WASHINGTON, April 23, 2012 — Democrats have been lulled into a fantasy that President Obama is unbeatable. It’s easy to see why. After the Republican candidates mauled each other in the primary, Mitt Romney emerged, finally, bloodied, but still on his feet, trying to make Republicans, if they couldn’t love him, to at least coalesce around him.
So reluctant Republican leaders offered tepid endorsements. However, social conservatives still have their noses out of joint with Rick Santorum’s loss and mainstream Republicans don’t quite trust him because of his political past, no matter how he repudiates his previous positions.
Romney has a beautiful, courageous wife, and five glorious sons, but Mitt Romney looks a lot like Don Draper’s older brother — you know, Don Draper from “Mad Men.” That only serves to reminds us that maybe that’s what the problem is. Could Romney be a throwback to the good, old bad days of the 60s?
All of this has allowed Democrats to let down their guard. Not Obama’s inner circle, of course, but rank and file Democrats from New York to California. They know, it won’t be a cakewalk, but, hey, vote for Romney? Who in his or her right mind would do that?
Obviously, lots of people.
The polls have been tracking a match up between Obama and Romney since it looked like Mitt had the nomination well in hand. According to Real Clear Politics, a compilation of all the polls basically find the race is neck and neck with President Obama leading by a mere 3.3 %. Obama leads 47.7 to Romney’s 44.4. That is a statistical dead heat. Obama should have seen better numbers after the bruisin’ Romney just took.
So why is President Obama so vulnerable? Take a look at these seven reasons:
1. The real problem President Obama has is that there is a large chunk of the American public that loathes him.
It is irrational, and these voters have a hard time putting their rationale into words without spewing venom. Some of it is downright bigotry towards our first black President. Some of it is that he’s seen as the Other, i.e., Muslim, not one of us, elitist, pick your poison. Some of it is that his rock star quality grates on their souls like nails on a blackboard. And some because he’s just a loathsome Democrat, and you know what that means.
2. White guys are voting Republican.
This block of voters comprise the group that generally detests Obama, making them spit nails when they even have to say his name. Some are amongst the loathers, but then there are those who see him as a Communist or Socialist, a reincarnation of Big Brother.
Others have reasoned arguments against him such as the deficit, the economy, jobs, governmental overreach, and a government too big for its britches. Many of these men are blue-collar workers. Pew Research poll found Obama trailing Romney with white men by 26 points, 60 to 34 percent. Not a good sign.
3. The sluggish economy is not growing fast enough to take a big shock.
All it would take for us to fall back into a recession is for another European country to tumble into financial turmoil, one more tsunami to slam into the coast of Japan, or hostilities to erupt in the Mid East. One blip on the global radar and America’s economy would slump precipitously, taking President Obama’s chances with it. Events such as these are out of his control, but he is the captain on the ship of state and if the ship founders, so do his fortunes.
Just look at what the rising gas prices have done to his approval ratings. They were headed for the desired 50% mark, when the gas prices nosed upwards and his numbers nosed downwards.
4. “Things could be worse” is not a slogan to run on.
Like it or not, Republicans know President Obama inherited the Near Depression from President Bush, caused by the Republican love of tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, love of war, hence the Iraq debacle, and love of deregulation, thus our financial collapse. Instead, they blithely ignore those eight years of misrule and focus on why President Obama has not fixed things more quickly, even as they tied his hands with Congressional gamesmanship and filibusters.
For too long, the President played along, going along to get along, and all it got him was a mountain of misery. Having been a community organizer when he was young, bringing together disparate groups like gangs, he probably thought he could work the same magic again. What Obama did not realize was that Congressional Republicans make the Crips and Bloods look like the Cub Scouts.
So, yes, things could be worse, thanks to Republican obstructionism. But that doesn’t cut it with voters. We are a selfish group: we want things better not today, but yesterday. No excuses. No blame games. Just do it.
5. Many Democrats are not happy campers.
The further Left Democrats are on the political spectrum, the greater their unhappiness. Candidate Obama promised so much and delivered so little as far as they are concerned, from not closing Guantanamo to not making it easier for workers to unionize to not allowing imported drugs. Cranky voters do not make for grassroots troops, and it was the energized Left that turned out the vote. If the Left only votes this time around, but does little else, Obama has a problem.
Then there are those Democrats who are displeased with the Stimulus Package because it didn’t go far enough and didn’t come down on the financial institutions like a ton of bricks. An even greater segment of the population is either displeased with Obamacare because the President didn’t fight for Single Payer, much less the Public Option, or are people who have seen their insurance rates soar since Health Care Reform was passed. Not a happy group of voters.
6. Republicans have gone into overdrive to root out “voter fraud.”
Or so they say. Actually their real agenda is to make voting difficult, particularly for Democrats’ traditional constituencies: seniors, the poor, African Americans, Hispanics, and the young.
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law estimates that “voting restrictions could affect up to five million traditionally Democratic voters.” Another look at the numbers found that 189 electoral votes — 70 percent of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidential election — will come from those states with the new restrictive voting laws.
Already 12 states have passed restrictive laws with another 16 considering bills to curb voter registration or requiring photo ID. The new state laws ramrodded through the Republican state legislatures are supposedly designed to combat rampant voter fraud. http:
In actuality, the amount of voter fraud in this country is a myth akin to the Loch Ness Monster: sightings are claimed but voter fraud is nearly extinct. Under the Bush Administration, the Department of Justice launched a crackdown on voter fraud in 2002, but five years later it only had 86 convictions to show for the effort. That’s .00007 percent of the 122 million people who voted in the 2004 elections.
But “voter fraud” is a great way for Republicans to keep Democrats and potential Democrats from voting. And so far the ruse is working.
7. Slash and burn politics is now standard practice in elections.
PACs and now the Super PACs will turn the 2012 election into the year of The Scorched Earth. Romney’s barrage of negative TV ads in Florida made Newt Gingrich toast. The same happened to Rick Santorum when he rose to be the challenger. Since the Supreme Court opened the floodgates of unlimited cash with the Citizens United case, jumbo stashes of cash have funded some of the nastiest of ads.
At the same time, the candidate can hold up his hands, unsullied by the taint of smears, lies, half-truths, and innuendoes. This is the new politics and it is no holds barred. If you thought Mixed Martial Arts was brutal, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Wait till Romney lets loose the hounds of hell on Obama.
Just one of these seven could doom President Obama to be a one-term president. If there is a perfect storm and they all converge, it could be a Mitt Romney landslide.
This is the first of two columns on the chances of Obama and Romney winning the 2012 Presidential election.
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