Eight months out from November 6, despite bad economic news and President Obama’s virtual tie in head-to-head polls with Gov. Mitt Romney, the dominant wisdom is that the presidential election will be a close race, but President Obama likely will win reelection. Let me add my opinion to the small but growing number of conservative pundits that believe it won’t be a close race, and President Obama will lose. Here’s why.
Pollsters and pundits tell us this year’s election is all about the economy. They debate with each other about how the unemployment rate and the price of gas will affect the election. They cite the roll these factors played in past elections. And they bombard us with polls about how voters think President Obama is doing his job, President Obama’s and Gov. Romney’s likeability ratings, and head to head polls on how people would vote “if the election were held today.”
They’re right, of course, the state of the U.S. economy, jobs, and the price of gas are what concerns Americans most. Election Day, however, remains months away and there is a wild card in this election that I believe, in the final all-in hand, will give Gov. Mitt Romney the winning cards. That wild card is President Barack Obama.
In the 2008 election Sen. Obama was a rock star. Americans superimposed on him their hopes and dreams as if Barack Obama was an empty vessel to be filled with them. His candidacy was historical and his promise of a post-racial America was compelling. John McCain looked old school, erratic, and past his prime. Barack Obama presented himself as an acceptable, even a desirable alternative.
After 40 months in office, however, Mr. Obama remains an enigma to most Americans. Despite the countless speeches he’s given, the liberal/progressive policies he’s pursued, and the endless analyses of him, we still don’t know the inner man. Barack Obama is more like the ideal actor from central casting sent to play the role of a Democratic president than a man of the people he portrays himself to be. He reads his lines with eloquence and feeling, but he has failed to touch the American heart with sincere emotion?
What we are left with to judge him is a record of failure and misdirection.
The U.S. Supreme Court appears about to declare the signature achievement of President Obama’s first term in office, Obamacare, unconstitutional, as his domestic-policy cabinet secretaries continue to seek the regulate every aspect of American life.
His anti-fossil-fuel energy policy has prevented America from recovering from the great recession, killing rather than creating jobs. His Environmental Protection Agency seeks to “crucify” U.S. oil and gas companies.
Racial tensions in America have increased rather than decreased under President Obama, as many Democrats play the race card at every opportunity to solidify their base.
Now, as the President campaigns for reelection, he seeks to misdirect our attention from his record and focus on other issues that divide rather than unite Americans. His surrogates say Republicans have declared a “war on women.” President Obama, with U.S. deficit and entitlement spending spiraling out of control, attacks Republicans that offer solutions without providing solutions of his own.
Still, the majority of Americans say they like him personally and his Republican opposition say that he’s a “nice guy.” Where I grew up, nice guys didn’t try to run their neighbor’s lives or ask them for money only to waste it and ask for more.
Nevertheless, as we approach Election Day, truly independent voters, and that includes some registered Democrats and Republicans, that will determine the outcome, must decide if they will vote for President Obama, Gov. Romney, or just stay home. Their answer to a nagging question likely will determine how most of them will vote. Is electing President Obama worth the risk?
As President Obama whispered to outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, “After the election I’ll have more flexibility.” What voters know they can expect in an Obama second term is an attempt to solidify the progressive agenda he failed to achieve in his first term and go beyond it. Even without majorities in both houses of Congress, President Obama’s executive orders and his cabinet officials regulations can make an immense impact on American business, the American people and U.S. foreign policy.
According to a recent Pew Survey poll, today, just one in three Americans have a favorable view of the federal government, a 15-year low, a statistic that should, and likely does, deeply worry the Obama presidential campaign, because it includes a large number of Democratic voters.
Not all Democrats like what’s been coming out of Washington, D.C. these past 40 months. Not all Democrats are progressives or liberals. Not all Democrats share Barack Obama’s social-democratic, big government vision. Like most Republicans and Independents, they don’t want the kind overbearing, oppressive federal government the see looming on the horizon.
This doesn’t mean that the majority of members of the Democratic coalition won’t vote for President Obama. What it means is that many of them won’t vote at all while most Independent voters will vote for Gov. Romney.
My guess is that even if the polls reflect a close race down to the wire, unless President Obama can garner a consistent 50 percent or better, he’ll lose big.