Brand Obama seeks emotional traction

Brand Obama is quite capable of losing to Brand Romney in November. What was once thought impossible is now within reach. Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

Obama’s campaign struggles to find emotional traction.

His campaign managers tried fear and ‘security’ (See Action Man Obama Protects?) ‘Obama, the commander-in-chief who did what others could not—kill Osama bin Laden.’ He surely ought to get some credit for that. Apparently not.

When his opponents got wind of the plan to release a movie about that night in Pakistan, May 20th, 2011—Zero Dark Thirty— just before the election, the studio was obliged to move it back to December.

His campaign team must be disappointed. Zero Dark Thirty morphs into Dark Knight Rising. Obama, like Batman, keeping America safe from evil.

The trailer doesn’t look promising though. Having an interrogator repeatedly scream ‘When was the last time you saw bin Laden?’ risks the audience answering: actually, I’ve only ever seen him on a screen.

In any event, assassinating a man long thought to be dead, who was convicted of no crime (while the actual accused ‘mastermind’ of 9/11, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, faces trial in Guantanamo), in another sovereign country, without going to the trouble of presenting proof of his death to the public, is precisely the sort of thing that has alienated his original supporters. The plot is unbelievable.

No, ‘security’ does not suit Obama.

Americans fear economic ruin more than they fear terrorism. America is not a country, it’s a branded corporation and it’s going out of business.

Obama’s gaffe that the private sector is doing ‘just fine‘ does not inspire confidence—except in the Romney camp: “How Can President Obama Fix Our Economy … If He Doesn’t Understand It’s Broken?”

‘Give me another 4 years and I’ll sort out this mess’ attracts nothing but derision.

The problem is that presidential elections have less to do with democracy and more to do with American ‘leadership’ and its corollary, followership.

The essence of American leadership is to have ‘vision’.

Candidates vie with each other over their vision of the America’s future. They claim to see something which isn’t apparent to ordinary mortals. This gives them a prophetic or mystical character. That, presumably, is why they’re leaders.

They’ve got to be able to translate their vision into a plausible narrative and achievable goals, i.e., a plan.

Here is Obama’s:

Here is Romney on leadership:

But, to paraphrase a notorious villain, do they really look like guys with a plan?

When we grasp that US presidential leadership is a model for leadership throughout the land, we begin to get a sense of the scale of the economic crisis in the States. That’s a lot of followship and passivity.

America may be afraid now, but it will take only a small shove to turn that fear into panic bordering on hysteria.

This is not going to end well.

Campaign 2012: So What’s With All the Slogans?

21012 Presidential Race. OpenSecrets

2 thoughts on “Brand Obama seeks emotional traction

  1. Greg Rogers says:

    Very interesting post. I stumbled on an interesting site recently called 90 DAYS, 90 REASONS (, which is a grasssroots initiative full of emotion-laden essays from famous Americans, explaining why they feel one should vote for Obama.

    Once of my favourite essays is from comedian Patton Oswalt. He can be a bit vulgar by times (warning), but I think that his message is interesting and insightful, particularly the line “Fear is the fuel, and nothing frightens them more than people who aren’t fueled by fear.”

  2. Pingback: Brand Romney Takes Flight « The Business of Emotions

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