Barack Obama is destined to be the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. The young (46) Senator for Illinois has a number of advantages which he can exploit to the fullest. However, there are also two giant negatives that could pose severe problems for him during the general election — an election which will be just as closely fought as 2000 and 2004.
UPDATE: And now he’s starting to piss off the press corps.
The first negative which the Republicans will exploit to the fullest is Obama’s wish to make it a clean general election. Like Al Gore and John Kerry before him, Obama has a certain ego and from that strong ego he takes a moral high ground, declaring that ‘the truth’ guides him. He also believes that ‘the truth’ will guide the American voter.
Asked by a reporter on how he would push back against outright lies and distortions about him thrown at the voters by the Republicans during the general election, Obama said: “the way I will respond to it is with the truth”.
That’s what Kerry said before he headed into the elections of 2004. And before he got ‘Swiftboated’. Kerry and his campaign thought that the average voter would see the lies and distortions for what they were, and still vote for him. Big ‘oops’.
Obama seems to be making the same mistake. He has been hit by a number of sleaze stories but nothing seems to have stuck – so far, he seems blessed by a nice layer of Teflon. But that will change.
So far, he’s gotten away largely unharmed from all the sleaze that Camp Clinton and Camp McCain have thrown at him. But unlike with Clinton, there won’t be a party apparatus calling off the attack dogs during the general election. No Sir.
And that brings us to the second Big Negative for Mr Obama: SAV.
Stupid American Voter is the type that does not read up, has never combined the two words ‘research’ and ‘internet’ in once sentence, generally has an IQ that’s the size of your shoe, and will believe anything some face on a screen (we’ll call them ‘Screenface’) tells him.
To SAV, the difference between truth and perception is undiscernable. SAV uses news media as his source about what’s going on in the other state and that news media is oftentimes more interested in a good story than facts. Like in every election, it will be the perception voters have of the candidates that will be the deciding factor. Nothing else.
Unless Obama and his campaign response team wises up real soon, he won’t stand a chance in hell against all the smears and sleaze attacks that will be thrown at him. And which will be swallowed down like sweet nectar by SAV.
Barack Obama, the secret Manchurian candidate somehow planted by Osama bin Laden? There will be SAVs who will believe that crap. That’s why it will be repeated over and over and over again.
Barack Obama, the real estate peddler who’s in business with ‘slumlord’ Tony Rezko? There will be people who will believe it.
Michelle Obama’s words getting completely distorted? A lot of SAVs will be offended, even though what Screenface says is distorted nonsense.
It goes on. Obama had better be ready. Perhaps campaign manager David Axelrod will be allowed to do some shopping in Camp Clinton once the nomination’s settled. Especially the Clinton Fast Response Team would be a very good addition.
Communicatiestrateeg en schrijver van het boek ‘Megafoonpolitiek‘. Op Twitter te vinden als @kajleers. Politiek bewust, voormalig financieel-economisch journalist, muziekmaker, professionele kletskous, schrijver. Geeft ook social media-trainingen, denkt graag met je mee over communicatiestrategie. En ja, content is en blijft King.