Obama’s campaign-style push on taxes


If a video like this one seems familiar, it’s because this is exactly the sort of clip Obama for America routinely released in the weeks and months leading up to Election Day. Yesterday, however, the same campaign organization put this clip online for President Obama’s new fight.

For those who can’t watch clips online, the point of this two-minute video is to reinforce the fact that the president campaigned heavily on the idea of raising tax rates on income above $250,000, and the proposal proved to be pretty popular. It also reminds folks that the typical middle-class family would stand to lose about $2,000 a year if congressional Republicans block Obama’s plan, which has already passed the Senate.

And while the video is interesting, I’m nearly as interested in its existence as I am its message. As we talked about a week ago, Team Obama is hoping to approach the second term very differently from the first, and that’s especially true of dealing with Congress. A year ago, for example, during debt-reduction talks, Obama stayed in Washington, met repeatedly with congressional leaders, and made every effort to reach some kind of credible agreement with Republican lawmakers who were threatening to crash the American economy on purpose unless their demands were met.

A resolution was reached in time, but not before significant damage was done.

This time, the president is trying the opposite – taking a new negotiating posture, hosting public events outside the Beltway, and utilizing his campaign structure in the hopes of shifting public attitudes.

Given that Republican leaders seem largely immune to pressure from the electorate, time will tell whether the efforts pay dividends, but Obama re-engaging his campaign base is still a dynamic worth watching, not just during fiscal talks, but in the president’s second term.

Fiscal Cliff and Barack Obama

Obama's campaign-style push on taxes