Well, stop blogging for a month or so and when you come back, the world has turned a little bit. The ratcheting up of the Euro crisis, the effective end to the Republican presidential nomination process, the sudden and complete inability of David Cameron’s Conservative Party to do anything right, in terms of either action or image… Guess I learned something there. Anyway, picking up where I left off in April…
So much handwringing in the media at the moment about President Obama’s political fortunes and reelection prospects!
Nothing inspires Democrats like the Barack Obama swagger – the supreme self-confidence on stage, the self-certainty in private.
So nothing inspires more angst than when that same Obama stumbles, as he has leaving the gate in 2012.
National polls, which had shown Obama with a slight but steady lead over Romney through April, moved into a virtual tie this month — despite Romney’s clumsy conclusion to the GOP race.
And from The Daily Beast:
The dirty little secret of campaigns is that there are usually just two messages. Either: Stay the Course or It’s Time for a Change. When Barack Obama won 53 percent of the popular vote and carried 28 states, just 14 percent of Americans thought we were moving in the right direction. So it was obviously a Time for a Change election. When Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton coasted to easy reelections, the country’s mood was undeniably Stay the Course. The election coming up in November is stuck in between. Americans don’t know whether to forge ahead or swing back.
And watching from across the pond, The Daily Telegraph:
There are storm clouds on the horizon for Barack Obama’s re-election.
Democrats indulged in over-confidence during the Republican primaries. It was an understandable reaction to the chaos that came with all the pandering to the far-Right and the rise of frankly laughable candidates like Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain in the search for an alternative to Mitt Romney.
After that debacle, the Romney campaign manager’s promise of an “etch-a-sketch” moment to re-shake and re-shape public perception about their candidate seemed a dose too hopeful.
But only a month after the Republican primaries all but officially ended, we have a real horserace on our hands.
According to a new Washington Post/ABC poll, 30 percent of Americans say they are worse off than when President Obama took office in the depths of the fiscal crisis. This is comparable to the numbers President George HW Bush faced when he lost re-election to Bill Clinton in 1992.
And right now Obama and Romney are essentially tied when registered voters are asked who would be better at creating jobs and handling the economy.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why spend so much time speculating about an event the outcome of which is almost a foregone conclusion?
I understand the motives of the professional media. People will not tune in to The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer or Hardball with Chris Matthews in significant numbers to get their daily dose of the campaign ups and downs if they think that the result is already assured. That would mean less advertising revenues for the networks, and a huge army of unemployed cable news talking heads who would suddenly flood the market and push unemployment back up above 9%. So the word must continue to go out that the uninspirational, unpersonable technocrat who is unable to motivate his base and who campaigns like an electioneering android with a gaffe bug actually poses a serious threat to Obama’s reelection chances.
With regard to the professional media, I think there is also the bias factor. And by that I don’t mean the fact that all news outlets are biased in one direction or another, but actually the fact that all of the television and most print sources (even Fox News to some extent) strive to appear “balanced” when reporting the news, to tell both sides of the story (even if, in Fox’s case, the tone of voice, facial expressions and screen captions help to “guide” the viewer as to which side is correct).
At some point – and not being a student of journalism and media I don’t know when – good television reporting stopped meaning uncovering and reporting the truth, but rather reporting and giving equal weight to both sides of a story. So if Sam says the world is round but Bob says that it is a perfect cube, today’s headline will read “Sam and Bob spar in congress over shape of the world” rather than “Bob effectively ends his career with insane statement”.
But why do we ordinary people do it to ourselves? Are we just led by the media, or is there something else at work too?
I suppose that I will be doing the blogging walk of shame come November this year if the unthinkable occurs and Romney does become president-elect. But seriously. Are we all really so bored and in need of intrigue that we are going to kid ourselves that this one is even going to be close?