Thursday, August 19, 2010
Can Obama Overcome the Deficit of Hope?
Wiith the 2010 midterm elections slowly drawing near, the Republicans have decided to turn up the pressure on what may be the Democrats' greatest weakness: President Barack Obama himself.
The Republicans have targetted Obama with a "Deficit of Hope" campaign, designed to turn his own political stylings against him.
"Deficit of Hope" counter-brands Obama less as the man who plucked the heartstrings of America with The Audacity of Hope and his "yes we can" credo and more as the architect of a continually-climbing government deficit.
The ad features a dark, yet triumphant picture of Barack Obama, reaching for the sky while his name is chanted over and over again. Against this triumphal image, text balloons out to reveal the dispiriting direction the United States has followed under Obama's leadership.
14.6 million unemployed.
2.5 million jobs lost since the stimulus.
40.8 million on food stamps. (Funding for which the Obama administration may raid to pay for one of Michelle Obama's pet projects.)
At this point, the spot's soundtrack takes a stark turn. The chanting of Obama's name is replaced by the sounds of protest, and citizens objecting to Obama's policies.
$13 trillion national debt.
$43,000 average share of the national debt.
$1.47 trillion record deficit.
The ad then, in rapid succession, makes it clear what its creators believe must be stopped: "Bailouts, takeovers, unemployment, foreclosures, tax hikes, debt."
It concludes with a simple message, contrasted to Timothy Geithner's famous "welcome to the recovery" comment quoted at the beginning of the ad:
"Welcome to the Obama economy."
It concludes with an appeal for funds.
The ad has numerous strengths. It plays to the precise issues that will be on the mind of every American voter come November. It will remind Americans that the euphoria of Obama's victory has since been replaced by the rage of protest.
It also has weaknesses. It doesn't really give voters any reason to trust Republicans -- who have had their share of the role in creating the US' current fiscal mess -- will do any better than the Democrats. Moreover, the ballooning text collapses back in on itself so quickly that the viewer often doesn't have any time to read it.
But in terms of setting the tone for their "Deficit of Hope" campaign, rhe Republicans couldn't have hoped for any better.
Whether the ad helps the Republican Party realize their ballot-box hopes won't be seen until November.