O.k., not in an official capacity. But The Architect has seen fit to offer Barack Obama advice as to how to turn around his campaign and start appealing to more than just the so-called white wine sippers and college students. He has six suggestions which Iâ€™ve abbreviated here:
1. Update and reinvigorate your stump speech.
2. When you get into trouble, pick one, simple explanation, rather than constantly revising the explanation like in the Rev. Wright situation.
3. Prove youâ€™ll build unity. Say that you’ll appoint Republicans. Highlight initiatives Republicans can agree on. Push for a bipartisan issue now before Congress.
4. Prove youâ€™re willing to take action and not just talk about it. Spend less time campaigning and more time working the Senate fighting for a big issue.
5. Stop the political attacks.
6. Tell people in concrete and credible ways what they can expect from you as president. Position papers written by academics and posted on the Web donâ€™t cut it. Avoid poll-tested positions and speak from the heart.
Without being cynical and assuming Rove is just trying to sabotage Obamaâ€™s campaign (which would indeed be Rovian), I think some of these ideas are pretty solid with the third suggestion being the best. Iâ€™ve said it many, many times before but Iâ€™ll say it again: itâ€™s great for Obama to talk about unity but until he demonstrates how he will actually create unity, I think itâ€™s unwise to assume heâ€™ll be anything greater than the sum of his boilerplate liberal positions.
Which gets us to suggestion six on Roveâ€™s list. What I think Rove is getting at is the same underlying problem discussed in the third suggestion. There is a disconnect between the â€œbringing us all togetherâ€ rhetoric and the tried-and-true Democratic policy positions Obama has adopted. This disconnect is why comments like the â€œbitterâ€ gaffe are so hotly discussed. Thereâ€™s a sense that the real Obama is still lurking somewhere in between or outside all that inspiring rhetoric and all those typically left-leaning policy positions.
I donâ€™t know if Rove is at all sincere in these suggestions. But I do know that Obama should sincerely consider the fact that heâ€™s developing holes in his image. If Rove is right about anything here, itâ€™s that itâ€™s time for Obama to make some repairs.