Chris Matthews wants the hear it:
Seth Masket pushes back:
Look, Matthews is obviously under no obligation to be one of Obama's foot soldiers, but I find this idea that Obama can't win without a compelling "narrative" really annoying. Obama could promise a mission to Mars or a cure for cancer or a new season of "The Wire," and I doubt it would make a lick of difference for his reelection prospects. Those would be fairly vague, if inspirational, promises about the future, when voters tend to be highly attuned to what is going on now and what has happened recently. Specifically, they will retain him in office if they are sufficiently satisfied with improvements in economic conditions, and if they're not, they won't, regardless of what he promises.
There is a platform of sorts, if you examine his September 2011 OMB report. What's lacking – and here is where I agree with Chris – is any version of tax reform. Getting rid of deductions, simplifying the code, raising revenue and reducing rates are all possible. If I were Obama, I'd get to Romney's right on this – and call for root-and-branch Reagan-style tax reform in his second term.