What’s going on: Jonathan Capeheart at The Washington Post had a very important piece a couple of days ago about a new pro-Romney ad called “It’s Okay.” Perhaps the reason I think it’s important or wise is because I have been having the same thought about this approach. As Capeheart writes, the ad criticizes the president in a way that could be described as “more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger.”
The ad says this:
President Obama came to the White House with big plans. He’d halve the deficit. Strengthen the economy. Lower unemployment. What did we get? National Debt over 15 trillion and climbing. Unemployment above 8 percent for 40 straight months. An ongoing economic crisis with no end in sight. He tried. You tried. It’s OK to make a change.
Capeheart makes the case that telling people it’s okay to make a change is also about the suggestion that it’s okay to make a change and not be thought a racist. I suppose there is something to that, but I’m not sure that’s even the biggest part of it.
My fear is that it is quite rational for some voters to say of Obama, “we liked him then, we still like him now, but things haven’t improved very much, why not give someone else a chance?” I didn’t say it was fair, only that it’s a rational approach.
Others have said that for Romney to begin doing better, he has to offer a coherent vision for the country, a positive vision, where he would take us. So far, he hasn’t done that. But if he is able to do that, and I am not sure he is, then it would be a powerful thing to convince voters, especially swing voters, that it’s alright to like President Obama and still vote against him. This may be the only way I see Obama losing.
There’s a lot of parts to this thesis, but this ad moves the Romney campaign in that direction and, if I were the Obama campaign, I’d be concerned. Much like Capeheart, when I first saw it, I wasn’t happy.