Every election is analogized to some prior election to discern patterns and help predict unpredictable outcomes. More often than not the split in analysis is between a repeat of 2004, where a flawed incumbent eeks out a close victory, or 1992, where a flawed economic recovery dooms the incumbent. I have previously argued the anemic economic recovery actually looks closer to 1992 when comparing the monthly jobs reports. What struck me today is the Obama campaign is practically mirroring the Bush 92 campaign by stoking the culture wars in an effort to distract from his failed economic policies — right down to its national convention.
Famously George HW Bush got steam-rolled at his own convention by Pat Buchanan’s “culture wars” speech, dividing the country against one another. That wasn’t really part of Bush’s DNA but it was his only card left to play after the fiscal conservatives abandoned him for raising taxes.
Today, the National Journal takes an in-depth look at the upcoming Democrat Convention and I can’t help but marvel how its theme is an inverse carbon-copy of the GOP convention in 1992 that alienated the “middle” of American voters:
Democratic Convention To Highlight Abortion Rights, Women’s Health, Equal Pay
Sandra Fluke, Lily Ledbetter and leading proponents of abortion rights are on the roster at the Charlotte convention.
The leaders of the two largest abortion rights groups in the country are among a slew of prominent women expected to escalate attacks on Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s positions on women’s issues at the upcoming Democratic convention.
The Democratic National Convention Committee on Wednesday was releasing a list of female speakers heavy with symbolism, including Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund; Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America; Lily Ledbetter, the inspiration for the equal pay law signed by President Obama; and Sandra Fluke, the former law school student insulted by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh for advocating health insurance coverage of birth control.
While stopping short of designating “Ladies Night’’ at the convention, the long lineup of female convention speakers makes it clear that the Democratic Party is putting issues like abortion, birth control, Planned Parenthood funding and equal pay at center stage. But the offensive aimed at peeling off female swing voters and exciting the party faithful could come with the risk that the convention appears narrowly focused at a time when the economy is paramount in voters’ minds.
The other speakers listed in the Wednesday announcement are Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, a high-profile and openly lesbian Senate candidate; Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy; disabled Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth, who is running for Congress in Illinois; actress Eva Longoria, a co-chair of the Obama campaign; Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau, the first American Indian woman to hold statewide office in Montana, and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who will be joined by other female senators. Democratic officials have not released a schedule that would indicate whether the women are speaking on the same night of the convention.
The Democratic Party had already announced that Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren would get a prime speaking slot and that California Attorney General Kamala Harris would also give remarks from the stage.