It began last December, when Obama delivered a trademark Big Speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, where Teddy Roosevelt once spoke, on government’s place in mitigating income inequality. It was, in a sense, an extension of his failed budget negotiations with House Republicans. Obama had decided that his reelection effort would be an attempt to go over Speaker of the House John Boehner’s head and bring to the voters the proposition he couldn’t get the opposing party to accept: that both moral decency and plausible budgeting required an end to George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich.
Though liberals may have found Obama’s second presidential campaign less joyful than his first, it’s worth noting that it was thematically sharper and more progressive. Even the ads attacking Mitt Romney’s history at Bain Capital, which could charitably be described as one-sided, supported the general theme. Republicans had deified the rich—they were “job creators” whose interests were wholly synonymous with those of the rest of us. The testimonials of the victims of Bain Capital certainly were a personal attack on Romney, but to view them as just a personal attack is to miss the blunt symbolic overtones."