margin of error to (13/9) percent of the vote. The old dream candidate, now a national laughingstock only known for a debate moment (“I’m not doing any hand shows”/”Oops”) has already moved on to South Carolina. He flies to New Hampshire just to participate in a debate, deeply annoying the supporters of (Ron Paul/Buddy Roemer), whose candidate had worked harder there. He polls a pathetic 1 percent, but stays in the race. The field is crowded enough that a horrified base sees how the front-runner, who’s won the endorsement of (Lindsey Graham/Nikki Haley), can win South Carolina with a plurality of the vote.
And how about between 2004 and 2012? Although this time it’s not a comparison between the GOPers, but between Mitt Romney and John Kerry.
- Massachusetts politician
- Super wealthy
- Base isn’t excited about him
- Is seen as a flip-flopper
- Voted for or implemented key policy of opponent. For Kerry it was the Iraq war. For Romney it’s mandated health care.
- Running as the “Anybody But” candidate
I’m sure if I thought some more I could come up with even more parallels, but it seems like I’m not the only one thinking this.
Can Mr. Obama overcome the bad economy, and perhaps even turn it to his advantage in certain ways, in the same way President George W. Bush overcame and in a sense turned to his advantage the bloody, expensive and increasingly unpopular war in Iraq eight years ago?
And can Mr. Obama do to his opponent – for now let’s say Mitt Romney – what Mr. Bush did to Senator John Kerry in 2004?
The parallels are sufficient enough that Mr. Obama and his team have studied, and to a striking degree are replicating, the Bush re-election playbook.
Already they are building a narrative in which Mr. Obama made politically brave decisions to do what was right for the economy, even if those decisions were unpopular. It’s a theme that echoes Mr. Bush’s argument in 2004 that he did what it took to keep the country safe, and that even if you disagreed with him, you knew where he stood.
As for defining the opponent, Mr. Obama’s supporters are already hard at work hammering home the idea that Mr. Romney is an inveterate flip-flopper, a man without core or convictions who says and does whatever is necessary to advance his political interests. It’s an approach that bears a passing similarity to the Bush re-election campaign’s efforts to paint Mr. Kerry as an inveterate flip-flopper, a man without core or convictions who. … You get the idea.
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