Now that the Obama reelection movement is under way, David Axelrod was recently asked how to renew Obama’s appeal. Obama himself had a surprisingly trenchant observation, “It’s not as cool to be an Obama supporter as it was in 2008 with the posters and all of that stuff.” Axelrod was asked about Obama’s comment and here was his response (from Real Clear Politics):
“I find it as cool to be an Obama supporter. Having sat with him for two years is the White House and watched him — watching him work through some very difficult things with a lot of intelligence and grace, equilibrium. I, I have great admiration for him,” Obama’s chief campaign strategist told CNN.
“The people who were participating in the campaign in 2008 weren’t involved n some sort of cult of personality. It wasn’t just about Barack Obama, it was the country and they cared deeply about this country,” Axelrod said in his answer a question about how to make Obama “cool” again.”
Interesting that Obama realizes that so much of his appeal really was about the posters and all of that stuff. The big crowds and rock star vibe, the styrofoam columns and sense of epic proportions, the feeling of newness and possibility. Nothing about his one-ply toilet paper-thin resume.
Recently Obama opened up a twitter account (finally!). We expect to see Tweets like the following:
‘haha..my ChiWiSox won 10-4. Gr8 pitching! (Will have my World Series picks l8r on ESPN Special. Check it out’,
‘Kanye was awwsum on MTV music awards last nite!’
So Obama decided to open up a twitter account one week after the Weiner Twitter scandal?? Because it seemed like so much fun? No, there’s more to it. OhioGOP detailed some of the poor numbers Obama has with young voters:
“College Students Have “Soured” on Obama. Twenty months before election day, and even before he opens his campaign office, Obama and his White House team are launching a number of efforts to reconnect with young voters…who have soured somewhat on the president since ” (Peter Wallsten “White House Seeks to Reconnect With Young Voters,” Post Politics, 3/13/11)
Obama Will Be “Hard-Pressed” to Get the Same Support from Young Voters in 2012. “Roughly 23.4 million 18-29 year-olds cast their votes in 2008, marking the highest turnout of young voters in modern presidential history. Young people made up about 18 percent of the electorate in 2008, and Obama won this age bracket by 34 percentage points. The president will be hard-pressed to do that again in 2012.” (Cristina Marcos, “Poll: Younger voters dissatisfied with Obama’s handling of the economy,” The Hill, 6/12/11)
Gallup: Obama’s Approval Among Young Voters Has Dropped 20 Points. “The president’s job approval rating among voters ages 18-29 was 75 percent when he took office in January 2009 and had fallen to 55 percent as of mid-May, according to the Gallup Poll. He took 66 percent of the vote among 18- to 29-year-olds in 2008, the highest proportion ever. But young voters were less enthusiastic, and turned out less, in last year’s midterm elections.” (Margaret Talev and Kate Tamba Howard, “White House reaches out to youth vote with ‘roundtables,’” McClatchy Newspapers, 6/12/11)
Georgetown Student Zack Hubbard: “Now We See President Obama in that Washington-as-Usual Mindset.” “In 2008, [Georgetown University sophomore, Zack] Hubbard was attracted by Obama’s hope-and-change message, only to be disappointed by what he saw as a politicized health care debate. ‘Now we see President Obama in that Washington-as-usual mindset, which kind of takes away the glamour,’ Hubbard said.” (Margaret Talev and Kate Tamba Howard, “White House reaches out to youth vote with ‘roundtables,’” McClatchy Newspapers, 6/12/11)
Hubbard: The Hope-and-Change Message, “Doesn’t Seem Like it Really Worked Out.” “‘The campaign in 2012 might be more about long-term policy, detailed stances,’ Hubbard said. As for the hope-and-change message, he said, ‘It doesn’t seem like it really worked out.’” (Margaret Talev and Kate Tamba Howard, “White House reaches out to youth vote with ‘roundtables,’” McClatchy Newspapers, 6/12/11)”
The thrill is gone. When one looks at the Twitter, the Axelrod observation, and the dramatic drop in support amongst Obama’s most fervent fanatics, it all adds up to one meme: Obama 2.0 is fresher, hipper, and awesom-er than ever! Come out and vote for him again young people!
Obama realizes how silly and shallow his campaign was the first time around. He doesn’t have a new set of tricks. He can’t pull of a Madonna-like reinvention. And Obama realizes one other thing: if he wants reelection in 2012 he will need — each and every single young voter to get off their mom’s couch, tear themselves away from their online porn, and pull the lever for Obama on November 6, 2012. Remember he was making the same demo-specific outreach to Hispanics a month ago? He’ll be more subtle with black voters (perhaps he’ll subcontract that task out to Al Sharpton). But, make no mistake, Obama knows he’s toast with independents, white voters over a certain age, and voters who typically voted Republican but decided to give him a chance. Obama is making the deliberate effort to carve out every single voter he can find who might need extra-motivation to find their polling precinct 16 months from now. He’ll remind them how cool he was and still is. He’ll have all the Hollywood actors, musicians, and celebrities making the case with online videos of how important it is to come out again for our boy, Barack, lest those AWFUL and EVIL republicans, with their Sarah Palin, get back into power and ‘give us another 4 years of Bush!‘ (Prediction: Obama next year will say, “You don’t want another 4 years of Bush do ya’? You don’t want another 4 years of the same failed policies that got us in this mess?‘) He’ll make his case again (not on his record, but on the feelings factor). His goal is to corral each and every last Obama voter. He’ll register them. He’ll badger them and hound them to vote. He’ll use guilt, fear, and anger on his constituents. He’ll remind them how important is to get that Grant Park feeling again.
It’s called community organizing.