Never Been So Happy to Be So Wrong
During the primaries, I wrote a scathing article, published here on American Thinker, about Mitt Romney. In it I detailed exactly what I believed his weaknesses were and what he would do to shoot himself in the foot.
I have to say that I have never been so happy to be so wrong. After working as a campaign chair for the Mike Pence campaign for governor, campaigning in my heavily-Democratic city, reading the trends in the relevant polls, talking to voters, and watching the presidential campaign unfold, myself and my fellow Republicans are coming to the same conclusion. Ladies and gentlemen, without trying to paint an unrealistically positive picture of this election, my fellow campaign operatives and I believe we are seeing the signs of a developing wave year. Thus I thought I might share what is going on from the perspective of our Republican "war rooms", and hopefully spread a little guarded hope for our prospects come November.
Barack is making all of the wrong moves. Mitt is making all of the right ones.
First, Axelrod and the media made an enormous mistake attempting to paint Mitt Romney as a wild-eyed, radical version of the Monopoly man. Mitt was criticized by his base for months for not being conservative enough. If he wasn't conservative enough for his base, how exactly can you paint him as a right-winger? The man got elected in Massachusetts as a Republican governor. He knows exactly how not to sound like an extremist. The flip-flopper line of attack would have been far more effective if you wanted to ruin his credibility, but switching gears this late in the game would reek of desperation. (Which I might add, they have done anyway.) Secondly, the Obama campaign has completely failed to articulate a plan going forward. This is essential when the country is going through hard times like these. People don't want class-warfare rhetoric. They want a positive message of the future and what at least sounds like a plan of how to get there. Finally, the administration has done a poor job defending Obama's record. I will not hold that against them though. It is by definition impossible to defend the indefensible.
On the flip side of the coin, Mitt Romney has done everything right. Like every other conservative campaigner, I believed that Mitt Romney would be a repeat of the McCain concession campaign of 2008. I honestly thought that "Moderate Mittens" would ignore his base, apologize for being a Republican, call the president a "great guy", and beg people to vote for him because he will "reach across the aisle". Instead Mitt Romney took his base seriously and selected Paul Ryan as his VP. While we conservatives see Paul Ryan as a reasonable man, (and some of us see him as not conservative enough) he is a political lightning rod and it took guts to select him. After consolidating his base with his VP pick, Romney then took the fight to Barack over his dismal record. Yet at the same time Mitt has done it without getting ugly, and he has also articulated a positive plan for a bright future. The importance of this cannot be overstated. It is not enough to simply tell people why they shouldn't vote for the other guy. You also have to give them something to vote for. Just who are you going to support? The Hope and Change president, who is running a 100% negative campaign, or the bright cheery guy with a plan to turn things around?
I for one do not take polls at face value, and, especially in this year of pollsters fudging their numbers and turnout models, one has to be very careful how you read the polls. However, polling is not entirely useless when one both learns how to read a poll and views multiple polls on the same subject. In an incumbent election approximately 80% of undecided voters on Election Day will break for the challenger. Therefore, when an incumbent is at 49% it becomes a nail-biter whose outcome boils down to turnout. When an incumbent is at 48% or below, he typically loses his bid for another term. In poll after poll, both on the national level and the state level, we find Barack at or below 48% with Romney nipping at his heels, and Obama isn't the only one in this position. Incumbent democratic senators across the country find themselves under water. (Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, and Montana come to mind) With support slumping to these levels, don't be surprised when democratic senators once thought safe are dragged down by the anchor known as Barack Obama. Furthermore, many of these polls are basing their turnout models upon 2008, and some of them are even adding to 2008's Democratic advantage! How many of us actually believe that the Democrats are even going to maintain their turnout advantage this year, let alone add to it? Finally, the state-by-state polling is showing us that Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are tossups, and Minnesota is heading towards the tossup column. In what world does a Democrat win the presidency when these reliable blue states are in play for a Republican? If Mitt flips even one of these states on election night, it will be a complete blowout.
In my opinion, the role of the debates this year has been overstated. An incumbent election is always about the incumbent. People first ask if they are happy with the incumbent. If the answer is no, then they ask if the challenger is acceptable. Before the debate, there were many undecided and soft Obama supporters who actually didn't want to vote for Obama, but, due to 100+ million dollars in negative ads, weren't sure if they could trust Romney. On Oct 3rd, Mitt Romney went into the debate and showed himself to be aman who wasn't crazy, was competent, and had a plan. Barack was just... Barack. What was telling was how many people had been looking for an excuse to vote for Romney and switched accordingly. This is why Barack's later "wins" didn't result in a polling bounce for him. While Barack was more aggressive, Romney didn't shoot himself in the foot and thus retained the people who sided with him after the first debate.
From day one Benghazi has been a complete disaster for the President, which is why he and his media cronies have tried so hard to cover it up. Despite their best efforts, the story has gone viral. The best evidence of this was shown by Gallup. In the three days after the leak of the emails detailing the firefight, Obama's approval rating dropped seven points. What Obama did in Benghazi bothers me more than anything else he's done. Having had limited experiences with the military and family in the military, I felt an instant camaraderie with those heroes who fought to save the lives of those consulate employees. When I read the blow-by-blow account of what happened, I was in tears. The revelations that have come out since have only served to enrage me. You don't have to be a soldier or have loved ones who are in the military to feel deeply betrayed by this event. You don't have to be a Republican. You don't have to be an independent. You just have to be an American. The truth about Benghazi penetrates to one's soul. Upon hearing it once must either decide to cease their support of Barack or choose to believe it simply isn't true. The more people find out about this, the worse Obama's support will crater. That being said, I can hear AT readers screaming "but why didn't Romney bring it up in the debate?!?!" I'll tell you why. Romney is seeing the same trends in the internal polling we are, and he knows he is going to win. To walk onto a national stage and accuse a man, who is still seen by a majority of Americans as likeable, of killing an ambassador through incompetence and then leaving Navy SEALs to die in order to cover it up, is just about the most polarizing thing a candidate could do. If it's not played absolutely right, it could easily backfire and hurt Romney. At this point the most important job Romney has, indeed all of us have, is to defeat Barack Obama in the election. Anything that puts that at risk that isn't worth it. The truth will come out on Benghazi. Heads will roll. Obama's head won't, but then again it never was going to. The legal forces surrounding him have made him untouchable. I don't like it. In fact I hate it. However the best thing for Romney to do is to let senators, congressmen, Fox News, and websites like American Thinker make the story go viral. Romney realized that and went out there and looked more presidential than the president, and his favorability ratings overtook Barack's as a result.
Obama's campaign is showing the signs of a presidency going down in flames: sputtering messaging that changes every day, creepy ads comparing voting for Barack to losing your virginity, binders, Big Bird, money being pulled out of "battleground states", heavy campaigning in deep blue states, polls collapsing, and a challenger who looks more like the president than the president. It all points to a coming wave that will wash Barack and his allies in the Senate out of office.
Mitt Romney may not have been my guy in the primary, and indeed I will likely find myself criticizing him again. However, when I do, I'll be referring to him as "President Romney".