From “The Coming Romney Comeback Narrative,” Robert Wright, TheAtlantic:
“If there’s one thing the media won’t tolerate for long, it’s an unchanging media narrative. So the current story of the presidential campaign — Obama sits on a lead that is modest but increasingly comfortable, thanks to a hapless Romney and a hapless Romney campaign — should be yielding any moment to something fresher. The essential property of the new narrative is that it inject new drama into the race, which means it has to be in some sense pro-Romney. This can in turn mean finding previously unappreciated assets in Romney or his campaign, previously undetected vulnerabilities in the Obama campaign, etc. The big question is whether the new narrative then becomes self-fulfilling, altering the focus of coverage in a way that actually increases Romney’s chances of a victory.” Emphasis added.
I’ve been wishing that Paul Krugman could run the economy, but maybe he needs to run the Obama campaign. In an interview with Sahil Sapur from TalkingPointsMemo, Krugman puts his finger on the problem with the Obama narrative:
“They’ve tied themselves up in knots because they’ve bought into this notion that it would sound wrong to admit that they haven’t been able to do everything that they really should have done. It’s incredible — they can’t quite make up their minds on whether the theme is that Republicans are standing in the way of doing what has to be done, or things are really good and America’s back on track. The problem is that you can’t perceive both of those lines at the same time.
“What they should be saying is, ‘We have the right ideas and we’re pursuing them as far as we can given the opposition from Republicans…. They have decided that it sounds like weakness to say that we haven’t been doing everything that we should be doing. And so they have instead opted to always pretend that what they thought they were able to get is also exactly what they should have done. So they’ve never conceded that that first stimulus was too small, or that there really should have been a second round of stimulus. And that means that if things go badly, they end up owning it. They can’t say, ‘Don’t blame us, blame the do-nothing Congress.”