Bumper stickers are supposed to carry the ultimate crystallization of a political campaign’s message. That’s why the arrival of my Barack Obama bumper sticker in the mail caused me to worry anew about whether Obama’s messaging operation is up to the difficult task ahead of it.
The bumper sticker that I got in the mail in recognition of my modest contribution to the Obama campaign simply read “2012,” with the swooshy “O” logo and website url. That’s it.
To me, that says the Obama communications team is not sure what to say to motivate swing voters. Because simply stating the election year does absolutely no framing, messaging, or motivating.
This is a team that used to be pretty darn good at bumper sticker messaging. “Hope,” “Change,” “Yes, We Can.”
Now their message is reduced to a “hold the date” reminder. Really gets the old adrenalin flowing.
Granted, messaging is much easier when you are a challenger running in a discontented country than an incumbent running in a discontented country. Therefore, it stands to reason that messaging was easier for Obama then than now.
But how about at least trying to frame the overall election choice?
Or a bookend set:
Obama’s army of talented message gurus can do better than these lame directional examples, and better than “2012.” Yes they can.