Stuart Stevens was the chief strategist for Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign, the man who came up with his strongest messaging, and the man blamed whenever Romney failed to rise in the polls. Yesterday he got space in the Washington Post to rebut a week or so of Republicans piling on his candidate, portraying him as some uniquely heartless goofball. Romney's loss was not personal, says Stevens. It was structural.
There was a time not so long ago when the problems of the Democratic Party revolved around being too liberal and too dependent on minorities. Obama turned those problems into advantages and rode that strategy to victory. But he was a charismatic African American president with a billion dollars, no primary and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. How easy is that to replicate?
Had anyone else said this, it would have been received as spicy conventional wisdom. Because Stevens said it, there's some predictable eyebrow-raising about the idea that the media went easy on Obama, and that a future, non-black Democratic candidate will have trouble winning such a victory for liberalism. I think he's mostly right, but I emailed Stevens to ask about social issues. Hadn't opinion on birth control and gay marriage moved Democrats' way, for good?
"[Obama's] was the only presidential campaign in modern history to run ads on abortion," said Stevens. About $50 million worth. And free contraception. He became the first President elected since WWII advocating a massive tax increase. He pushed, defended and spent a fortune (in the Hispanic community) advocating Obamacare. He organized his AA turnout operations and messaging around the message, 'They are trying to take your vote away.'"
It really is tough to see -- let's pick a name at random -- Andrew Cuomo psyching up black Democrats the way that Obama did.
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.
Why all cracker names sound alike.
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.