Not many people now may be aware of this but during the making of his 1982 movie "E.T.", Steven Spielberg contacted Mars Candy to ask them to take part by letting Elliott and E.T. eat M&Ms. Some knucklehead at the company turned Mr. Spielberg down (to be fair he probably thought he was actually talking to Senor Spielbergo). So Reese's Pieces became the candy of choice for aliens that year. If you were around back then, that summer, Reese's Pieces were everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. People were eating those things like they were crack before there was crack!
Now me, I never was big on Reese's Pieces. I preferred the peanut butter cups myself but for hard chocolate shell, I remained an M&M guy. And you knew when you ordered M&Ms or Reese's Pieces what you were getting right? M&M did not have a peanut butter flavor then but as you can see, they do now. Sure there are still Plain, Peanut, Almond and even Strawberried Peanut Butter flavors of M&Ms. But let's use our imaginations a bit...
You walk up to the counter of your local cineplex and they are selling only 2 candies. One is Reese's Pieces and the other is Peanut Butter M&Ms. Now, let's say you're not a fan of hard chocolate shells with peanut butter in them, like me. What do you do to satisfy your sweet tooth?
Do you just go ahead and buy the overpriced Peanut Butter M&Ms? After all, M&Ms are your candy! You love them! And brand loyalty is so important! Or do you buy the Reese's Pieces because they were doing the peanut butter thing first? No, no that won't do because M&Ms are your thing, right? More likely you'll find other candy.
My worry was that in this new "civility" push President Obama would take it too far and actually adopt a GOP position. And then he did it. In the Wall Street Journal he wrote an op/ed column arguing that we need LESS regulation to stimulate jobs. A GOP staple nowadays. Read it here.
Republicans campaign every single day. They do it by actually doing things (some smart, others just for show) that excite their base. They spend every single moment making sure their base and their voters know the difference between them and the Democrats. Meanwhile Obama becomes a Peanut Butter M&M to John Boehner's Reese's Pieces and hopes that his voters that put him in the White House won't notice the peanut butter and will return him in 2012. Even if he's actually a Plain M&M he's put himself in the Peanut Butter M&M bag and those who don't like peanut butter in the hard chocolate shell are going to pass him by. His voters will stay home and the GOP will win.
Waiting until a month before the election (as he did in 2010) to point out he's not the same as the other is too late. He needs to start letting people know he's not just a Reese's Pieces with a different name right now. And taking on GOP talking points and positions does not accomplish that.
Now, I'm gonna go see if I can find some M&Ms.