Rob Lowe, interviewed by Imus some time ago, was asked why Hollywood was so Liberal, replied Mr. Lowe (paraphrased) “ I’ve thought about that, our careers are based on being able to communicate a ‘feeling’, to connect with things on an emotional level, we get in touch with ‘feeling’ as the vehicle for performance. Liberals tend to ‘feel’ their way through issues; feelings are what they’re connected to, it’s what they do.” He contrasted that with Conservatives who are more analytic and logical in his view; it made sense to me as a valid and thoughtful analysis on the part of Mr. Lowe. Feelings may not, however, work in Liberal’s favor this time around; twelve reasons absent wonkish economic commentary, why Mr. Obama will not be reelected.
Reason one. The electorate ‘feels’ differently than they did four years ago; less secure, less wealthy, less sure that their vote four years was, in hindsight, wise. The emotions of 2008 were significant and broad; emotions seem less intense, less significant than in 2008. Those who do not pay attention to wonkish detail ‘feel’ that we may not be on the right path.
Reason two: The Conservative / Republican base will show up. Loving the Republican ticket or not there is no love lost for the Obama administration. Polling of independents indicates that the convention may or may not have ‘humanized’ Mr. Romney to the masses, but it did that to the base that was actually watching. A long term Romney skeptic, after the closing night of the convention texted me; “I want him now! Finally someone I can voter FOR!!” It wasn’t the policy, it was the point of view and more importantly it was the man as represented by those whose lives he touched. There is no dirt on Romney that has stuck. The MSM has not even dared to pull a ‘John McCain Mistress story’ on Romney. No one will believe it. It would be a death gurgle.
Reason three: No great Romney groundswell is required. Bits and pieces; a bit of the African American vote, a few percentage points from Hispanics here and there, Gays, the disenfranchised young, Reagan Democrats, Jewish voters. Just a bit of each combined with a strong base leads us to reason four.
Reason four: James Carville’s polling says that independent voters favor Romney by a 60%+ margin. This poll is consistent with an embedded question in a Fox News poll that has three of four Independents agreeing with Conservatives; things are, to paraphrase, going to Hell in a Hand Basket.
Reason five: Back to feelings. There was genuine energy four years ago. Hope and Change did have resonance; it resonated all the way to the White House. “Forward” on the other hand sounds like a simple command to confused, weary, battle fatigued troops who are uncertain of which way to turn; the enemy seems to be everywhere.
Reason six. Candidate Obama was presented, by design, as a blank slate; it was the primary strategic imperative. Millions projected their own interpretations on that slate. Specifics were few and far between. There is no blank slate anymore.
Reason seven. There will be an argument over promises made versus promises kept. The specifics do not matter. The promise broken was the promise of leadership; we’ve not come together, we are far from post racial and there is little evidence of the President serving as a bridge between ideologies. For more months than I’ve kept track of the ‘wrong track’ numbers have hovered around 66%; two out of three of us. This is the critical number.
Reason eight. To many, opportunities that, absent high analysis by the average American, seem to make no sense; Keystone, shutting down the coal industry, the Gulf oil production decisions, Afghanistan’s deadline, roughing up Israel, failing to support the Green Revolution in Iran and budgets his own party won’t vote for. It’s hard to make sense of it in terms of traditional American policy; either party!
Reason nine. Mandatory hypocrisy. Legislators, acting as surrogates, who refused to vote for the President’s budget will be called upon to defend his economic policies as represented by the budget they refused to support; unless, of course, they simply disqualify the Senate from supporting the President in public. That might be noticed! Hypocrisy will be demanded of anyone not on the extremes of the party: Catholics, traditional marriage advocates, and fiscal rationalists. If they opt out, only the extremes will speak for Democrats.
Reason ten. Main Stream Media bias is no longer a dirty little secret. Slowly, very slowly the MSM is beginning to worry about a Presidential downfall. Regurgitation of reporting that already exists in the alternative media is beginning to find its way to ……. wait for it ……. The New York Times! If you’re prone to analysis, calculate the number of column inches over time dedicated to support vs. criticism of the President and his people.
Reason eleven. Self identification as a Democrat is at a modern low.
Reason twelve. The President is having trouble finding a center for his campaign. Many themes have been trotted out and abandoned: Bain, war on women, Romney’s taxes; back to the policy that got us in trouble. These themes are not moving voters in the President’s direction. The chief surrogates are also failing to move voters. It’s in the numbers!
EXTRA! Reason thirteen: Too structured. Seen one, seen them all. The Obama Campaign is doing something the Romney Campaign should avoid. Talking points so tight, so scripted that to hear one spokesman is to hear them all. If folks tune it out, the potential number of impressions drops like a rock and you won’t see it in the numbers. The numbers don’t tell the “I’ve had enough” story.
My prediction in advance of seeing the Democratic Convention is Romney 54% Obama 46%, give or take the numerous 3rd party folks. Maybe 53% – 46%. The Presidents ceiling is 46% – 47%. The story is how it mixes in the six states.