Two weeks ago, Jon Stewart nailed the disconnect between what Obama’s campaign has asked of his supporters all year long and what he delivered himself at the first presidential debate:
You and your campaign have demanded a level of effort, urgency and relentlessness from your supporters…shouldn’t your urgency and passion be on par with the urgency and passion of your e-blasts…or are you not ON your mailing lists.
Exactly right — EVERY contact a supporter (or potential supporter) has with a campaign affects their perception of the candidate or cause, and hence the likelihood that they’ll act on his or its behalf. I.e., TV ads, emails, Facebook posts, rallies — and yes, nationally broadcast debates — need to be seen as part of a whole. Ideally, they reinforce each other. In the case of Obama’s debate performance, they clashed in a deeply jarring way. Was THIS the guy who’s been asking me to donate my time and money, repeatedly? He didn’t look like his emails sound…but he’d better do so tonight, or he’s going to be in big trouble. Daily Show clip below: