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“Julia”: Obama marketing machine fail

“Julia”: Obama marketing machine fail

In the days since the unveiling of the Obama campaign’s cartoon Julia, critics on both the left and the right have laughed off the cradle-to-grave depiction of life with Big Brother handling everything for “its women”:

MSNBC’s Willie Geist: “They did lob this up as a softball for Republicans, one conservative saying, ‘Who the hell is Julia and why am i paying for her whole life?'”

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “Who brushes her teeth?”

How did the slick Obama campaign of 2008, the team that brought modernity, intellectualism, and cool back to D.C., end up making so many missteps this time around? (Remember how much fun #AttackWatch was?)

The marketing team at Obama HQ might as well be focus-grouping Rachel Maddow and Debbie Wasserman-Schulz.

In contrast, research I worked on at The Frontier Lab deciphered how Republican women view their GOP choices for the presidential nomination. The results show that moderate and conservative women certainly won’t respond to the paternalistic message of Obama’s Julia campaign.

If anything, rather than seeking a president to stand-in as a father figure, they’re asking their president to bear up to the same scrutiny that they’d ask a potential mate to withstand. Will our president have solid principles?  Will the candidate be a partner in keeping our finances safe? Will they stand up for our values and fight when necessary?

Given Obama’s seemingly off-base characterization of what American females seek in a president, can the Republicans convert this into a win? It starts with leaving the Obama gender stereotypes behind; the ball’s in Romney’s court.


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How did the slick Obama campaign of 2008

Actually, they really weren’t that good. Obama outspent Hillary 2-1 and more plus he had the media helping him but she still got more votes than he did. The superdelegates gave him the nomination.

Then he spent half a billion dollars against McCain and thanks to Sarah Palin he nearly lost. The financial collapse and McCain’s blunders allowed him to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

    LukeHandCool in reply to myiq2xu. | May 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Yep. Remember Evan Thomas saying the media’s help was worth 15 points to Kerry/Edwards in 2004?

    15 points ???!!!

    Well, then how many points was the absolutely gushing media help for Obama worth in 2008?

    It seems every move Obama & Co. make recently blows up in their face. They’d be better off doing nothing.

    Have another cigar, Mr. President. You’ll get a bang out of this one.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 5, 2012 at 11:35 am

      Obama is your classic screw up. I’d betcha he’s running the show. He does believe he’s the smartest man in the room, but, as some sage is always saying, Obama’s the least experienced person in any room he enters. I’ll modify that to include least knowledgeable, also.

Ragspierre | May 5, 2012 at 9:40 am

“…the ball’s in Romney’s court.”


Hell, NO, it is NOT.

What happened to an ARMY OF DAVIDS? We are all Breitbart?

I’m the one I look to first for action.

I have a HUGE posse of like-minded, creative, motivated people out there on the end of the wire.

I’m not waiting for Romney, Newt, or any-damn-body. I have the bit in my teeth, and I am running with it.

    Anne Sorock in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Agreed! Let’s just see, this is a test of the Romney campaign if they are able to convert this into a win.

I cringed while reading that NR article. So many “feelings”, ugh.

All I wanted in a GOP candidate was someone to stand up and say (politically speaking): “I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass and I’m all out of bubble gum.”

Newt came closest to that during the debates but Ragspierre, you’re right. We can’t count on any candidate to speak for us, we have to do it ourselves.

    radiofreeca in reply to angela. | May 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Angela, Can I put you down as a write-in candidate? Cause I’m looking for the same thing – you sound like you’ve got it.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to angela. | May 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I like you, Angela. You from the Peninsula?

      angela in reply to Juba Doobai!. | May 6, 2012 at 12:21 am

      Yeah, the lower one. I’m near Lansing. There are a few of us here who don’t work for the government, the university, or GM. Just a few though.

        Juba Doobai! in reply to angela. | May 6, 2012 at 1:12 am

        Different Peninsula. Mine is below DC on the east coast.

          angela in reply to Juba Doobai!. | May 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm

          Yes, the capital “P” told me that, I just thought it was amusing that I could answer that question affirmatively. Kind of.

          Though I probably wouldn’t have known what you were referring to if I hadn’t read Stephen Sears book on the Peninsula Campaign recently.

They’re failing because the Republicans/conservatives are finally fighting back – Alinsky-style – with ridicule!

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if Obama can control our lives like Julia’s? There would be no debt to repay for student loans because there’s no need to attend college. Whenever you need a new car, the government provides it for you. Similarly if you want a vacation, just join some congressional group or the GSA when they take their trips someplace. Stop paying mortage loans, you have a “right” to a house. I could go on and on like this.

    radiofreeca in reply to texasron. | May 5, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Well, having been in East Germany and hung out with the locals – you don’t understand. Think more like the Army – this is how it works: you’ll be assigned a job or schooling as the needs of the system (and your political connections) see fit. You won’t own a car, because you’ll live in an apartment across from your assigned factory (where you will work for 40 years until you retire). Your vacations are pre-planned a decade out: the whole factory goes on vacation to the same place for two weeks while the factory gets long-term maintenance/overhaul done on it (well, that’s what’s supposed to happen, anyways).

    If you want your kids to be go to college, you need to ensure you’re of the appropriate minority status or working a ‘worker’ job like farmer or fisherman or community organizer. So if you’re working as a manager/doctor/lawyer/engineer, you quit that job when your kids enter high-school and get a job as a farm hand.

    Just how things are done in those societies.

Perhaps Obama’s slick campaign workers from 2008 weren’t so slick after all. Maybe they were just over-hyped by a deeply-in-the-tank MSM, in much the same way Obama himself was.

Here is where Romney is,

Wait until the CBS Ted Nugent carefully edited/cropped interview is over. Romney’s statement throws the Nuge under the bus, just like Juan McAmnesty would have done.

Meet the new liberal Democrat RINO, same as the old liberal Democrat RINO.

Speaking of insufferable RINOs, here is what Eric Cantor is up to:

Behind all of the kabuki, there is only one party. Now that they don’t have to waste time any more on budgeting, that leaves them with nothing but time on appropriations. The spending keeps skyrocketing but without the ickiness of accountability.

Yeah, I can’t wait until “our” side regains control. We’ll be seeing charts like the following with inflection points like what happened the last time the GOP controlled everything:

Operation Counterweight. We are running out of time.

(Yes Raggie, we know. You hate every single thing I post so spare us all the slander and lies… for once. You are tedious)

    G Joubert in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 5, 2012 at 11:28 am

    If you think Obama and Romney are one and the same, dude, put your hands in the air and step away from the bong. You’ve had enough. All you have to do is picture in your mind’s eye who Obama would nominate to SCOTUS in his 2nd term and who Romney would nominate if he were president. And that’s just one issue. Romney would be better by leaps and bounds across the board.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to G Joubert. | May 5, 2012 at 11:48 am

      Where’s your proof? There is Robamneycare to support the view that there’s no difference, plus Romney doesn’t ave an idea in his head. To know what he plans to do, we have to elect him. Sound familiar? Romney doesn’t even have any allegiance to the GOP. Then how do you expect folks to believe he will appoint the kind of judges that previous GOP presidents have?

    Ragspierre in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    When have I “slandered” you, Fillie?

    I quote you, and your support for OWS and redistributionism, along with your nutzoid support of Federal regulations that do not work.

    I will again. Every time you publish a post pretending to speak for the Tea Party, or pretend you are Mr. Conservative.

    I’m STILL waiting for you to cite to ONE lie I’ve told.

I suspect it is easier to promise dreams when nobody has seen your realities.

radiofreeca | May 5, 2012 at 10:32 am

“The marketing team at Obama HQ might as well be focus-grouping Rachel Maddow and Debbie Wasserman-Schulz.” I’m sorry – given all the recent TSA stuff, plus all the Secret Service scandals, plus various other Democrat sex scandals, I thought this said “focus-groping Rachel Maddow…”

Somehow it just felt right to read it that way…

This is the story of Julia that needs to be told.

Insufficiently Sensitive | May 5, 2012 at 10:45 am

Built right into this agitprop cartoon is Obama’s blatant hope to be Emperoror-for-Life. ‘Under Obama’, Julia begins her coddled life at age 3, and ‘Under Obama’ she retires at age 67 to tend the marijuana patch, all at our expense.

The past three years have been bad enough, let alone his hopes for 64 years of antidemocratic rule.

But Iowahawk has greatly improved on the joys and travails of Julia’s life. Go ye hence and take it in:

The Heritage Foundation’s version:

Midwest Rhino | May 5, 2012 at 10:56 am

POTUS and FLOTUS both got preferential treatment in attaining their law degrees, yet neither are “competent to counsel”. Their advancement was like Warren’s … at the expense of others, for selling out to the far left cause.

Now Obama wants to buy votes the old fashioned way, promising that some nondescript taxpayers will provide free unicorn care at every phase of life. On the wall in every room of Julia’s play house should be a crucifix with Obama the provider instead of Jesus.

Juba Doobai! | May 5, 2012 at 11:27 am

“the team that brought modernity, intellectualism, and cool back to D.C.”? Had any kool-aid lately, Anne? Had any of Mr. Warner’s daughter, Marie? A guy who is ignorant of anything that does not refer to himself is not intellectual. Besides, ice cold and cool are not the same thing.

I worry that Obama goes to high schools and makes political speeches. He is not just using the facilities to preach to supporters, he is preaching to the children.

Julia may well look good to children. Especially those being fed by Socialist teachers.

PS. Don’t underestimate the Obama machine. Obama’s campaign has been fighting dirty since before he won his first state post. They have just been getting better.

Lina Inverse | May 5, 2012 at 11:34 am

This excellent book, The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs – and Who Will Take It, makes the point that compared to Clinton, Obama won with a narrower but deeper coalition (more votes out of fewer groups). Given how thoroughly they’re playing to their base and of course how things stand today, it would appear that Team Obama doesn’t have a better strategy that repeating 2008, and they’re probably right.

So I’m guessing the best they can do is try to get as many members of the same groups that voted for Obama in 2008 to vote for him again. We should also watch out for efforts to discourage votes for Romney, e.g. if the Republican base had voted for McCain like they did for Bush in 2004 he would have won….

    Mary Sue in reply to Lina Inverse. | May 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Can’t say enough good things about Sean Trende’s work in “The Lost Majority.” I agree they are probably using the best strategy available to them to thread the coalition of voters needed to win as they did in 2008. The problem seems to be the use of ham-fisted tactics when an elegant dexterous hand is required. Obama’s team could pull off faux elegance when they were selling a blank slate. Records however,are stubborn things.

    I am not sure how much worse Obama’s record would have to be to guarantee Republican turnout at 2004 levels. It’s plenty bad already. Even if some see Romney as only marginally better than Obama, marginally better means more 50+ folks have a shot at regaining their footing in the jobs market. Fewer kids will end up forever behind the earning curve due to lost years in their parents basements. As a mother of 2 college-age kids, I would crawl through broken glass to vote this November.

“Given Obama’s seemingly off-base characterization of what American females seek in a president, can the Republicans convert this into a win?”

No. Not within their skill set or even their imaginative consciousness.

So Obama may lose this, but Romney will not “win” it. Which I believe is really his and the GOP’s plan – simply to not lose it.

I’m surprised by Obama’s missteps. The early decision to target Romney as right-winger rather than as an unprincipled flip-flopper is really bad advice (from Bill Clinton?). Still, they are the ones driving the narratives. And Romney is the one reacting. Phillip Klein has a smart piece on this point, explaining how Romney is “taking the bait” again and again rather than driving narratives.

Why can’t Romney do this? Why can’t he jab and press Obama about the untold corruptions and abuses of his administration rather than insist he’s a “nice guy just in over his head”? Why can’t he challenge Obama and the democrats on their greatest weakness, i.e., the popularly exploitable issue most material to Romney’s own chances — voter fraud? Why can’t he challenge Obama to join with him to form a bipartisan task force to ensure Americans that this election will be the cleanest in our history? Think about the compounding benefits of such a narrative: forcing Eric Holder and the DOJ into the limelight, exposing Obama’s efforts to challenge and thwart hugely popular Voter ID laws around the country (including Wisconsin!), dragging ACORN back into public focus, and putting democrats everywhere on the defensive over a longstanding, integral and covert element of their agenda, i.e., voter fraud. He could even recruit Breitbart’s little dynamo and former ACORN worker Anita Moncrief to help.

Why can’t he do this? Because he’s Romney, and because is the modern GOP.

OT prediction: the Republican leadership will stymie Darrell Issa’s contempt citation against Eric Holder. This citation will never happen.

Juba Doobai! | May 5, 2012 at 11:58 am

The GOP needed the barracuda hockey mom who, for four long years, has sunk her teeth into Obama’s hide relentlessly. She would’ve been pounding him on Julia like a drum. She would’ve been driving the agenda instead of reacting to diversions. But, Romney led the fight to smear the barracuda who did a way better job in her state than he did in his. The fight that was the GOP,s to win is now Obama’s to lose.

I campaigned for Hillary, I wouldn’t say Barry was better, he had the DNC covering for him in the primaries, and in the general there were the “jour-o-listers” campaigning for him, covering up for him, lying for him.

The thing is this time, the media is still doing the DNC and Barry’s bidding, but who believes the media anymore? Their credibility as an impartial entity is long gone.

In 2008, they weren’t good, but no one in the complicit covered how bad they were.

this julia thing is very creepy. No parents, no community, no family, no friends, all dependent on Barry. VVERY VERY creepy.

Worried_in_USA | May 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Well, Julia, Hope you enjoyed Head Start, and all the rest, because payback time is coming.

According to a US TREASURY website page, “HISTORY OF THE PUBLIC DEBT”, the public debt is $15,692,368,000, and your share and mine runs to $50,000 and change, and is growing by $5,000 a year.


Did you learn Algebra, Julia? No? Well I’ll run a regression curve for you on the growth of debt since 2006.. The debt-growth curve is looking perpendicular, dear, not so good.

Things are really out of control and it is all Bush’s fault! But wait, until 2006, when the Dems won both houses, public debt was $8 trillion. It is now $15 trillion. Good work, Dems!

Julie, the money the president spent on you was borrowed from China, Japan and Saudi Arabia. Right now we are able to pay them the interest, and they kindly roll over the principal.

However, things don’t look so good for 10 or 20 years out, when the Chinese and Japanese and Saudis object to us stiffing them on interest and principal, which the politicians will have to do, while Julia and the rest of us have a shout out: “What did you do with our Social Security and Medicare contributions, villains?

Julia, since we elect grown-ups, we should give them a chance to prevent this mess from happening, But, just in case we run short on money to pay China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, they might take serfs in lieu of interest, and could possibly be persuaded to take healthy men and women between the ages of 15 and 40. Get ready to learn some foreign languages because you’re probably going to have new masters.

Hmmmmm think I’ll do a wee piece about this on my blog …. title ….JULIA BITES OBAMA’S ASS

mstockinger | May 6, 2012 at 12:26 am

After reading many of the comments, I think a lot of people are missing the point.

Obama is not trying to broaden his base, so the fact that Julia doesn’t move you is irrelevant. Ask yourself how the base feels about it.

Obama has 220 electoral votes in the bag and 64 leaning towards him. His vulnerability lies in just three states–Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. If Romney succeeds in taking just one of these states, Obama is toast. Any incumbent must play defense, because as a known quantity, it’s unlikely that they are going to win new hearts and minds.

When that is understood, then the conservative disapproval of Julia can be seen for what it is–completely irrelevant. Team Obama is merely bucking up the constituents who already buy the Julia narrative.

A failure? Perhaps, but not because you don’t like it. Let’s see how it’s faring within it’s target demographic before giving it a letter grade.

    Lina Inverse in reply to mstockinger. | May 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I made much the same point above, but will reemphasize something that I’m sure plays into the electoral math you’re citing. One reason McCain lost was the Republican base didn’t turn out for him (like it had for Bush in 2004).

    Will “Julia” et. al. prompt more of the bast to vote for Romney? While he doesn’t have McCain’s history of savagely attacking the base he has had a hard time selling himself to it…. “Mary Sue” in reply to me said she “would crawl through broken glass to vote this November.” People like her probably voted in 2008 and against Obama, but will people with less … dedication? move in her direction?

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