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Comparing political opponents you don't like to Hitler is so passť. For Republicans, if they really want to get under the skin of Democrats, they should use a much more heinous individual to them. Karl Rove has seemingly figured it out:
President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is now up and operating. It's an interesting amalgam: Tactically, it's Bushian?but strategically, it's Nixonian.
That's right...Rove just dropped the Democrat-dreaded "N-bomb" on Obama. The truth is that Rove's analysis is an interesting and intellectual one, and one that - if the Obamabots could get past their deranged hatred of the man - would provide the current president's re-election team something to seriously consider. But they won't. And that could be disastrous for them in 2012. Rove explains:
But Mr. Obama is making a mistake by following the advice of President Richard Nixon, who argued White House hopefuls must run to their party's flank in the primary and tack back to the center for the general election. While Mr. Obama doesn't face a primary challenge, the White House is worried about the intensity of the Democratic base and feels compelled to feed it red meat now.
This bit of conventional wisdom assumes two things. First, that ordinary voters aren't paying attention now (they are). And second, that veering hard left in 2011 won't limit Mr. Obama's appeal in 2012 (it will). Many swing voters are repelled by the class-warfare rhetoric Mr. Obama uses to fire up the Democratic base. Appealing to envy is usually not a winning formula.
Impressions once created are hard to change. When they do, change is often accompanied by disappointment, as evidenced by what's happened since those hope-filled days of 2008, when independents believed Mr. Obama meant it when he pledged to lead us into new era of post-partisanship.
Rove points out that Obama - unlike Nixon at the time - is in trouble on the issues. Economy approval 39%. Deficit approval 33%. Healthcare approval 37%. This means that while Nixon was operating his strategy from a position of electoral strength, Obama is not.
Mr. Obama's Nixonian strategy will do nothing to change these numbers. Instead, it risks permanently alienating independents, soft Republicans, and a few Democrats who dislike his appeal to the hard left. Savaging the GOP's deficit-reduction plan as "radical" and "nothing serious" may fire up Daily Kos bloggers and gratify Nancy Pelosi. But it's likely to turn off swing voters.
The president will face no serious Democratic primary opponent, and it will be at least next March or April before the GOP settles on its candidate. So while Mr. Obama does need to raise funds and build a grass-roots network in battleground states, he did not need to abandon his role as chief executive for campaigner-in-chief quite so quickly.
But he has and now he is being made to look silly for it. Silly and irresponsible. Rove goes on to outline the other option that was available to Mr. Obama. But ultimately that's mere hindsight. The President has proven himself, above all else, to be stubbornly convinced that he is the smartest guy in the room. No chance he'll be taking any advice from someone like Karl Rove.
That may be the best thing Republicans could have hoped for.