Soaring rhetoric, sorry record

In the wake of the President's post-convention bounce, another Walter Russell Meade blog post suggests that while the President is "not in immediate danger of retracing Jimmy Carter's career trajectory," there is a potential danger for Obama - and opportunity for Romney - in the contrast between Obama's soaring rhetoric and his sorry record:

But if anything undercuts President Obama's ability to influence voters by making speeches, his campaign is in much deeper trouble. Oratory was always the heart of Obama's political strength. The deep, wise voice booming from that slender young and even boyish speaker inspired millions of people. But unless you believe that Obamacare is a historic accomplishment ... it's hard to make the case that our current president's deeds live up to his lofty, soaring words.

An effective Republican attack along these lines would do more than blunt the edge of Obama's appeal. It would turn his greatest political strength into a source of weakness: the more eloquently he spoke the more vulnerable he would be to the contrast between soaring words and mingy [rhymes with dingy] deeds. Each inspiring speech would provide footage for yet another ad pointing out the contrast with the plodding record...

... attempting to convert the President's speech making abilities into a liability by playing on what they see as the chasm between rhetoric and achievement.

While the Obama bounce amounts to a 2-6 % polling lead over Romney, depending on the poll, there are undecideds of 4-10% and margins of error of 2-4%, again depending on the poll.  So if a few points fade from the bounce, and the undecideds tend to break late for the challenger, the race returns to its dead-heat equilibrium. 

There is always the power of the incumbency, and the threat of the October surprise, but as Meade says, "there are signs the Obama magic is wearing off," along with the fact that Carter led Reagan at this stage as well. 

And as undecided voters begin to pay more attention to the race, a Romney campaign focus on the glaring contrast between Obama's dreamy speeches and his dreary record could very well make the difference.