As far as politics go, President Barack Obama and John Boehner have virtually nothing in common. And that makes him a perfect Republican for the White House to vilify.
The president and the House Republican minority leader don’t agree on stimulus spending or on tax cuts, and Boehner wants to repeal two of Obama’s signature accomplishments: the new health care law and tighter Wall Street regulations. On Wednesday, Obama visits Ohio — Boehner’s home state — to talk about the economy, and he may throw a few jabs at Boehner, whom Obama has called “out of touch.”
But political scientists and strategists aren’t sure that demonizing Boehner, generally unknown outside Washington, and a few other notable Republicans is a winning strategy, since most voters generally don’t closely follow national politics. Outside the Beltway, they say, not that many people even know whom the president is talking about.
“Folks like John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and Joe Barton don’t even have 50 percent name recognition nationwide,” Tom Jensen, a pollster for the liberal group Public Policy Polling, said in an e-mail. “And for the most part, people who do know them are hard partisans whose voting preferences are pretty set in stone. This is the kind of thing where people who work in politics need to keep perspective about just how unfamiliar average people are with most of the movers and shakers in D.C."