As I’ve been saying for months, the “atmospherics” which surrounded the Obama win in 2008 just don’t exist in 2012. They’re just not there. The excitement has vanished, the “hope” has been dashed and the “change” – well, it’s not at all what those who hung their own meaning on the word thought they’d see.
In other words, the President is and has been in deep electoral trouble for some time. The only thing that has really helped him and propped him up is the media. Many in the media have spent an inordinate time trying to explain away or cover up very serious failings on the part of his administration. The media has also constructed a strawman Mitt Romney which they used to “help’ Obama as well.
Two events have sort of tipped the scales against the incumbent, however. The first debate (Romney unfiltered, Obama unenthused) and Benghazi. It is those two events which have, in my opinion (note the word), started the preference cascade toward a Romney win.
Indicators? Well there are quite a few.
One, for instance, is a newspaper endorsement from a very liberal paper. That would be The Tennessean. Why is that significant? Well, as Glenn Reynolds points out, it provides “social permission” to deviate from the Democratic norm. And that sort of permission is necessary to begin a preference cascade. Today the Orlando Sentinal also endorsed Romney. Expect to see more of these sorts of endorsements in the coming days.
Another is found in polls showing the unexpected. For instance, Romney with a chance in PA? Really? Well apparently, if this poll is to be believed, it’s more than a chance. And that may have downstream effects if true. Meanwhile, in MO, the odious Todd Aiken has gone ahead of equally odious Democrat Claire McCaskill (great choice you have there, MO). That’s important for a very good reason – it has do with enthusiasm and which side appears to have it.
Additionally, both the Romney and Obama campaigns are pulling out of NC. Why? Because it appears the state’s results are no longer in doubt. It will not go to Obama this time and, apparently, that’s not even iffy. Florida seems to be going that way as well and my guess is VA too.
In OH, coal miners are mad as hell. While that may not put OH in total jeopardy, it doesn’t make a state that was comfortably Obama’s in 2008 the same in 2012.
Other indicators? How about the defection of this one-time solidly Democratic demographic?
Romney’s surging poll numbers in the crucial state of Florida reflect his growing success with Bubbie Molly and her unemployed grandson Adam, who both thought their right hand would wither if it ever pulled the lever for a Republican.
The signs and portents are everywhere, beginning with the special election of a Republican in Anthony Weiner’s heavily Jewish, New York congressional district one year ago. Now a startling new poll even has Romney performing the ultimate miracle: the parting of the blue states, winning the Jewish vote by a healthy 44% to 40%!
Florida activist Alan Bergstein described his recent experience advocating for Romney in the Jewish stronghold of Delray Beach. “Of about 100 entering and leaving the Bagel Tree eatery in that plaza, we ran into only two Democrats and loads and loads of Romney supporters. They stopped to talk to us, to congratulate us and to support us with their views of the Ryan/Biden debate. They were militant and fearless.”
Why? Well, for every effect there is a cause. In this case, it’s pretty clear:
The Democratic Party booing God and Jerusalem: At their national convention, Democratic leaders attempted to do undo the political damage of stripping all mention of God and Jerusalem as Israel’s capital from their party platform. But when they asked for a floor vote to add God and Jerusalem to the platform, the delegates loudly booed – three times. As the cameras revealed the hate-filled faces of the jeering delegates, some Jews felt frightened by the ugly scene.
Obama’s open contempt for Prime Minister Netanyahu: From the beginning of his presidency, Obama has seemed to enjoy humiliating Israel’s elected leader. He walked out on Netanyahu in the White House, claiming he had to eat dinner, and refused to pose for an official photograph with him. Now, as Iran races to complete a nuclear weapon, Obama rejected Netanyahu’s request for a meeting in New York, choosing to appear on The View instead. And when Netanyahu spoke at the United Nations, Obama instructed both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice not to attend.
Fawning over the Jewish people’s enemies: Obama bowed to the Saudi king, gave a high-profile speech in Cairo, apologizing to the Muslim world, and ordered NASA to make “Muslim outreach” its foremost priority. Over the objections of Congress, he gave at least $1.5 billion to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which advocates for “holy jihad” against Israel. And when Muslim terrorists murdered our Libyan ambassador, Obama responded with a speech at the UN, in which he stated, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
Appointment of anti-Semites to high government positions: Obama just appointed a Muslim leader who blames Israel for the 9/11 attacks to serve as US delegate to a Warsaw human rights conference. Salam al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), openly supports Hizbollah and Hamas. Al-Marayati is only the latest of Obama officials hostile to Israel, including foreign policy advisor Samantha Power and UN Ambassador Susan Rice.
Obama’s long association with anti-Semites: Obama spent 20 years in the Chicago church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who maintains, “The state of Israel is an illegal, genocidal…place.” Obama’s biggest contributor is George Soros, who is a prime funder of anti-Israel NGOs. And Obama’s close association with Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi is still being kept under wraps by the Los Angeles Times, which refuses to release a video of a reportedly inflammatory toast to Khalidi by Obama at a 2003 dinner. Breitbart News is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone with a copy of the tape.
Iran’s Growing Nuclear Capabilities: Obama has seemed more interested in deterring Israel from defending itself than in stopping Iran. His Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff explicitly stated he doesn’t want to be “complicit” in an Israeli attack on Iran, implying such an attack would be criminal. Now counter-terrorism expert Reza Kahlili is reporting that Obama’s emissaries have struck a secret “October surprise” deal with Iran, in which Iran will announce a halt to their uranium enrichment, in order to enhance Obama’s presidential prospects. The deal reportedly was negotiated in Qatar with former Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velyati, who’s wanted by Argentina for the Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people. If Obama has lost the trust of Jewish voters, they may not dismiss these reports as completely impossible.
That’s a very long and compelling list. Long and compelling enough to see a usually reliable demographic begin to seriously question their support for the incumbent.
Indeed, what Obama is facing for the first time in his life is having to live up to his real performance. No excuses. No BS hype and pretending. No Nobel prize his first day in office. He is being judged on performance, merit and judgement. He’s apparently being found less that adequate in all three by a huge part of America.
Add to that the fact that he seems to have no discernable plan to alter or correct his deficiencies or those of his administration and policies. That’s probably because he doesn’t think he has any (remember, he thought he won the first debate). How does one “change” if there’s nothing that needs changing?
So, all that being said, it is my opinion (again note the word) while reviewing the evidence at hand that the preference cascade we’ve talked about for months is beginning if not well underway. Look for a lot of “whistling past the graveyard” as the Obama campaign and their surrogates downplay and ignore the gathering bad news.
But in the meantime, watch the indicators. At the least, they promise an excruciatingly tight vote. And, if they say what I think they’re saying, Obama will be back in Chicago on January 21, 2013.
And what a mess the new president will inherit from him.
Another sign or indicator of how the upcoming Presidential election may go may be found in the level of household income. It’s down. In fact it is down to below the levels it had fallen during the recession.
Household income is down sharply since the recession ended three years ago, according to a report released Thursday, providing another sign of the stubborn weakness of the economic recovery.
From June 2009 to June 2012, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 4.8 percent to $50,964, according to a report by Sentier Research, a firm headed by two former Census Bureau executives.
Incomes have dropped more since the beginning of the recovery than they did during the recession itself, when they declined 2.6 percent, according to the report, which analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The recession, the most severe since the Great Depression, lasted from December 2007 to June 2009.
Overall, median income is 7.2 percent below its December 2007 level and 8.1 percent below where it stood in January 2000, which was at $55,470, according to the report.
Of course, being an average, the impact has been both far reaching and deep. That means personal. We’re not discussing some esoteric issue that seems more abstract than real or some policy which may never effect voters. We’re talking about their family’s income, what they take home, the means by which they support their family.
This drop speaks to millions of jobs lost, those who have found jobs likely to be under employed, belt tightening among households to get by.
If someone asked the question, “are you better off now than you were 4 years ago”, the answer for a very large portion of America would be “no”.
The next question then, maybe not asked out loud, but certainly considered is: “are you willing to give the President 4 more years considering what has or hasn’t been accomplished this 4 years?”
Again, other than the ideologues and the yellow-dog voters, that’s a question a vast majority will answer when they pull the curtain on the voting booth. Given history and the indicators we keep seeing, I believe the answer to that question is also going to be “no”.
As Politico says, the poll among non-voters is a good news/bad news poll if you want to look at it that way:
Forty-three percent of nonvoters are Obama supporters, the survey found, while 20 percent of the nonvoters support Romney, 18 percent back a third-party candidate and 15 percent are undecided.
How is this good news? Well here’s the claim. See if you don’t agree the bad news is likely to be the real news here:
“The good news is that there is a treasure chest of voters he doesn’t even have to persuade — they already like him and dislike Mitt Romney. He just needs to unlock the chest and get them out to vote. The bad news is that these people won’t vote because they feel beaten down by empty promises, a bad economy and the negativity of both parties. Obama has lost time — and the key — to open that treasure chest.”
Actually, his poor performance has put the key out of reach. But no one wants to say that, I suppose.
What this indicates to me is the masses that were motivated to vote the last time aren’t at all motivated this time to turn out for Mr. Hope and Change.
His real problem though isn’t with non-voters, it’s with real voters, real voters that have supported him and must turn out in similar numbers as last time for him to win. It would appear many have returned to the non-voting roles.
Netroots Nation, the activist left convention held every year by the Daily Kos may be a reflection of another problem:
“I want to be happy with him,” said Democrat Kristine Vaughan, a 45-year-old school psychologist from Canton, Ohio. “But I am finding that he has succumbed to the corporate influence as much as everyone else. I think he has so much potential to break out of that, but overall he has been a disappointment.”
The sentiment is not unique among the 2,700 people gathered on the first day of this three-day convention. More than a dozen liberals interviewed here indicated some level of frustration with the president, despite widespread praise for his recent decision to support gay marriage and ongoing push to scale back military action in the Middle East.
Of course, Ms. Vaughan –an activist – will turn out and she will vote, but the question is, will she do it enthusiastically? The answer is likely “no”. It’s a duty this time. So what does that say for the non-activist voter that previously voted for Obama? See above.
Kate Hicks points out:
Those who do still plan to vote for Obama, however, report that they’re less willing to put in the same sort of get-out-the-vote effort that they displayed last time. Indeed, part of Obama’s victory in 2008 stemmed from increasing voter mobilization, and while the die-hards will trudge to the polls in November, they’re less likely to work quite so hard to encourage others to do so, too.
And we all know that Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts are key to winning elections. Last time Obama had a massive and effective GOTV effort (and the money with which to do it). This time, not as much money and certainly not as much enthusiasm surrounding the effort.
A final indicator:
A Gallup/USA Today survey released Monday found that 74 percent of Republicans were thinking of the election “quite a lot,” compared with 61 percent of Democrats.
The enthusiasm gap remains and is real. And it’s not good news for the incumbent President (who yesterday visited Oiho, one of the 57 states).