Obama hits the long campaign trail

23 January 2012

Written by: Matthew Smith

The Republican candidate may still be undecided, but at least one 2012 candidate seems to have decided who will win the nomination.

Barack Obama.

Obama – or his advisors – appear to be of the position of battling Republican Mitt Romney to maintain the presidency for the next four years.

Romney has been attacking the Obama administration for much of his campaign for nomination, going as far as releasing ‘attack ads’ highlighting what he believes to be the shortcomings of Obama’s term.

Romney even used his victory speech after the New Hampshire primary earlier this month to condemn the “misguided policies and broken promises of the last three years,” and to rehash a familiar list of problems that Obama has failed to fix (high unemployment, the economy and the budget deficit).

Yet, with the release of his newest ad on Wednesday, Obama seems to be taking the fight to Romney.

‘Obama’s Dream Debate’ virtually portrays Obama slamming Romney for the drastic changes he has made to his stance on several key issues since becoming a potential opponent.

Specifically, a cartoon Obama attacks Romney’s changed views on abortion, health care and gun rights.

While the latest pro-Obama commercials may have a point, perhaps the most indicative message it shows is just how different the Obama campaign will be this time around.

In 2008, Obama was a political rockstar.

Just prior to his inauguration, Obama t-shirts and posters were a common sight in New York and Washington DC.

Spike Lee created a book about the Obama artwork, and particularly hopeful street-artists across the country even likened the Chicago native to Superman.

How times have changed.

Now instead of comparing Obama to the ‘Man of Steel’, some anti-Obama groups have made a different comparison, to Hitler.

While some of the harshest criticism can be dismissed as extreme points of view, the general consensus has swung drastically away from Obama in the past few years.

Rather than riding a wave of popularity into a presidential campaign, Obama is having to turn back the tide of rising uncertainty.

The past four years have been described as some of the toughest that the United States have faced, with difficulties looming on almost every front.

Admittedly, many of the problems that have arose over the course of Obama’s term were either inherited from the Bush regime, or a result of a drastically changing global financial system. Regardless, those problems have still occurred on his watch.

 That gives his eventual opponent – be it Romney, Newt Gingrich or perhaps even Ron Paul – plenty of ammunition on the road to the White House.

The Obama campaign knows that, and have decided that they need to come out firing.

One of the keys to Obama’s election in 2008 was the promise and lure of intangible elements.

Hope, change and belief became the buzzwords of the election.

Obama told the American people that ‘yes, we can’.

In 2012, it will be Obama’s task to convince his constituents that it’s him that can.

Liam Quinn is a second-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University, who is currently on exchange at Michigan State. He is covering the 2012 US presidential elections for upstart. You can follow him on Twitter: @liamquinn23