So much for debates not having much weight. And so much for Obama having this election in the bag. It has now been one week since Mitt Romney delivered the political beating of Barack Obama’s career, and we have begun to clearly see the effects. Just as I suspected, Romney is letting himself be known at the eleventh hour. Politico posted the obligatory process story about how Tagg and Ann Romney were the impetus behind the “transformation,” but I’m not buying it. That’s just narrative and part of the show. Romney had this planned, and he executed it well. That’s who he is.
He knew he couldn’t get too far ahead with the preference cascade or in the polls too soon. Timing, as we’ve oft heard repeated, is everything. It’s true in politics, show business, and just plain business. And Romney is the consummate business man. He knows how to play it close to the chest, to conceive of a plan by doing the research, and then to follow through at the right moment with the right audience and data. That knockout punch of the first debate was well-planned beforehand, and so was the unfurling of himself on the stump in the afterglow.
And we see the effects. It’s in the polls now, it’s in the media response, hell, it’s even in the entertainment world. The most telling sign is the absolute panic of Obamacrats. What we’re witnessing is appetite, angst, and apologetics manifesting before our very eyes, and not a moment too soon–or too late. If Romney has marked his plan well–and I believe he has–this will continue for the next three weeks, reaching a crescendo on November 6th as President Obama is swept out of office once and for all. Everyone but the 24 or 25% who still cling to their progressive bona fides (despite having sacrificed their values on the altar of Obama’s policies) and the handful of true believers in the demographic molds will breathe a huge sigh of relief.
It’s not just Romney who continues to gain ground. The Republicans themselves are seeing a surge in vibrancy as Romney leads the way for them out of the desert. It’s so bad it has Obamacrats talking about skewed polls. This, just a week after they mocked conservatives mercilessly for calling attention to the fact that pollsters were using the 2008 turnout to forecast this year, as if 2010 had never happened. And it’s only going to get worse as the Romney bounce continues on to the Vice Presidential debates, scheduled for tomorrow night. Poll after poll is now showing this bounce, and Romney has taken the lead in both the national vote polls and the swing state polls. It’s not just momentum the Romney campaign has pried loose from a beleaguered electorate, it has built appetite, and now it’s feeding it.
Conservatives, who’ve been chomping at the bit to unseat Obama since 2010, are not turned off at all by the moderate tone the Romney campaign is taking. And that tone is now leading voters in the middle, especially those much sought-after independents, to do what they’ve longed to do, which is have a reason to ditch Obama. Even prominent members of the left are ditching him and making no bones about it. Some are even openly mocking him. Others are simply entrenching their own switch. For example, Stacey Dash, who not only voted for Obama in 2008, but admitted she cried about it, is standing by her support of Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, Ann Romney continues to work to make the public aware of the man she loves and married, and is pressing ahead with a stunning media campaign to keep these fires burning. It’s paying off, too.
Angst & Apologetics
On the other side, the litany of excuses that have been paraded across the media in the wake of last Wednesday has been astounding to witness.
I use these terms–litany and witness–very specifically, because they are part and parcel of the religious theme of apologetics I’m using here. Barack Obama has been an utterly religious experience, one that swept American like the Great Awakening of the 1820s and 30s, and like that movement, it had hoped to cement itself into the American psyche and seed change for decades to come. It is falling short of that goal in part because, unlike The Great Awakening, it was built on a false moral foundation and was all snakes and tongues, with precious little to offer in the way of action, salvation, or redemption.
Defending a man who has shrouded himself in mystery and lied repeatedly to the people he purports to represent is no great action to take, and it is easily undone action to boot. And there is no salvation or redemption to be found in mocking and belittling people who simply disagree on what is good for the masses when the prescription is poisonous snake oil. Obamacrats will still try to resurrect their dying savior nonetheless. To do it they are using a combination of angst and apologetics to reseed the narrative. From the obviously desperate lying-liar-who-lies meme they are desperate to sell, to the coming salvific Biden performance, to the already tired style versus substance argument, Obamacrats have a list of angsty talking points they are urgently perpetrating. And speaking of style, a few have attempted backdoor bragging compliments, but those too fall flat.
The canaries are out in force in the coal mine. The danger is even registering at DailyKos, as their own poll shows Obama losing ground among virtually every constituency, including the much counted on black voter block. The DK-commissioned poll shows it down to 85%, less than Bill Clinton took in his two elections. The gender gap has evaporated entirely. Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan has melted down for days. Michael Tomasky, the inveterate self-hating West Virginian, who normally has his bark on, has taken to moderating his tone in a display of religious reverence to the fact that Obama, if he isn’t careful, could very well lose.
Obviously we can’t know what will happen until the final poll is taken on that first Tuesday in November. But the winds of change are blowing now, and Obama’s stock is beginning to show its real value. He, his presidency, and his policies are not worth much when they do so much damage and sow so many doubts. The One is fast becoming Mr. Zero and that’s partly because of who Barack Obama is, and partly because Mitt Romney is such a stark contrast to Obama’s lazy streak and narcissism. Romney also knows how to awaken the desires of the broad middle so they not only become known, but are acceptable to have once again.
I’ve said all along that the first law of campaigns is that a negative one nearly always loses. There are exceptions to this rule, such as we saw with 2004, but they have to be carefully managed and nurtured, and the negativity has to be on the slick bottom with a positive veneer on top. Team Obama never managed to craft that positive veneer, and now that fact is working against them. A positive campaign, like Romney has played all along, is more authentic and believable when this dynamic we’re seeing now comes into play. For all the doubts some people had, all the faith they had that negative forces would prevail, the American people are showing us these days just why that’s not a good bet to make.