Thursday, March 1, 2012
As America moves on from the Michigan and Arizona primaries, a salient issue has emerged: Neither Romney nor Santorum seem to have much concern for the middle class. The attached New York Times article suggests that Romney is too concerned with proving his conservatism, while Santorum seems too preoccupied with slamming the separation of church and state and JFK. Two of the key lessons that we examined in Confidence Men are the importance of projecting optimism and conveying an effective narrative during a campaign. Both Romney and Santorum failed to do so in Michigan, deciding rather to highlight less relevant issues. They should have been accentuating the positive, and portraying a sense of hope and security. Why do you think Obama was so successful in 2008?
In a state like Michigan, which was hard hit by the economic meltdown, Romney and Santorum could have improved their chances by stressing their plans for recovery. Instead, President Obama now leads Romney in a prospective general election poll by about eighteen points. While Romney continues to try and prove his conservatism, Obama has been busy. He gave a forceful speech to the United Auto Workers Conference, during which he DID convey the narrative and he DID project optimism. So, here's the question: has President Obama regained his campaign form from 2008? If he has, it is right in the nick of time.
On a loosely related note, Obama made the following remarks about the Chevy Volt at the UAW Conference. Since we discussed this fine piece of American steel (or whatever the heck it's made out of) in class last week, I thought you might enjoy!
"I’ve seen it at GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio -- (applause) -- where workers got their jobs back to build the Chevy Cobalt, and at GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit -- (applause) -- where I got to get inside a brand-new Chevy Volt fresh off the line -- even though Secret Service wouldn’t let me drive it. (Laughter.) But I liked sitting in it. (Laughter.) It was nice. I'll bet it drives real good. (Laughter.) And five years from now when I’m not President anymore, I’ll buy one and drive it myself. (Applause.) Yes, that's right."