Thursday, 15 December 2011

how will Obama run against Newt?

the excellent Marbury is interesting on this.  However, I do not think he has got it quite right.  Something I only understood myself after my time in elected office was over, and for which I am indebted to Drew Westen's fascinating book "The Political Brain" is that you do not campaign against an opponent on their weaknesses, but on their strengths.  Their weaknesses will be seen by the public, sooner or later, and you can leave the media to expose them anyway.  Their strengths are something they cannot defend.  They just are.  So, for what it's worth, Obama's strengths are his steadiness and coolness in times of crisis, and his ability to gain respect, and even affection, for who he is rather than for what he has done.  So Newt should run against him on precisely this, that when times are tough Obama doesn't roll up his sleeves and get on with the dirty work, he kicks back "like always" and takes it easy.  Being "loved in Africa" won't save American jobs.  And so on.  Yes, it will be borderline racist, but that is the American right for you.  And Obama's campaign against Newt?  Gingrich's strengths are, or appear to to me to be, his toughness in debate and his mastery of the machine.  In this he seems to me rather like LBJ, an unattractive character who was nonetheless superbly effective, and who was a man with no discernible principles whatever.  You can read about this in the excellent three-volume (so far) biography of LBJ by Robert Caro.  So, Obama should say "Come on, Newt.  Tell us straight.  What have you got stitched up for us today?"  And "Going to give us a 'contract with America', are you Newt?  Tell us about it."

You reckon?  In an American context it is probably OK to be called Newt.  I suppose.


Anonymous said...

Barack Obama is,in effect, facing one of two dream candidates. Either Newt - who has so much bad stuff that he is going to implode. All you have to say is cigar.... or Mitt Romney;detested by his own lot because he is a Mormon.

Cain has choked on his own pizza; Michelle the Mad is - mad - and Sarah Palin is with the fishes.

One of the key things that distinguishes a successful politician from an unsuccessful one is the one thing they have no control over. Are they, simply a 'lucky' politician? Barack Obama is. In fact, I have never , ever come across any politician who is just so damn lucky as he is. So -- forget the polls. He'll coast it. Of course.

Anonymous said...

In this country anyone called Newt would be regarded as a pet of Livingstone.

Anonymous said...

Quite. And Barack has a lovely pet called Bo adorning his Christmas card. His fab protuguese water dog.