Obama's Second Term: The Long Campaign
President Obama has a long policy road ahead. After his first term of broken or belayed promises, the President now has to convince the American people -- and Congress -- that he really is serious about his policies. President Obama doesn't really sell his plans when he appears as a person who governs. Now the President has taken on the most volatile subject in America -- gun control -- so he's going to do what he does best to convince people that he knows all the answers: campaign.
President Obama is a master campaigner. The last election should be proof enough of this fact. The President, and his campaign apparatus, managed to turn the last campaign -- which should have been about campaign promises and the economy -- into a campaign about greed and vaginas. For the first time in modern political history, a re-election campaign was not about the incumbent, but the challenger.
It worked, obviously, and here the President sits with a long list of campaign promises to fulfill. The President ignored his promises and previous criticisms of war and increased drone strikes. The President ignored immigration, gun control, education, and the teeth of his energy and healthcare promises. With the recent shootings in Aurora and Sandy Hook, the President and his advisors could not let this serious crisis "go to waste," so he thrust the beginning of his administration onto the most difficult of policy issues: gun control.
Now the campaign must return, and his former top campaign spokesman, Stephanie Cutter, assures the American people that the campaign has been "activated." President Obama cannot sell his issues as the President, but he can sell his policies very effectively as a campaigner. So that's what he's going to do and he's using his very successful campaign structure to do it.
Obama for America, the most effective campaign organization in modern Presidential history, announced today that it is changing to a non-profit called "Organizing for Action." The group will be lead by Obama's former campaign Chair, Jim Messina. First Lady Michelle Obama released a video calling for the committed Obama campaign supporters to rengage with the President and push his policies -- and donate money.
The White House official website has always bordered on the campaign-side since the President took office, but parts of it have turned into a full-blown propaganda hub, delivering the President's talking points in OfA's classic bullet point fashion. Want to know the President's plan for limiting violence? Why have a long statement or legislation written by policy wonks posted when you can have 10 talking points with animation behind them?
The President will return to the campaign trail going state to state to make the case that 10 rounds of ammunition are safer than 11 rounds in a magazine. His policies are a hard sell to the American people, but if the President can get through a majority of his gun policies with this strategy, it will be a signal that the rest of his extreme policies will not be hindered.
This campaign apparatus will be useful in running damage control for the administration as well. The campaign network used "Fight the Smears," "Attack Watch," "the Obama Truth Team," and the flag your friends strategy to give Obama's followers talking points on claims by the opposing side.
Imagine the White House or OfA sending out talking points on the Benghazi scandal. An email will now pop in your inbox that reads: "Are your friends blaming the President or the State Department for the loss of life in Benghazi? Get the facts below!" Several talking points will list how the President has demanded that the terrorists be accounted for, the findings of the Accountability Review Board, and a few quotes by policy "experts" on MSNBC.
If you are one of those people who took a deep breath on November 7th because finally, after two years, the nonsense of the campaign was over, this Administration has bad news for you. The real campaign is only starting. And this campaign will not determine who governs, it will determine how you are allowed to live.
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