Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, July 9, 2012 10:30 pm

Projection: Mark Halperin edition

Good Christ, I have never seen a more worthless waste of a carbon-based life form, let alone a job in journalism:

Once again, we have an incumbent running in an environment so brutal that he can’t win an up-or-down referendum on his term.

Your liberal media, ladies and gentlemen.

Thus, Obama, like Bush, has to make the election a choice between two options and disqualify the other option.

We are in a radically different politico-media age than we were just eight years ago, so the metrics for measuring whether such an effort is working have been transformed. Still, there are some aspects of the Swift Boating that don’t seem to be present for the Democrats, at least not yet.

The Swift Boat line of attack went along the info-news conveyor belt from some limited paid media and a book, to right-leaning earned media, to cable news, to the broadcast networks and major print publications. So far, that hasn’t happened with the Obama attack. New media allows the Democrats on their own to spread the message through literally hundreds of platforms, but that doesn’t mean it will take over big-time earned media and dominate the campaign discourse, the way Swift Boats did.

Well, that’s a fascinating bit of horse-race speculation, which is to say it’s both wrong AND worthless. And here’s the tell on where Halperin’s loyalties really lie (as if there were any doubt):

(I should make clear: this post is about the politics of bringing down a rival. It is NOT meant to adjudicate the accuracy, relevance, or fairness of the two attacks.)

Of course not. Because 1) that would be actual, you know, journalism, which Mark Halperin simply Does Not Do; and 2) the conclusion inevitably resulting from such an adjudication would leave Romney screwed. In fact, I think it would be fair to say that he would be, if I may quote one of America’s foremost pundits, “running in an environment so brutal that he can’t win an up-or-down referendum.”




  1. You are right on, of course, about the lack of journalism, but I agree with Halperin’s speculation that Obama stands a better chance if the argument is a choice of two options versus a referendum on his term. (Which isn’t to say that I don’t think he could make a case with his strengths(1), just that it will be more of a challenge than the compare-and-contrast with Romney which seems to be working for now.(2)

    (1) It is my expectation that Obama will shift to this approach at the convention (probably in the face of a Romney lead in national polls, with the Republican getting a boost from his party’s convention a week before. much as McCain did in 2008.(3)

    (2) Link:

    (3) Link:

    Comment by Roch — Wednesday, July 18, 2012 12:15 am @ 12:15 am

  2. Well, since I wrote that a week ago and I have since been proved right and Halperin wrong about the message, I’m gonna leave it as is. It’s a long campaign and a lot of things can happen, but my point was that Halperin was writing that the Bain thing wasn’t going to resonate, when in fact it already had begun to. He’s out of touch.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, July 18, 2012 12:21 am @ 12:21 am

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