August 15, 2011

Obama Still Letting GOP Define Terms

Obama hay


Bachmann hay


Tim Pawlenty hay


Herb Cain hay



Update:  Maybe this bears a little more explanation.  Yes, in part this is tongue-in-cheek. However, what we’ve famously seen from Obama is his tacking rightward, continually adopting the terms and agenda, including the buzzwords and framing of the GOP. Visually here, we’re seeing nothing much different. Obviously, the big buzz  — because the media loves the horserace, even if nobody is ever going to remember the 2011 Ames Straw Poll — has been Iowa, and the GOP candidates, in front of barns, hay bales, corn fields, cattle pens and the like.

What the Dems keep hoping for, in contrast, is for Obama to establish his own narrative about what’s wrong with the economy, with his own, more progressive agenda to impress upon the American people.  So here we are, after the massive, “no-revenue” compromise with the GOP over the budget, and Obama has still another chance to reset.  And what kind of setting and backdrop does the White House choose to model/signal/distinguish what’s on the Democratic horizon?

Just like most-every-other initiative, the Administrations’s reflex is not to emphasize a difference.  Instead, what we get is an Obama bus, just like the Bachmann bus or the Perry bus or the Pawlenty bus, and we get Obama flocking to the heartland and the hay bales, adopting the very visual signature this week and in the coming weeks, that shouts out: “GOP” —  like the President might as well be another-in-a-line, wannabe-be, GOP “choke-the-government” deficit barker pitching the crowd last Friday at the Iowa State Fair.  I mean, Michael Deaver, looking at Obama with the hay bales, must be laughing from the grave.

He even had his own heckler, just like Romney!

…And yes, the people in the first photo, above, don’t look very happy.

(Note: replaced Romney photo from New Hampshire with Romney on Friday. photo 1: Jason Reed/Reuters caption: U.S. President Barack Obama stands in front of participants during a town hall-style event at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa, August 15, 2011. Obama blasted Republicans over taxes on Monday as he launched a bus tour of the U.S. Midwest to tout his job-growth strategy and distance himself from anger toward Washington that could dent his 2012 re-election hopes. .photo 2: Charles Dharapak / AP caption: Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., campaigns at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, Aug. 12, 2011. photo 3 & 4: Charles Dharapak / AP. photo 5: Jim Young/Reuters. caption: U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney listens to questions after delivering a speech at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, August 11, 2011. photo 6 & 7: Jason Reed/Reuters. caption:  U.S. President Barack Obama steps aboard his bus after lunch with five post-9/11 Minnesota veterans at Old Market Deli in Cannon Falls, Minnesota August 15, 2011. Obama is traveling on a bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. photo 7 caption: Ryan Rhodes (C) from the Iowa Tea Party Revolution argues with U.S. President Barack Obama (R, back to camera) during a town hall-style event at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa August 15, 2011. )

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Michael Shaw
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