If the next five months are anything like the last two, Barack Obama is toast. That’s what many Democrats are saying privately, and it’s not about Wisconsin.
The effort to recall Scott Walker failed, but exit polls show the president holding an edge in the state, which hasn’t voted Republican since 1984. It’s the weak job numbers from last week that has Democrats panicking. There’s a sense that the economy has stalled, and that the Obama campaign is stuck in a time warp with a message that assumes steady if slow progress, when the jobs picture may not get better.
“Our real concern is that they’re just sleepwalking,” says a Democratic strategist, who did not want to be quoted by name criticizing the Obama campaign. His fear, echoed by many, is that Obama’s responses to the dire economic conditions fall far short of the bold leadership needed.
The latest gimmick rolled out by the White House, a To-Do list aimed at Congress that fits on a Post-it note, is emblematic of what’s missing. “A To-Do list is for little things, like picking up the dry cleaning; you don’t put “schedule your son’s MRI” or “buy a new house” on the list,” says this frustrated Democrat.
Mitt Romney would collect at least 72 of the 110 electoral votes available in eight battleground states if President Barack Obama’s current polling numbers, as reported by The Huffington Post, are overstated by a mere one percent.
Romney would win that electoral majority in Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Wisconsin if there is a one percent undercount and if undecided voters there split evenly between Romney and Obama…
[I]f the undecided voters break for Romney by two-thirds, Romney would win all those states’ 110 votes, pushing him well above the 270 margin and earning Obama a helicopter ride home to Illinois…
Some Democratic-leaning organizations are concerned that the polls may overstate Obama’s support. “This is going to be a very tough year to poll,” MSNBC host Chris Matthews said Wednesday
Senate Democratic leaders are politically paralyzed on how to proceed on the Bush-era tax rates.
With five months to go before the election, President Obama and key congressional Democrats remain at odds on whether the threshold for extending the George W. Bush-era rates for families should be $250,000 per year or $1 million annually. Obama backs the former while most Democratic leaders, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), support the higher threshold…
Democratic leaders maintain they are content to play defense, but are worried that some vulnerable Democrats might defect and support a temporary extension of all the Bush-era rates, which would undercut their negotiating position.
It’s a fascinating weakness of this presidency: Obama has no reliable surrogates. Joe Biden is the vice president, and 90 percent of his job description is to be a carnival barker for his boss. But, particularly since Biden forced the president’s hand on gay marriage, it’s apparently dawned on the White House that Biden is less than dependable as a wingman. Sure, he might begin a statement by saying, “This president saved us from another Great Depression.” But you never know if he’ll finish by adding, “My neighbor has three rabbits,” or, “These are not my pants.”
The president has tried to be his own surrogate, personally going on the attack against Romney. But all that does is remind voters that Obama doesn’t want to talk about his own record — and further diminishes his tattered bipartisan brand.
That’s probably one reason they tried out David Axelrod as an anti-Romney hatchet man in Boston the other week. But you know your audition as Obama pitch man hasn’t gone well when 90 percent of the media coverage boils down to either stories about how you were booed by Romney supporters, or stories about how everyone’s asking, “What meth-head thought Axelrod would be a good surrogate?”
Dominoes, anyone? The chips, indeed, are beginning to fall. They fell in Wisconsin, where Democrats failed to unseat Gov. Scott Walker in the recall election. Not incidentally, Obama was MIA in the run-up to the election. Might he have sensed that things would not go well for Democrats and thus decided to step out of the frame? When the going gets tough, the survivors vamoose.
All of which is to say, Obama has had a bad couple of weeks. Job numbers are still lousy, and the Supreme Court may soon drop a daisy cutter on the president’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act.
But the fact that Obama’s surrogates can’t stick to the script may be the best barometer of his perilous incumbency. In the political jungle, where people tend to be more Darwinian than divine, he is wounded and the pack is beginning to turn. Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, who could be a hockey mom if he wore lipstick, recently told CBS’s Charlie Rose that Hillary Clinton would have been a better president.
Yes, that is blood you smell.
It’s way too early to say who the next president will be. But even now, in June, we can already predict at least one outcome of November’s election: if Mitt Romney ends up winning the White House, he will have a better shot at success than many of his presidential predecessors — and he will have Barack Obama to thank for the leg up…
I’m not arguing Romney would automatically be a great president. Nor am I saying that Obama deserves credit for everything his potential successor could eventually accomplish. Mitt could, and presumably would, make some mistakes. All presidents do. And history is unpredictable: the forces that ultimately define or derail a presidency are impossible to identify in advance. My only point is that right now, Romney is on track, if elected, to enter the Oval Office with a stronger wind at his back than many of its previous occupants, including Obama.