The president can visit as many green companies as he likes. His team can put out as many strategy videos as it likes. It can organize its ground game in Virginia all day and all night. None of this is going to change the fundamentals of this upcoming election, which are:
1. The economy is substantially weaker for Obama than for other previous presidents who won reelection.
2. The deficit is now substantially higher than before.
3. His major domestic reform–Obamacare–is substantially more unpopular.
4. The American people are substantially more pessimistic.
That’s the state of the nation at this point. Nothing the Obama campaign can do at this point will affect any of these fundamentals–the hope is that its efforts will alter the public’s perceptions of these fundamentals, but it won’t. If we’ve learned anything in the last 50 years of the modern campaign, it’s that the billion dollar efforts of campaign technocrats, who now dominate our politics, cannot convince people that the sun rises in the west.
So, when we peel back the spin, the boasting, and the partisan hyperbole, we get the following: The president is going to need real improvement on at least one of those four items, or he is going to lose next year, and the race will be over before midnight on the East Coast. And there won’t be a single thing David Axelrod, Jim Messina, or David Plouffe can do to stop it.