Saturday, May 12, 2012

Did Obama 'Define' Romney?

Define being a polite word for swiftboating that is.

Because if he did, as the headline suggests, it is an image, that of obnoxious, privileged frat boy, that just doesn't go away. Some could argue it was an error of youth, and some could argue that whatever did take place back in 1965, is an insight into Romney's true essence.

Image of Romney Violently Cutting the Hair of a Gay Classmate Won't Go Away
Mark Karlin
11 May 2012

In early 2004, BuzzFlash at Truthout wrote a commentary advising Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to define Bush early or be defeated. The title of the BuzzFlash opinion piece was, "BuzzFlash Message to John Kerry: It's the Golden Hour of Opportunity, Define Bush or Be Defined by Him. There is No Option 'B.'"

Kerrey apparently didn't read BuzzFlash, because he got "Swiftboated" early and never regained his footing.

With a large dollop of help from the Washington Post, the 2012 Obama campaign appears to be using the basic strategy that the GOP has successfully used for decades in presidential elections: bring out negative (or in the case of the Republicans, usually create) characteristics of your opponent and hammer them home early. Indeed, make the character issue so strong that many voters stop processing the issues.

The Post, as almost every reader of BuzzFlash knows by now, published a surprisingly detailed account of Mitt Romney's private high school record of homophobic harassment (although there were other elements to the story, but this was the lead and the major part of the article). A Chicago Tribune story on the Post report reveals the ripple impact of Romney's bullying as depicted in the image of its opening paragraph:

As a student at Cranbrook in 1965, Mitt Romney led a group of classmates in an attack on another student who was held down while Romney clipped off his long blonde hair with scissors, the Washington post reported today, quoting other students who participated in the incident.

The timing of the posting of the story online (Thursday morning), after President Obama announced his personal support for gay marriage on Wednesday afternoon, dealt a major challenge to the perception of Romney's character. It contrasted an Obama (who went out of his way to say that his being a Christian was a basis for his latest gay marriage position) on the side of embracing people versus Romney having an underlying hateful intolerance, undercutting the amiable "successful" guy in jeans image his campaign has cultivated.

BuzzFlash proposes a hypothesis here, just speculation, but it runs counter to the corporate mainstream media conventional wisdom that Biden made a gaffe in supporting gay marriage (as did Secretary of Education Arne Duncan) -- and that Obama was "forced into" his position.

We offer another theory: that the Obama and Romney campaigns knew about the article at least a couple of weeks ago (not many stories this politically hot remain secret in DC). The Obama campaign orchestrated a path toward the president's endorsement of gay marriage throwing up trial balloons with the statements of Biden and Duncan, and that when the WH learned that the WP article would be posted on Thursday rushed the planned Obama gay marriage "endorsement" to contrast it with the image of Romney's thuggish anti-gay forced haircut of a classmate.

BuzzFlash can only offer this as speculation, but if it's true, maybe the Democrats have learned the importance of defining their opponents early.

After all, if you want to know how effective this sequencing was, just look at the Romney campaign trying to run away from the Post story as quickly as possible. They say their candidate wants to talk about the economy.

The pro-bullying crowd is already a subset of Romney's base, and this searing and haunting image from his high school years is likely to turn off independents and Republican gays in a visceral way. It also energizes Obama's base, many of whom are disappointed in his progressive concessions as president.

We'd bet that most people who resented the school bullies don't buy that they stopped being bullies as they became adults.

Maybe Democratic presidential campaigns have finally gotten the message: define your opposition early, and keep reinforcing negative character traits. buzzflash


Anonymous said...

“The family of John Lauber is releasing a statement saying the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda. There will be no more comments from the family,” she said.

“Even if it did happen, John probably wouldn’t have said anything,” Christine Lauber said.

“If he were still alive today, he would be furious [about the story],” she said with tears in her eyes.

Anyhow, Romney’s "I don’t remember that incident" is strange. It seems unlikely that he doesn’t remember if he did or did not do it. That’s telling. M

Himself said...

I like your logic, you have it in a nutshell.

Anyhow, Romney’s "I don’t remember that incident" is strange. It seems unlikely that he doesn’t remember if he did or did not do it. That’s telling. M

Yanky politics, isn't it trite?

Anonymous said...

Mary Charlene‏@IamEnidColeslaw

My band's name is White Shame. We sing about Mitt Romney a lot.

Himself said...

Coincidently I just re-tweeted that.

Mary Charlene ‏@IamEnidColeslaw

Purposely crashed into a car whose license plate said SWAGGRR. When the officer got there he wrote HIM a ticket & let me shoot his gun!

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

Good morning Chuck.

I think it's all here:

According to Mitt the U.S. should have the world's biggest military. According to reality, the United States could cut its military by two-thirds and have the world's biggest military. Military spending has increased every year that Bush or Obama has been president.

Romney says a bigger military means fewer wars. Eisenhower's prediction of 51 years ago, and the past 51 years worth of evidence, says the opposite: the military creates momentum for wars, planning for wars, and neglect of alternatives to war.

As for who would vote for Romney? well I just despair.

Anonymous said...

and more animal issues

Himself said...

Just getting ready to go out, but I shall definitely look at the dogs thing, I think there may be some mileage in that one.

And the bird! well it's just too funny for words.

By the by, I tried to buy some seeds today, but no credit cards or paypal accepted, only some obscure European thingees.


Anonymous said...

Romney blocked anti-bullying guide as Mass. governor over mention of "bisexual," "transgender"

Himself said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'll research the market and will let you know ASAP M :*

Himself said...

In your own time Maren, no rush.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, those silly wives.

"We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life." – Ann Romney


For the record, to Me you are ALL "you people".

Anonymous said...


I doubt Mitt Romney's abilities as a leader because this Akin dude has still not been executed.

Anonymous said...

Mitt Romney on Obama voters

Himself said...

"Vote for Mitt your caring President"

Then fuck off and die.

I wouldn't mind so much, but he's talking about a welfare system that compared to the European model, looks like a pogrom.

The USA is one hard uncaring place if ever there was. Perhaps that's one of the reasons there never seems to be any sympathy for the millions of US victims around the world.

Or could it be, that they are stupid, shallow and selfish?

Himself said...

Forgive me, I haven't sent you my facilitations this morning dear heart.

Or could it be, that they are stupid, shallow and selfish?

The Oprah Christmas give away clip just sprang to mind, I know you remember it, it's impossible to forget.

Himself said...

The full monty.