Boehnerizing the Election


Josh Marshall watched the president’s stump speech this morning and says:

Obama rolls out fully Boehnerized new stump speech. Did I mention Boehner?

I caught a few minutes of the speech and had sort of a split reaction on several occasions. Initial reaction: Ooh, he’s about to really gut punch Republicans. Fun! 20 seconds later: Ooh, he kinda pulled back a bit at the last second. Too bad.

But still, it was clearly a more partisan speech than he usually gives, and, as Josh says, it was also notable for his frequent mentions of John Boehner. Which suggests something interesting: was this just because Boehner is a local boy who happened to have given a speech in Cleveland a few weeks before? Or is this part of a broader strategy to nationalize the election around Boehner’s neck? I don’t think this would change the course of the election or anything, but if it’s the latter I’ll bet it’s a good idea. Boehner is well tanned and has a great TV voice, but he comes across (to me, anyway) as robotic and evasive, sort of a junior grade Mitt Romney. If Democrats put Boehner front and center (“Do you trust this man to be Speaker of the House?”) it might damage the Republican brand a bit. He’s not their best spokesman.

Just a thought. I doubt this is in the cards, but given the de facto parliamentarization1 of our political system, making sure the public knows who the opposition leader is might be better politics than in the past. Especially if it’s a guy like Boehner.

1That’s not a word, is it? But it should be! It means that the United States is slowly becoming more like a parliamentary system in practice but without any of the machinery that makes a parliamentary system work.

UPDATE: Speaking of Boehner, John Sides points out that Public Policy Polling decided to poll Boehner’s tan the other day. Funny!