Image vs. Reality

Image vs. reality. Which is more pivotal in presidential elections? Candidates want to project a certain image. Those who are not in office usually hold out a utopian vision of what life will be like once they are elected—hope and change, anyone? After they are in office, and things haven’t gone the way they had promised, the trick is to deflect attention from the reality by any means possible. This is where a money advantage enters when it comes to flooding the airwaves with the desired image. It happens on both sides. Romney was able to swamp his competitors in the primaries with an onslaught of ads undermining the opposition. Obama’s people are hoping for a “billion-dollar” war chest. This can lead to cynicism.

Obama’s campaign is already shaping the image by painting Republicans as heartless, miserly, and greedy. Any plan that is offered to get us out of our massive debt and sluggish economy is immediately attacked as another attempt to push grandma over the cliff. The key is to deflect attention away from the absence of any real solution by Obama himself.

Another component of the strategy is emerging: hit those rich people. Make them pay more. The image projected is that Obama is the protector of the little guy, and he’s going to sock it to the cruel owners of wealth who are undoubtedly getting wealthy by stealing it from you. Never mind the facts, that the government could take away all the money and property from the richest 1% and the debt would barely be dented. That’s not the issue; image is everything.

And please don’t notice the reality that impinges on all of us:

No, there’s no train wreck here. Nothing to see, folks. Go your merry way and give us four more years.

If we do that, the train wreck visual will be an understatement.