Handicapped 

Conventional wisdom is wrong. It's Romney's to lose.

Catching President Barack Obama in a rare moment of candor, an open mic found the president confiding to his Russian counterpart that he expects to win this fall. I wouldn't bet on Obama winning.

The corporate pundit class has largely conceded the general election to Obama, already looking ahead to 2016. Its analysis is based on solid, reasonable logic. All things considered, I would put my money on Mitt Romney.

I voted for Obama and wanted him to succeed. He failed. His accomplishments have been few and have amounted to sellouts. Even so, the prospect of watching Romney move into the White House fills me with as much joy as a colonoscopy.

Whichever corporate party wins, unemployment and underemployment will continue to worsen and income disparity will widen.

Obama currently leads Romney by about four to five points. But history shows that Republican nominees steadily increase in popularity throughout the summer and fall.

Incumbency is a huge advantage. If the election were held tomorrow, Obama would prevail. But the election is not tomorrow.

By the time voters head to the polls, their brains will be drowning in months of slick, targeted, pro-Romney attack ads.

Romney is already pointing to the biggest issue on people's minds--the economy--and claiming that his background as a turnaround artist qualifies him to fix what ails us. His prescriptions are Republican boilerplate, vague and counterproductive, but at least he's doing something Obama hasn't. Voters prefer useless attentiveness to calm, steady golfing.

Obama is boxed in by three-plus years of inaction on, well, pretty much everything. He'll argue that he'll be able to "finish the job" during a second term. The recent "good news" on the economy has been either insignificant (net positive job creation of 100,000 per month for two months, less than one-10th of 1 percent of the 25 million jobs needed) or falsified.

You can't vote for the first African-American president twice. Unless he picks a woman as vice president, a vote for Obama will be a vote for the same-old, same-old. The history-making thrill is gone.

At this writing, the Republican Party appears to be in disarray. No doubt, Romney is emerging from the primaries battered and bruised. His awkward and demented soundbite stylings will provide fodder for countless YouTube parodies. But Romney hasn't been damaged as much as the official political class seems to think.

Republicans are a remarkably loyal bunch. United by their many hatreds, they will set aside their comparatively low simmer of anti-Mormon bigotry this fall. Picking a standard-issue white Anglo Christianist thug as veep will cinch the deal.

The GOP enjoys a huge fund-raising advantage, especially via the new-fangled Super PACs. Romney has raised $74 million against $151 million for Obama, but look for that ratio to flip.

About the only factor working for Obama is the presidential debates. Romney doesn't stand a chance against the articulate Obama.

Of course, it's a long way to November. A lot can happen. It's very possible for Obama to win. But that's not how it looks now.

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