Here we are on the cusp of the Democratic Convention and the party’s response to a fusillade of Paul Ryan’s fabrications, Mitt Romney’s adequacy and Clint Eastwood’s – um – cryptopathological improvisational admission of the GOP’s intellectual bankruptcy – but that’s not the most recent strategic mystery the Romney-Ryan campaign has engaged in – their latest is to ask “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” The answer might surprise them.
Earlier, the Romney campaign unleashed a blizzard of ads with actors portraying real Americans who had voted for Obama in 2008 but had grown disappointed in the rate of how their lives were getting better. The premise, apparently, is to reach out to people with this mindset that if they weren’t happy with Obama, it’s about time to give someone with the exact opposite approach the reins for a while. That it’s brought to you by the people who’ve tried to arrest the president’s progress at every turn is supposed to be conveniently forgotten.
But back to whether you were better off now than you were four years ago – it follows the same trope of Mitt’s that we all wanted to change things, but President Obama’s change just didn’t happen as fast as Romney’s would. As though Mitt Romney’s focus has been on giving Americans affordable healthcare, cleaning up the banking mess, saving GM and Chrysler and getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan but that he’s got a better plan for getting all that done. It’s like saying, “You barely escaped this mugger who accosted you as you were walking through a dark alley – and even though you fought him off, you might not be running away from him fast enough. Maybe you should just go back there and give him your wallet. I’m the mugger and I approve this message.”
It’s puzzling to think the Romney campaign thinks Obama voters are so credulous that they think the only difference between Obama and Romney is one of degree – but even Paul Ryan made that point in his speech before the RNC last week when he compared Obama voters to kids getting tattoos because they thought it was cool. And it’s not unusual to hear Obama portrayed as a dangerous America-hating radical hellbent on experimenting with our economy using tricks he found on the back of a box of Stalin-Os and his supporters as a coalition of the greedy, the lazy and hopelessly idealistic dupes. So how does Team Romney hope to appeal to this caricature of a group of befuddled losers? Oh, right – lie to them.
Not that they’re happy about it – but hey, if these are stupid, self-interested dupes who fall for a pack of lies in the first place, why should the GOP tie one hand behind its back by not making shit up when it was to their advantage? Unfortunately for them, though, this perceived demographic simply doesn’t exist – people lived through the economic collapse of 2007 and know exactly what caused it. Many lost houses, jobs and their cherished way of life – and sneering at them as though they were kids disappointed with the latest cool Android app is likely to blow up in Team Romney’s face.