Friday, June 08, 2012

Obama vs. Romney: We were always going to be right where we are

Say Gilligan, would you like
to be my running mate?
Carry my clubs, that sort of thing?
By Richard K. Barry

One of the stranger things about politics is there is often a strong consensus about how things will unfold, and then when they unfold precisely that way, we call it big news and get all breathless about it.

When Mitt Romney was still fighting for the GOP nomination, we all knew his national numbers would be depressed because other candidates were beating on him and he never was the choice of more committed conservatives anyway. His fundraising ability was hampered by the fact that conservative donors were splitting their donations. But we also knew that when things got real, third-party money would start flowing in, thanks to the Citizens United decision. The national dynamic hadn't settled yet, but we knew that when this became a two person race, it would tighten up, we knew conservatives would fall in line. We also knew that every downward economic indicator would likely depress Obama's polling numbers.

Now that it's Obama vs. Romney, so much of what we expected is happening. On top of which, Romney is now able to go to many conservative donors who were not previously with him and ask them for money for the first time.

Yes, the presidential election could be a very close race, which is something most of us expected in an economy this lousy, with money easily available to Republicans, and a Republican Congress that has clearly stated its intention to be obstructionist.

State by state, Obama is still in good shape, but the national numbers will be close throughout and we will certainly see some volatility in individual states.

On the positive side for Obama, we should know that Mitt Romney hasn't been well-defined yet in the minds of many voters. What they're responding to positively, in many cases, is the idea of a more conservative candidate, perhaps to his business experience, or even the idea of change itself in the middle of tough economic circumstances, always a popular option.

This campaign has not begun to morph into what I believe it will become: Barack Obama, a campaigning powerhouse, vs. Mitt Romney, a pathetically stiff, duplicitous, uninspiring Thurston Howell III clone who took way took long to dispatch the weakest GOP presidential nomination field in recent memory.

Even at that, the country is split and the margin of victory, at least in terms of popular vote, will be slight.

The race is on. This thing is going to be competitive. Who didn't see that coming?

Anyway, we're where we were always going to be. Hang on.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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  • "What they're responding to positively, in many cases, is the idea of a more conservative candidate . . . "

    What a stupid fucking country.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:56 AM  

  • And just to be clear, I'm simply saying that at this stage of the campaign, those more predisposed to be conservative may be signalling their support for Romney as a sort of place holder for their conservative leanings. Once they get a better look at him, as a flesh-and-blood politician, they may be less impressed. Does this mean they stay home on election day or even, in the case of independent voters sitting on the fence, decide to stay with Obama? We'll have to see.

    By Blogger Richard K. Barry, at 12:39 PM  

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