Thingish Things

What the Joe Soptic Ad Says about President Obama

Written By: Bill Lalor - Aug• 09•12

You’ve probably already seen it:  The Joe Soptic ad is a classic “smear” meant to reinforce the Obama campaign’s portrayal of Eeeeevil Mitt Romney as a heartless corporate raider who doesn’t care about you, or whether you die of cancer.

The ad is ridiculous and basically indefensible, because it’s stuffed with lies

Did anyone expect the intensity of the backlash?  And would the backlash have happened in 2008?

Those are questions for later.  At the moment, it’s the month of August and the presidential election is about 90 days away.   August is when presidential candidates are trying to stake out big themes and top-level talking points, and this ad was an attempt to define Mitt Romney.

But the ad says more about President Obama than it does about Romney. The ad confirms, I think, what many independent-minded voters believe or at least suspect about President Obama: he’s been a failure, and frequently an embarrassment.

More to the point is that independents in particular tend to see this kind of negativity and character assassination as the last resort of failed incumbents who can’t defend what they’ve done in office.  Such things exasperate independents.

Menacing Laugh Menacing Laugh

The Soptic ad is quintessentially a character assassination, and it’s low-brow trash by Presidential standards, so while it might please the left, for independents, I suspect, it flagrant and tasteless enough that it will only confirm the worst suspicions about the President: he’s a un-Presidential Chicagoland yokel, he was full of gas in 2008, and he has no business occupying the White House.   It also hits one of Obama’s remaining (but fading) strengths: basic likeability. (How many voters really give Obama a pass because the ad was run by a surrogate?)

In a month when the campaigns are looking to set forth election themes, the Soptic ad might have permanently done just that:  by tattooing President Obama – and again, my focus here is independents – as a desperate, angry and nasty incumbent lashing out because his own record, like the Soptic ad, is basically indefensible.

If the tempest persists, the Soptic ad might prove to incredibly damaging to President Obama’s re-election hopes.

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