While conservatives and/or Republicans and/or opponents of President Barack Obama (D) are basking in the warm fuzzie wuzzies of some polling statistics indicating that Mitt Romney (R) or even Mickey Mouse (political affiliation unknown) could defeat Obama in the election ten months from now, Obama has been doing more than publicly golfing and partying hearty while on vacation.
While no one was looking, immediately after returning from vacation he pulled a fast one during a mini Congressional break, Obama appointed an interim head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Constitution, precedent and his own senatorial disagreement about these shenanigans be damned. For good measure he threw in three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.
The president acted just a day after the Senate held a session - breaking with at least three different precedents that said the Senate must be in recess for at least three days for the president to exercise his appointment power. Mr. Obama himself was part of two of those precedents, both during his time in the Senate and again in 2010 when one of his administration's top constitutional lawyers made the argument for the three-day waiting period to the Supreme Court.
"If Congress won't act, I, King Barack, will," he imperiously announced. "Constititional scholar and Constitution professor that I never was, I know I can get away with this, because I won."
These are the actions and the voice of a confident man; a man with a clever, forceful, win at any cost team backing him.
Frightened yet? No? Read on.
Andrew Romano of the Daily Beast informs us:
Team Obama has quietly built a juggernaut reelection machine in Chicago
The Obama campaign is not kidding around. I recently visited its headquarters in Chicago, and I can personally vouch for how much it's not kidding around. Yes, there was a blue Ping-Pong table in the middle of the office-custom-made, evidently, because the Obama 2012 logo was emblazoned on it. (Twice.) There were printouts of people's nicknames-Sandals! Shermanator!-where corporate nameplates usually go. There was a mesh trucker hat from South Dakota, which was blaze orange and said "Big Cock Country" on the crown. There was a cardboard speech bubble ("nom nom data nom") affixed to an Uglydoll. There was miniature air-hockey table. A narwhal mural. A stuffed Rastafarian banana.
But do not be deceived. There was also a chaperone following me everywhere I went and digitally recording everything anyone said to me. Ben LaBolt, Obama's press secretary, and Stephanie Cutter, his deputy campaign manager, closed their doors as I walked by. An underling clammed up when I asked what she and her colleagues do on the weekends. At one point my minder agreed to let me out of her sight for a few milliseconds, but then I got too close to a big whiteboard covered in hieroglyphic flow charts and she instantaneously materialized at my side, having somehow teleported the 50 yards from where I'd last seen her. "Sorry," she said, not sounding sorry at all.
Meanwhile, Obama's fundraising brigade hit the million-donor mark in six months flat, or twice as fast as last time around, with nearly half of the campaign's cash now coming from donors giving less than $200-a much higher percentage than in 2008. Even the corner-office crowd is sticking with the president, at least for the moment: together with the Democratic Nation-al Committee, Obama raised $15.6 million from financial-sector workers through September, more than the entire Republican field. All told, Chicago and the DNC have raked in an estimated $190 million to $200 million to date, which is roughly quadruple Romney's projected 2011 haul, and analysts expect the campaign could reach $1 billion by November.
Well all that shared wealth should certainly stimulate the economy--or at least some people's economy such as those wonky techies hard at work drilling away day and night.
Which means that the unglamorous, behind-the-scenes grind of maximizing turnout and persuading voters to support the president, both online and off, will be even more important than it was four years ago. Messina says he's ready. "Our efforts on the ground and on technology," he promised me, "will make 2008 look prehistoric."
From what I saw in Chicago, Messina is right to boast. In a dark, distant corner of the office, a team of more than a dozen developers sat on big, bouncy yoga balls, tapping away on the customized black keyboards they brought from home. Many of them had unusual facial hair, or unusual piercings, or both, which may be why I heard someone refer to them as "those guys who look like they're Occupying the office." Nonetheless, the developers were very much welcome at One Prudential Plaza. For months now, they have been figuring out how to rewrite the campaign's code-created when the iPhone was a novelty, when Twitter barely existed, and when Facebook was one tenth its current size-for this year's digital landscape.
Out in Chicago, an army of brilliant worrywarts is slaving away to ensure that Obama won't lose the 2012 election because of organization or technology-and thanks to them he probably won't.
But no one really knows if Chicago's meticulous planning will be enough to protect the president from defeat. Not Axelrod. Not Messina. Not this year.
So snap out of it, don't believe the polls showing disappointment in Obama, generic Republican candidate approval means automatic Obama fail.
As that great philosopher Yogi Berra noted, "It ain't over til it is over."
Remember you're up against The Chicago Way. And it ain't pretty.
Just think: Obama, Four More Years!
There! I scared you. Now get going!