Harry Truman. This year was supposed to be the year Barack Obama switched persona, again. No longer the great and wise Abraham Lincoln (and extravagantly gaudy Mary Todd’s spouse), Barack Obama was to refashion himself into give ’em Hell Harry Truman (Michelle presumably sewing the sleeves back on her frocks to assume the role of modest Bess). Barack Obama was to abandon his celebrity sports friends in order to troll the streets of the nation at taxpayer expense damning the “do nothing Congress” and demanding “fairness”.
The fly in the ointment, the flaw in that notion, is that Harry Truman campaigned for popular New Deal programs. Obama has only Obaminations hated by the oppressed populace to offer. How to campaign against a “do nothing Congress” when the American people would have the Congress “do nothing” rather than legislate hated diktats?
But on “fairness” Obama was to be the head Occupy Wall Streeter occupying the White House (even though his coronation would be held at Bank of America stadium). Obamas were to parade like subsidized Colombian street walkers, on the taxpayer dime, shouting “FAIRNESS” while fist-bumping the unemployed peeps.
Michelle grudgingly agreed to her temporary supporting role. Usually dressed in garish outfits more appropriate to a drag queen remake of Queen of Outer Space (“I hate zat qveen“) Michelle Obama is now frequently the homespun “folksy” girl (“It could all come down to those few thousand folks we need to help to get to the polls…”). Michelle won’t give up those free vacations without a fight even if she has to lose her glue-on nails in the struggle.
Barack bowed to sacrifice as well. Slumming into dive bars to hang with the homies Barack suffered yogurt showers and foul breaths. The unfairness of it all – having to campaign again instead of just a shout of acclamation ‘midst Grecian columns. To Barack that is the real “unfairness”. But Barack still agreed to talk about the unfairness suffered by those other than himself. And that was to be the campaign theme. That was to be the message. But an odd thing happened….
It wasn’t Mitt Romney, Mitt the presumptive Republican nominee, speaking the words of successful challenger Bill Clinton’s campaign that was so odd:
“Just as the Clinton campaign (whose manager James Carville famously coined the phrase ‘it’s the economy, stupid’) resisted President George H.W. Bush’s attempts to make the 1992 election about the then Arkansas governor’s character, Team Romney will try keep the focus on Obama and his record.
In this respect they will be helped by the cult of personality that surrounds Obama, and in large part on which his 2008 campaign was based. And Obama’s well-developed self-regard (he was quoted this week as telling the Democratic National Committee chair: “It’s not about you, it’s about me) could also play into Romney’s hands. [snip]
But there were other areas where Romney made clear he would fight for every inch of ground. He was determined not to allow Obama to own the concept of “fairness”.
It could be that last night Mitt Romney announced his campaign theme and it is to be about fairness. A New Fair Deal:
“He said: “This America is fundamentally fair. We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.”
Romney told his story. A dad that “sold paint from the trunk of his car” and later became the governor of that state. A young Mitt Romney “helping start a business that grew from 10 people to hundreds of people.” But it was the subject of “fairness” that resonated. In a country enraged about bank bailouts, insurance company bailouts and mandates to the citizenry to bail out the insurance companies by becoming serf customers, it is a powerful message.
To the urban poor, Latinos, Blacks, the White working class, the idea of school choice will be the way Romney intends to reach out. To socially conservative Latinos and Blacks this might be a way of prying them loose from Obama Dimocrat tentacles if not actually getting them to push the electoral ballot button for Romney. To Latinos concerned about immigration reform the Romney message will be economic opportunity. To all hard workers and those paying their own way, their own mortgages, it’s the Romney New Fair Deal.
Romney’s New Fair Deal is the mirror image of arguments Harry Truman made when he argued for the Fair Deal list of programs. Romney won’t necessarily be proposing new programs. Romney will seek to restore “fairness”. You know, if you work, you advance type fairness. You know, don’t bail out Wall Street and kill Main Street fairness.
After the second world war Americans needed a direction and help for returning soldiers. Truman proposed a 21 point domestic program (and the G.I. Bill of Rights) building on Roosevelt’s New Deal. Republicans opposed Truman. The Republican congressional majorities campaigned on the slogan “Had enough?” Truman won that battle.
Such is the corruption and incompetence of Barack Obama that – Mitt Romney will be able to run on both a New Fair Deal as well as the outrage expressed by “Had enough?”
As the American economy slows down yet again (durable goods orders drop 4.2% in March) Mitt Romney has a strong case to make against Barack Obama. Americans indeed have had enough. Americans indeed want fairness restored.
Mitt Romney already has an abundance of slogans to run on – “Obama Isn’t Working”, “Obama Made It Worse”, and “Had Enough?”. But if Mitt Romney needs a positive message, a campaign theme that weaves all the slogans together, all the messages into one, “Mitt Romney’s Fair Deal” is the ticket.