Quick Comment: Comeback Kids and the Women’s Vote

Michelle Obama. Image courtesy of White House flickr stream

Politico published an article this morning which discussed Bill Clinton as the Obama campaign whisperer. Anyone who is surprised by this statement only needs to look at the popularity of both men to see why it makes sense. Clinton  understands the rhetoric that the Obama campaign need to use after disappointing  many of his original supporters during his first term. The former president also apparently understands that Mitt Romney’s biggest vulnerability during this race is not his media hyped reputation of ideological flip flopping but the missing support within one crucial demographic: the women’s vote. Politico point out that Hispanics and moderate independents are also an important factor to the Obama campaign. However, the gap within the gender vote is significant enough to look promising for Team Obama.


Bill Clinton ran a presidency with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at his side, the former First Lady was an example of women in politics in the nineties, and succeeded in her own right following the end of Bill Clinton’s second term. The women’s vote is a margin that the Clinton’s understand, and the 2008 campaign formula full of promise and hope will not work in today’s struggling economy and an unsettled, almost polarized electorate. This one, it seems, is up to the ladies.

Clinton, the self made ‘Comeback Kid’ still holds political influence across the United States, and will be joining President Obama for a fundraiser in Virginia on April 29. The images that are bound to come from this fundraiser will be a powerful visual aid in the Obama campaign. The original Comeback Kid leading the way to Obama’s own resurrection within the key voting demographics.

Romney has an issue when it comes to women. It is that his own wife, Ann Romney, is not entirely relatable to the average American. Call me controversial, but I think even Sarah Palin had a tad more relatability. Political skill aside, her family faced normal problems when Bristol Palin became pregnant. Palin’s youngest son, Trig, also has Down Syndrome. The Palin’s endured issues that many other families encounter in their lives. The Romney’s boasting of numerous Cadillacs and their apparent wealth will not do with blue collar workers, or the average woman. It will also alienate the women who work two jobs to support their children, or students who work numerous jobs to support their education. The average woman, one would assume, would enjoy a long career and survival from her own assets. It is for a woman to choose her ideal lifestyle, whether that be career orientated or not, and whether that means survival from their husbands wealth. However, Ann Romney’s choice to live in this manner is not the ideal feminist view and is not the lifestyle in which most American women can share. Michelle Obama holds a sense of warmth that connects her to the electorate, as seen in the image above in which she greets White House visitors. Although the First Family have been scrutinized for their regular family vacations, they hold a likeability among many voters.

A recent Pew survey showed that if the election were carried by the women’s vote alone, Barack Obama would succeed with 53% to Romney’s 40%. Polls are fickle and opinions changeable, however an 8-point lead on this suggests solid support within the female vote.

However, attention needs to be paid to winning back the independent voters that have been lost since 2008, independent voters were split between McCain and Obama in the previous election but the President has since lost support from many of these voters due to the economy. The Los Angeles Times claims that “The president is suffering among groups of voters who supported him in 2008 but have continued to suffer the most in the down economy, specifically people earning less than $50,000 a year and independents.”

The gender gap had me thinking, what about the single father who works himself to death for the sake of his children? Or the father who struggles to help his gay son come to terms with his sexuality? Although women are carrying the power here with the vote, each demographic shares one core value: children – or the right to choose not to have them. Both campaigns need to find a way of reaching these crucial yet often overlooked voters within the electorate, they’re more powerful than you think.

If it comes down to  the women, I say more Obama singing Al Green. How about a bit of Clinton/Obama sing-a-long? Lets stay together, Mr. President.

Read my other post about Clinton/Obama here (just putting this out there. I totally called this one).

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Quick Comment: Game Change

“It’s not that she doesn’t know the right answer, it’s that she clearly doesn’t understand the question.” – Game Change, 2012

HBO’s Game Change premiered in the UK on Sky Atlantic this weekend after a successful debut in the United States.

The two hour film, which received 2.1m viewers on HBO not including repeats, and was adapted from Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, which I reviewed here a few months ago.

Although the book covered all sides of the election, the film focused on Sarah Palin’s journey as John McCain’s running mate in his unsuccessful bid to become commander in chief in 2008. Julianne Moore’s portrayal of Palin encouraged an empathetic response from viewers, while at the same time revealing the potential dangers of a McCain/Palin White House. Palin is portrayed as sometimes imbalanced and irrational as she operates within a hostile environment that she is continually unprepared to face.

The kaleidoscopic events of the 2008 election cast a harsh light on Palin’s own abilities, but highlights her devotion to her home state of Alaska, despite the importance of national news coverage and the campaign’s urgent need to have her brush up on foreign policy and national security. Palin is often perceived as unwilling, troubled and difficult to work with and McCain’s campaign team are also seen to have plucked Palin from a cluster of potential female running mates, deciding on Palin as a counter attack to Barack Obama’s celebrity power and charisma without securing her abilities to be a political asset.

The Palin  SarahPAC camp were quick to establish a campaign to attack and mock the film, and accusations of false narratives were thrown its way. Palin’s people were eager to diffuse the hype surrounding the film. However, when one Nicolle Wallace, a former Palin adviser portrayed in the film, has said that the film was ‘true enough to make me squirm’, it is left to the viewer to decide, is this a 2012  example of Palin’s delusion of her own abilities? Or is it a harsh attack on a woman thrown in at the deep end? The one truth we can’t avoid is our own reflection, and in Sarah Palin’s case, her reflection is a HBO original movie. If by the time the next election race rolls around there’s a Mitt Romney movie, I’m sure I can find a dog that would be perfect for the role of Seamus.