Four years ago Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama?
Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump?
If the answer were “yes” to those questions, then President Obama would be running for re-election based on his achievements…and rightly so. But because he has failed, he will run a campaign of diversions, distractions, and distortions. That kind of campaign may have worked at another place and in a different time. But not here and not now. It’s still about the economy …and we’re not stupid.
Two is the fittingly surreal saga of whether Newt will signal an end to his campaign. Last night he told NBC, “I think we need to take a deep look at what we are doing,” and hinted that he might be done if he loses badly in Delaware, where he’s been campaigning lately. A source elaborated on that for NRO this morning, insisting that he’d have to finish at least a close second to Romney there to keep going. Then came the tamp-down from “campaign insiders,” who told Byron York that Newt won’t quit tonight no matter what happens.
Team Gingrich sees three possible scenarios. The first scenario is that Gingrich wins Delaware. “That’s a signal to conservatives and Tea Partiers and grassroots activists that there still is a conservative they can send to Tampa,” says the Gingrich aide. “And it sends the message to Romney that it’s not time to turn to the general election.” No one knows whether the winning scenario is at all plausible; there has been no polling of Delaware, with its tiny Republican population and 17 delegates.
Next comes the middle-road scenario in which Gingrich narrowly loses Delaware. “That’s where we do well enough that it demonstrates there’s a chink in Romney’s armor,” the aide says. When asked what “well enough” means, the aide answered, “Within a couple of points — a close loss.”
The worst-case scenario is that Gingrich loses big in Delaware.
If they lose, says the source, they’ll “reassess” things but Gingrich will continue on to North Carolina to try to pick up another southern state. I really hope he pulls it off tonight in Delaware, just because I’m itching to watch a victory speech from bizarroland in which Newt boldly proclaims “game on” in the primary while literally everyone else in the GOP is pivoting to Obama. It’ll be an instant classic. A little taste from his chat with reporters this afternoon: “I think it’s a very substantial mistake for Governor Romney to be pretending these primaries aren’t occurring, and for him to be having ‘a general-election speech’ tonight in New Hampshire. He’s the front-runner, but he’s not the nominee, and I think it’s a little insulting to the people of these states.” C’mon, Dover tea partiers: If you made it to the polls for Christine O’Donnell, you can make it there to guarantee one last Gingrichian stemwinder. And even if not, I think Newt will probably find enough encouragement in PPP’s poll showing him within 10 of Romney in Texas to plow ahead anyway. My hunch is that he wants one more big win, one more right hook to Romney’s jaw, before succumbing.
Here’s his new video message aimed squarely at Santorum voters in North Carolina. Speaking of which, how much longer until Team Sweater Vest climbs aboard Romney’s “Anybody But Obama” Express? According to CNN, a meeting’s likely to happen early next month to discuss the role “social conservatives, tea party activists and blue collar Republicans will play in the campaign and in the Romney administration.”
Update: NBC just called Delaware for Romney. With 62 percent reporting, Mitt leads Gingrich there 56/30. Your move, Newt.