I continue to believe that the only thing keeping President Obama in the game electorally is the seeming determination of Republicans to throw the 2012 presidential election. Absent that determination–and perhaps even if that determination were assumed into the political equation–we would be looking at a one-term presidency:
To hear Democrats (and much of the media) tell it, President Barack Obama is a man on the rebound. The president turned in a strong State of the Union speech, picked a smart political fight over taxing the rich and authorized another heroic Navy SEAL mission in terrorist territory. Sounds like a recipe for reelection, they say.
There is a big problem with this Pollyanna punditry: There are a bunch of real-time numbers coming in that tell a much different tale.
In short, there’s a new Congressional Budget Office report that shows unemployment likely to climb to nearly 9 percent by the election, there’s polling data showing Obama tied or trailing Mitt Romney in the most important swing states (and doing only marginally better against Ron Paul), and there is mounting evidence that the assumption of a decisive Obama fundraising advantage for the fall might be flat wrong. All of this is happening while Republicans are at their worst, with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich spending millions of dollars and using all of their air time explaining why the other is untrustworthy, deeply flawed and eminently beatable by Obama.
If the GOP could get its act together, we’d have a new president on January 20th of next year. But that may be expecting too much from the GOP. All of that having been said, this may well be the strangest presidential election cycle in my memory. By all rights, the incumbent should lose, and yet, Republicans are far from having this race locked up. It makes it impossible for me to render any kind of prediction on how the race will shape up, and who will win. But none of that changes the fact that this president is primed for defeat in November, if only his political opponents will find it in themselves to take advantage of his many weaknesses.