Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The 2014 Obama Attack Plan

I'd linked to this piece from The Guardian which was written before the SOTU address and suggests that Obama is basically trolling Republicans. That is to say that he is provoking them to get an (emotional) response and, when they do, he succeeds--specifically in making them look bad and absorb most of the blame from the public at large.

I think there is a good deal of truth to this--and I'm not the only one:
President Barack Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.

Not for the reason that conservatives suspect: namely, that a liberal press willingly and eagerly allows itself to get manipulated. Instead, the mastery mostly flows from a White House that has taken old tricks for shaping coverage (staged leaks, friendly interviews) and put them on steroids using new ones (social media, content creation, precision targeting). And it’s an equal opportunity strategy: Media across the ideological spectrum are left scrambling for access.
But messaging isn't the whole thing. Here, unveiled, is Team Obama's plan to take control of the House in 2014. You read it here first--unless you read all the stuff I'm linking to first. In which case, maybe you read it here second. Of course, like all full-spectrum battle plans, this is the same one that was used by the aliens in ID4.

You think I'm kidding?

The 2014 battle-space favors Republicans pretty strongly: even with a D+8 electorate, roughly the same as we saw in the general, the House would not turn blue.
And D+8 Only Happens With Skewed Polls!
So given that, what could Obama be hoping for? The answer is chilling: something MORE than a D+8 electorate. What The Heck!?

If you wanted a D+9 or more electorate ... what would you do? How could you do that? The answer is this:

Part 1: Position Your Pieces
Begin by running the GOP into a cull-de-sac of public opinion. This has the strategic effect of "surrounding" the Republican forces. They can't be pressured all that effectively by the White House--but they can be moved by public opinion. This is done in two steps:
  1. IT'S ALL THEIR FAULT! IF YOU OPPOSE ME, YOU'RE THE PROBLEM. This was his 2nd Inaugural Address.
  2. Take the high ground. This was done in his State of the Union address.
The State of the Union Address was a list--a big list--of things that poll well on the surface. What was missing? The Deficit. Jobs. These got very little time and instead? Early childhood education. Raising the minimum wage--and guns--a vote on guns.

This is where you see the actual strategy revealed. In poker when it's your turn to meet a bet and you don't want to fold, you have a choice: you can raise--bringing the stakes higher--or you can call: meeting the last bet and letting play proceed. You're still in the game.

A player in what might be a weaker or less stable position, such as the GOP holding only the House, may not be in an all fired up hurry to raise the stakes--but to remain in the game sometimes they need at least to call. This dynamic is where Obama's strategy is targeted.

Obama, historically, has never cared that much about guns--oh, well, maybe deep in his liberal heart he did--but he's never done much. Even after Aurora he (correctly) assessed there wasn't much to be done. After Newtown, on the other hand, he issued 23 executive orders (doing, again, not much) and then tossed the AWB to congress.

This is smart. Predictably the GOP base went after the coming executive orders everything from stern skepticism to out-right rabid calls for bloody revolution. They were left holding the bag when it turned out to be next to nothing (appoint an ATF Director: TYRANNY INCARNATE!). Now, in the State of the Union, he makes his most impassioned case for ... a vote. He wants the House--meaning GOP speaker Boehner to allow a vote on the AWB.

It won't pass--but Boehner probably won't even allow a vote: he can't--that's sleeping with the enemy. So Obama sounds reasonable and Boehner can't even 'call.' He can't "meet" the 'reasonable' position offered by Obama. The optics on this will beat the GOP up over and over. 

Is raising the minimum wage smart? Leave that to the economists. Does it poll well? Yes. Even with Republicans? Yes!
Raising the minimum wage polls well, with Democrats almost universally supporting it; independents, 74 percent; and Republicans, 50 percent, according to a Lake Research survey last year
Consider Obama's bi-partisan voting process group (using his team's lawyer and Romney's): what could be more agreeable than 102 year old voters? Right? I mean--everyone loves a 102 year old voter ... PowerLine:
Note first that Ms. Victor did not vote on election day, but rather on the first day of early voting in Miami-Dade County. That was her choice, perhaps egged on by the Democratic machine which encourages all voters to vote early, not just those who can’t vote on election day. If Victor had voted on election day, there is no reason to believe she would have waited for hours. According to von Spakovsky, the average wait time in Florida was 45 minutes. In Miami-Dade County, more than half of the precincts closed before 8 p.m., including the largest ones.
This is true--but some people did stand in very long lines on election day and, whatever else was a factor, it took Florida forever to count those votes. While PowerLine does not come out in favor of long voting lines for 102 year old voters  they note that:
In sum, Obama, in the finest tradition of liberalism, has identified a non-problem and proposed a “solution” that would not be needed even if the problem did exist.
What are the optics on this? Remember grandma going off the cliff? Yeah--exactly. Obama even brought the grandma. Boehner couldn't even stand up and clap for her.

The goal here is to create enough broadly popular issues (and frame them correctly) so that you can get a slew of potential voters to whom the GOP look like a bunch of lunatics. Oh, sure, for people who see the big picture it might look different--but if what you cared about was raising the minimum wage and they shot it down? You're now a potential Obama voter ... even if you're in a deep red area. Even if you might otherwise not like Obama at all.

Part 2: Attack!
You Were Wondering Why That Beam Blowing Up The White House Was Blue, Weren't You?
Once Obama has buffaloed the GOP into adopting a slew of unpopular opinions for [ reasons ] they are then ready to unveil their super-weapon. Let's call it Narwhal-2. Or, we could just call it Narwhal: their technically advanced ability to target individual voters and, maybe, turn them out to the polls--something that traditionally doesn't happen during mid-term elections.

Remember how complacent we were Nov 5th too.

If you didn't feel a chill at that, you're either a Democrat or an idiot. Consider the bill in Pennsylvania to assign Electoral Votes by congressional district instead of winner-take-all. This, on the face of it, is a brilliant tactical move as it would give sparsely populated rural areas (red) the same power as heavily populated urban areas (blue). It would give swing-states back to the Republicans. There's just one problem:
Pileggi pitched a congressional district split along the lines of the Virginia bill in 2011 only to face near-unanimous opposition from Republican members of Congress in the state who feared Democrats would pour millions of dollars into winning their individual districts.
That's right: no one with a safe seat out in the country wants to see several million bucks come pouring in with an attempt to both win a presidential election and unseat them in the process. It's a legitimate fear--and it (for the time being) holds sway.

But what if that were coming anyway? Ask Democratic strategist Tad Devine about what's cooking in the kitchen:
The second, related, question is what will the electorate look like then? Voters in off-year cycles tend to be older and whiter than in presidential years. But Democrats hope that they can apply the sophisticated targeting and mobilizing techniques the Obama re-election campaign honed. "Our politics is changing because it's actually possible now to change the composition of the electorate," Democratic strategist Devine says. Once these modern targeting techniques "sweep into House politics … Republicans are in real trouble," he says.
He adds: "The stuff I'm talking about isn't there yet, but boy it's right at the door."
If part 2--the nano-targeting and turn-out plan manages to reach even a small portion of the potential-voter lattice created by Part 1? BOOM.

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