2008 It Ain’t

Alright, it’s time to break my silence here at P&L. I’ve been gone a long while, but I’ve had my ear to the ground the entire time. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and observe for a while, in order to get a feel for the lay of the land. My report? 2008 it ain’t, folks.

In 2008 Obama was Mr. Untouchable, with legions of journalists protecting his rear flank as the legacy of the Bush administration descended to the horizon. Nothing could touch him. Now? Not so much. June has been the worst month of his presidency to date in terms of events just blowing up in his face, and from the media come the increasingly shrill cries of racism. If my calculations are correct, 90% of the white electorate is now racist, up 85% since 2008. We’ll see how that works out for Obama come November.

And it will be a November to remember. Anything could still happen, but it’s looking increasingly like he’s got a real shot at losing. I don’t know what will happen if he does lose, but I don’t expect it will good. Romney’s just a tool at this point, a tool to express American independents’ political frustrations, and a tool for some white Americans to register their dissatisfaction at constantly being called racist. It’s almost like progressives have forgotten that their much-heralded majority-minority birth rate spike doesn’t yet translate into votes. Those babies have to grow up before they can cast them.

If the election were held today, I’d say Romney by a hair. That hair would be indicative of how well the American electorate knows him, which is to say, hardly at all. Despite Team Axelrod’s every attempt to portray him in an unfavorable light, the charges are not sticking. They are failing at defining him, which means he’ll get a clean shot at defining himself. It remains to be seen what Romney will deliver, but if his defensive game is any indication, it’s gonna be interesting. If his personality starts to gain positive traction, November will be a landslide. The mood of the country right now is clearly leaning #ABO.

The media has done a good job so far of obscuring the frustrations that Americans are feeling over out-of-touch Obama and his unwillingness or inability to demonstrate that he feels our pain. Romney, by way of contrast, does not have to sell us on the idea that he feels our pain, which is lucky for him, because he can’t. He’s never been where millions of Americans are today, a point Team Obama keeps making, and people keep not caring about. Probably because Obama has never been here, either.

All Romney has to do is offer believable solutions wrapped in a positive message, which he is already starting to do. His campaign is wrapping itself in a subtle message of nostalgia, using buzzwords that have long been connected to nostalgia, most notably “Believe in America.” Very Mary Englebreit of him. If his offense is as good as his defense, I expect he’ll come out with a Don Draperesque closing argument along the lines of the Kodak Carousel scene from Season 1 of Mad Men. In case you don’t know or have forgotten, here’s the scene:

If Romney continues in this direction, it’ll make for a smart campaign. Obama is all razzle dazzle in his attempts at campaigning, always offering the next new thing. In this political and economic environment, that is not going to resonate. Nostalgia will. People are nostalgic, not for Bush or any other singular politician, but for a way of life that has quickly eroded. Continue reading