David Plouffe, campaign manager for President Obama in 2008 and, presumably, in 2012, addressed an audience brought together by the Center for Political Communications at the University of Delaware at 4:30 pm PST on November 10, 2010, as part of their National Agenda Series of talks on politics.
Talking about recent innovation in computer technology in China, where the world’s fastest supercomputer was recently unveiled, he said of such progress: “It’s a little bit easier when you’re not a democracy.”
Unsurprisingly, he sounded a lot like President Obama in tone and substance, speaking repeatedly of the need to find “common ground” between Republicans and Democrats. He admitted that the Republicans had a “good night” during the recent elections but said that they could have had a better one. He said it was hard to predict the political future.
Among other things, he said that voters were expressing their unhappiness and anxiety, but not voting for the Republican Party per se. He said the election was a cry for our leaders to get along and try solving problems. He pointed out that Republicans lost about two-thirds of the Latino vote and said that Republicans are divided into three different centers: the House, where they’re in control; the Senate, where they’re not; and, soon, presidential candidates.
President Obama, he said, “will reach out to try to find common ground where he will.” He cited as issues of importance the economy, debt and deficit, immigration reform, energy, and education. He urged leaders to work together, like adults. He said that working together would be good for the country.
Plouffe said he thought that the Republicans would nominate a right-wing extremist for president in 2012, because that’s where the energy and thinking in that party is now. He said that the electorate in 2012 would be 50 to 60 million voters larger than in 2010, and that it would include more young people and more moderate independents and would be more diverse.
The most important dynamic in that election, he said, will be if people think we’re heading in the right direction.
He predicted increased electoral/political volatility even though people are hungry for more intra-party cooperation. If the leaders match the commitment of the voters, we’ll make a lot of progress, he said, predicting that then we’ll have “that wonderful future that our youngsters deserve and need.” We can’t just worry about the next election, he said, although he also said that in elections substance is rarely discussed.
He said he’d like to see 100 candidates like (Delaware Republican Senate nominee) Christine McDonnell, adding that there is not a wide audience for that kind of candidate outside of the Republican Party. There are Republicans in Congress who want to find common ground, he said, but the energy in the Republican Party is with Glenn Beck. For the good of the country we will try to find common ground, he said, but it looks like we’ll get more of Palin, O’Donnell and Rand Paul. Asked by an audience member how he’d modify the President’s 2012 campaign if the Republicans nominated a moderate, he replied that he didn’t think they would.
A spokesperson for the University said on Thursday morning that a video of this talk would soon be online here.