November 3rd, 2012

Looking backward at the Obama campaign: August 22, 2012

This is absolutely fascinating (hat tip: Steven Hayward at Powerline). The date of the article is August 22, 2012, and we get a glimpse into the mastermind of the Obama campaign, David Axelrod [emphasis mine]:

“The summer is when candidates and races get defined. That’s why we made a strategic decision that it was better to muscle up in the summer…

Many in Obama’s inner circle also believe that Obama is the more likable, Reagan-like figure who can remake his party and the nation’s policies. They see Romney as far more like Carter, who never wore well with his party, was prone to awkwardness, and won the nomination by default. They also doubt any comparison to the economic doldrums of then and now and any possibility of a late-breaking shift of Democratic and undecided voters to Romney (as happened with Reagan).

“They have this fantasy that the debates will come and the dam will break like it did in 1980,” Axelrod said. “I think they are delusional.”

There’s no question that such a shift occurred. The only question is whether it will have been enough to elect Romney, or whether Obama will hold on. But the “delusional” one appears to have been Axelrod, when he discounted even the possibility of such a change in voter attitude.

There’s much, much more. For example:

“It’s like that line from that Richard Pryor movie,” Axelrod says. “ ‘Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes? People trust their lying eyes. They’re not going to believe the [Romney] ads. They know who [Obama] is. You try to runs ads suggesting that he’s corrupt; they know he’s not corrupt. You try to run ads saying he doesn’t care about the state of the economy; it didn’t move anything. You can’t tell people what they’re not willing to believe and expect it to work. You’re not going to tell them what their lying eyes tell them.”

Projection, anyone?

Well worth reading the whole thing.

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m not counting any chickens in this election. My stomach has been mildly queasy for days, and I will be shaking with nerves on election night, so nervous I might have trouble turning on my TV. I say that not to emphasize my own cowardice, but to underline how incredibly important I feel this election is, and how close it seems to be.

40 Responses to “Looking backward at the Obama campaign: August 22, 2012”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    Cher Neo:

    Dilegua, o notte!
    Tramontate, stelle!
    Tramontate, stelle!
    All’alba vincerò!
    vincerò, vincerò!

  2. Paul in Boston Says:

    “It’s like that line from that Richard Pryor movie,” Axelrod says. “ ‘Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?

    That’s a Groucho Marx line. No wonder Obama is losing.

    Richard Pryor’s greatest line is “Cocaine is God’s way of telling you that you have too much money.” Probably more appropriate …

  3. James Says:

    Landslide Romney! Never a doubt!

  4. mizpants Says:

    You need to start drinking. I vaguely recall you writing some years ago that there was something alcoholic you once had a sip of and enjoyed. Whatever it is, I think all of us commenters should chip in and send you a case!

  5. br549 Says:

    Vote for revenge.

    One of the most presidential lines I have ever heard.

    I figured the riot threats would come this election cycle, and said so about 4 years ago. I didn’t really think there would be so many as I have seen across the ‘net though. Perhaps we rerally are in for some change ’round here.

  6. baltimoron Says:

    I had something clever to say, but paul beat me to it.

    Anyway, I’ve always found it funny how people who are in trouble always try to go back in time to when things seemed to be going well for them. Read through the article and in big ways (overestimating the good will Obama has among independent voters) and small ones (comparing Paul Ryan to Sarah Palin?!) the Obama campaign was clearly trying to relive 2008.

  7. sergey Says:

    Most real changes in a society usually occur below radar, they are not mentioned in media and escape sociologists and pollsters. When they became evident, it is always a surprise. Elections are such rare moments when already occurred change surfaces and in hindsight looks natural and even inevitable. But not before! So I am nervous, too. Not because I think that presidents can do much for good or for bad, but because the results of election will show if USA is going to overcome present problems or the society is beyond repair, and only terminal decline lies ahead. I do not know it now, but will be after results would be announced.

  8. kcom Says:

    If it’s any consolation, the election wonk Michael Barone believes Mitt Romney will win comfortably. I think that’s a reasonable outcome, too. I’m not assuming it will go that way, but I’m comfortable enough not to feel nervous yet.

  9. M of Hollywood Says:

    Can the nice person who made a chat room for debate #2 make one for Tuesday night starting at least 15 minutes to Ohio? the URL could be announced on Tuesday in some appropriate convo-thread that surely will be there for us here on neo neo.

  10. T Says:


    Perhaps some philosphical antacid for your queasiness.

    An excerpt from Romney’s Wisconsin speech (H/T

    Americans don’t settle. We build, we aspire, we listen to that voice inside that says, “We can do better.” A better job; a better life for our kids; a bigger, better country.

    That better life is out there, waiting for us. Our destiny is in your hands.

    He (his campaign) understands. It’s his final appeal to the risk-taking proclivities of our American DNA. The Denver debate gave lie to the Obama position that Romney was a sea monster and now, like Columbus, Romney is recruiting us to set sail with him.

    Trust in that exceptional American DNA and believe, as I do, that this election is 2010 “deja vue all over again!”

  11. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I too believe that Romney will win and win big. If Romney does win big, anyone care to bet against Axelrod adamantly denying that he engaged in projection?

    Which actually is a good thing, there’s a tactical advantage to your opponent being deeply in denial of reality. Not a chance that they will face up to the fundamental cognitive dissonance that underlies their world view.

    Nor is Axelrod the only one, Geraldo lost it the other night, shouting and literally trembling (I don’t think he was acting) calling the emerging Benghazi narrative “an obscene lie”, better than most liberals Geraldo senses the threat that the truth about Benghazi poses, not just to Obama but to the public’s basic trust in democrat’s conducting foreign policy.

    Face the truth? Nope, not going to happen.

  12. Obama wants you to Vote for Revenge, Romney for Love of Country; and Saturday Links! Says:

    […] over at Neo-Neocon has up a great blog post on “Looking backward at the Obama campaign: August 22, 2012′. It’s pretty […]

  13. effess Says:

    Re Paul of Boston’s comment:

    “It’s like that line from that Richard Pryor movie,” Axelrod says. “ ‘Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?

    That’s a Groucho Marx line. No wonder Obama is losing.

    No surprise. That’s never the Marx in Axelrod & Co’s thinking.

  14. effess Says:

    Just received this reminder:

    Important reminder: Don’t forget to change your clocks tonight and your president on Tuesday

  15. Jim Sullivan Says:

    Geoffrey Britain,

    I saw Geraldo Rivera the other night and the only thing worse than him, IMHO, was O’Reilly’s acceptance of some of his arguments, “…we’re past that, I agree, blah, blah, blah…”, in response to Geraldo’s mouth-foaming “defense” of the “obscene lie”. Bill was still critical, of course, but he still accepted much of Geraldo’s drivel.

    But then, O’Reilly has always been a sham, I guess.

  16. T Says:

    Jim Sullivan,

    I don’t necessarily think O’Reilly is a sham, but he does play personal favorites. He likes Rivera, sided with him against Michelle Malkin, he likes Kimberly Guilfoyle, Lis Wiehl not so much. He absolutely adores Megan Kelly.

    Just watch how he responds to those regulars on the other side of the table. No secrets there.

  17. Jim Sullivan Says:


    I guess I don’t watch him enough to see that. And I can’t blame him for adoring Megan Kelly. She’s on my list of celebrities I am allowed to sleep with should they ever ask, a la the TV show Friends.

  18. Ron Says:

    Vote for revenge? Is that why we vote?

    Methinks he’s a day late and a dollar short.

    I’m voting for FREEDOM!

  19. kaba Says:

    A Obama win would seal the fate of this republic. A narrow Romney win in several key swing states will also be problematic.

    We will probably not know the outcome of this election on Tuesday night. And I think it extremely likely we may not get a final decision for several days or even weeks.

  20. T Says:


    My research, superficial though it is, has made me believe for the past 6 months that Romney will take PA and Ohio. I’ve always thought that Romney would take NC, FL and VA, and Suffolk polling does too–they stopped polling those latter three states crediting them to Romney two weeks ago. I think that Romney will also take WI (and I’m hoping MI with the Detroit Free Press endorsement and the Iacocca endorsement).

    I see three possibilities:
    1) a Romney rout
    2) a close Romney win
    3) a close Obama win.

    My money is on the first scenario and I feel very strongly that we will know the outcome of this election by the time the predictions reach the eastern shore of the Mississippi River. I’ve written before, my best guess, Romney 55% of the popular vote and 320 or more electoral votes when all is said and done.

  21. KLSmith Says:

    Believe it or not but, Bill O’Reilly reminds of Obama sometimes. Clueless, arrogant, and condescending.
    When I first starting watching Fox I liked him but now he just drives me crazy.
    He has the prime evening hour on Fox and does a pretty poor job explaining conservative principles. He’s socially conservative but not fiscally conservative. He’s a populist (in the bad sense of the word) and interrupts his guests too much.

  22. kaba Says:

    I truly pray that you’re right T Says.

    I live in Florida and have been in the same neighborhood for the last 24 years. Romney/Ryan signs are as common as azalea bushes here and I’m seeing them in yards where I’ve never seen any political signs. Romney will win Florida handily.

    There are two areas of concern; massive voter fraud by the dems. And prolonged recounts in any swing state that is close.

  23. Teri Pittman Says:

    If there’s no enthusiasm for Obama in Washington state, then it’s pretty much gone everywhere. I took a look at the Presidential Race maps at RCP the other day. Take a look at the current map and the 2000 map. That’s what this election looks like. (And yeah, I know that one was a nail biter. I suspect that Romney will do better than Bush.)

  24. Biagio Bruno Says:

    It’s interesting that Axelrod misidentified the quote, and also very fitting. “Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?” is the original quote from Duck Soup. The line was delivered by Chico as Chicolini, while Chicolini was disguised as Rufus T. Firefly, Groucho’s character.

    Sorta sums up the entire Obama political experience, doesn’t it?

  25. kcom Says:

    There ought to be standard scale to measure how far journalists are in the tank – like a gas tank.

    For instance –

    F (ull)
    E (mpty)

    I assume Geraldo is Full, although from listening to parts of his radio show a few times lately (which I just discovered where I live) it seems he at least can think logically in some way.

    Chris Matthews is definitely Full (perhaps overflowing) as is Lawrence O’Donnell. Jake Tapper is rather farther down towards Empty. I wonder where the others fall.

  26. Mr. Frank Says:

    I’ve been thinking that the Democrat popular vote is going to take a hit because of the people in the New York/New Jersey area who can’t or won’t bother to vote. Throw in some people pissed because the government is not helping them and you have lots of people who usually vote Democrat not voting. Obama will still win New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, but his vote will be down. That may increase the chance of Romney winning the national popular vote. That would make it hard for Obama to claim any kind of mandate.

  27. RandomThoughts Says:

    There’s so much apropos irony in Axelrod wrongly attributing the wit of an iconic white American comedian to a lesser black comedian who is remembered primarily for using drugs and setting himself on fire. You just can’t make this stuff up, folks. The entire Obama administration really is a mindblowing combination of arrogance and ignorance.

  28. s1c Says:

    Can understand the upset stomach, the daughter has been doing polling in the battle ground states and tells me 50/50 from her perspective. That worries me, but then she’s only doing the calling or supervising the calling, not working up the final numbers. Myself, I think I’m gonna find a nice quiet bar where I can either drink to oblivion if “the one” wins or have a toast to a new president, if only I could find a nice republican bar in CT.

  29. Sam L. Says:

    I’m voting in revenge for what the O’s done to America.

  30. Don Carlos Says:

    Mr. Frank:
    You misunderestimate Baraq. He can and has claimed anything and everything.
    He is an abomination, which characterization extends to his running dogs. If he wins by fair or foul, the Perpetual Victim Class will ascend to the America of their dreams.

  31. RandomThoughts Says:

    An interesting note to voting here on the Left Coast: I serve as a poll inspector, and recently went through a refresher training session. In ’08 we were told to have everyone whose name did not appear on the Master Voter Roster (i.e. the big book of registered voters’ names and addresses) vote provisionally (their ballot gets put in a special envelope, not fed into the regular electronically counted ballot box). We had a LOT of provisional votes, a shocking number of people who had no idea where their designated polling place was (God himself only knew if they were even registered at all). The majority of these voters only wanted to vote for president–they did not want to vote for anything else on the ballot.

    I’ll let you surmise for whom they cast their vote.

    This time the official from the Election Division told us to discourage provisional voting, to do everything possible to direct the voters to the polling place assigned to their specific address.

    The processing and validation of those provisional ballots in ’08 was apparently…problematic.

    Personally I don’t expect a repeat of 2008’s voting on any level.

  32. libertywolf Says:

    I am also going to be biting my nails through election night. I have no idea who will win, but we have a very, very good chance! I don’t take anything for granted though, even if Romney is ahead in the early voting – last I heard. I believe, as you do Neo, that this election is very, very important. And, so much turns on the outcome. If Obama wins… I shudder to think what happens next. Where we will be in four years… it can’t be good. Here’s to a victory! It is certainly possible…

  33. Terry Gain Says:

    A couple of years ago I used the expression Obama Arrangement Syndrome to describe the practice of the Media twisting and spinning the news to make Obama out to be some sort of genius. Neo picked up and commented on this expression.

    I now offer the acronym BICOM to describe the media. Next Tuesday, the nation will save itself from further debasement and pain by electing Mitt Romney in a landslide that will shock liberals from sea to sea. Liberals will be shocked because they relied upon the push polls published by the Biased Incompetent Corrupt Obamaphilic Media.

  34. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    You gave my heart a skip with the Detroit Freep endorsement, except they endorsed Obama.
    Don’t do that to me again, please.

  35. T Says:


    Then I am confused (what’s new?).I saw reports last week that a Detroit paper endorsed Romney. Is there another? I will check and correct. I really DO try to be very accurate.

    My face is red! Sorry!

  36. T Says:


    It was The Detroit News noit the Free Press

    Abject apologies all around.

  37. Don Carlos Says:

    If Romney wins (Allah willing), I await with dread the upcoming lame duck period.
    And the Obamas will be even more rapacious in depleting the White House of physical assets than the Clintons.

  38. Occam's Beard Says:

    If Romney wins (Allah willing), I await with dread the upcoming lame duck period.

    Think of it as the pain associating with reducing a fracture before setting the bone.

  39. Sarah Says:

    Don Carlos

    Not lame duck. MAD duck.

  40. Julia NYC Says:

    Romney landslide. Can’t help it. Just think it’s gonna happen. Obama seems so over. His ‘bots of course will vote for him because they think Repubs are evil. But I can’t help but think its gonna be Romney all the way.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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