This blog got a pingback yesterday – i.e., another blog quoted me and linked back here. I was flattered – until I read what he had to say. Linking to my controversial post “The Coming Romney Landslide,” a site called rightwingnuthouse.com quoted me at length and concluded with his own commentary: “Um…no, that’s ridiculous.” Today, I got a Facebook message from a liberal friend who claims I was actually right about how the Left will mock Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, because he heard some lefty talk show hosts who feel free to make disparaging Mormon comments “now that the race is over.”
Romney’s 47% remarks have been pilloried by Republicans the likes of David Brooks, who calls him “Thurston Howell Romney,” and by Bill Kristol, and by Peggy Noonan, and by several other pundit types. I would link to them, except I don’t want to, as I have no desire to encourage more of the same. Polls oversampled with Democrats continue to pour in, and headlines continue to beat the drum that Romney hasn’t got a prayer. Saturday Night Live lead their primetime special with a re-creation of Romney’s recorded video, portraying Jason Sudeikis’ clueless Romney parody character as saying “when I say I don’t worry about ‘those people, what I mean is ‘black people.'”) And on and on and on it goes.
Spine, people. The fundamentals of this race haven’t changed.
Romney is tied in today’s Gallup poll – 47% to 47%. The race is over? Romney has been leading in the Rasmussen poll for the past few days, and Rasmussen was the most accurate polling firm in the past two election cycles. The race is over? Yesterday, Barack Obama, the most Washington insider there is, admitted that “you can’t change Washington from the inside,” which immediately prompted Romney to fire back that “he can’t change Washington; we will.” The race is over?
It is not. The race is still very much Romney’s to lose.
Remember Romney’s Libya gaffe, the one that the media told us would doom the Romney campaign? The electorate doesn’t – or, if they do, they liked it, because both Romney’s Gallup and Rasmussen poll numbers have risen since then. Well, this 47% thingee did him in, didn’t it? No, not really, if you believe either of those polls.
Encouraging poll factoids for Romneyites – behold Gallup incumbent poll numbers from September of election years vs. their final vote percentages. You have to go back to Ronald Reagan’s 84 landslide to find an incumbent who didn’t lose at least three percentage points from their September number. And in a 47/47 vote split, where do those where do those other 6% usually go? (Hint: in every election since 1960, they have broken for the challenger.)
Back to Reagan. Reagan’s Gallup poll numbers on October 27 had Carter ahead, 45-39. Reagan won that election by nine points. Why? Those undecideds broke for him almost unanimously, which is what they usually do. Dick Morris, who, I must again state is a weasel and a half, used this analogy. If you ask someone whether or not they’re going to be still married to the same person in a year’s time, and they tell you they’re “undecided,” what does that tell you about the marriage? It tells you they’ve already decided they don’t like where they are, but they haven’t figured out where they will go. If you’re still undecided about Barack Obama four years into his failed presidency, odds are you’re going to take any acceptable alternative. And Romney more than qualifies.
Think of it this way. If the race were truly over, if Romney were doomed, why would the intensity of the anti-Romney reaction be increasing, not decreasing? The stridency of the tone of the Romney doomsayers is far more intense than it should be in criticizing such an ostensibly sure loser. At this point in the 1996, Bob Dole was getting far more patronizing pieces about his years of service and such, because it didn’t take any heavy artillery to bring the guy’s campaign down. Obama is the darling of the left, and the left won’t let him lose without a fight. The shrieks of horror that denounce everything coming out of Romney’s mouth don’t sound like the chatter of a team simply running out the clock.
Spine. Romney has it. He has it in the face of fiercely adversarial press, weak-kneed Republican allies, and the drumbeat of conventional wisdom doing everything in its power to discourage, depress, and demoralize you. Increasing opposition means you’re doing something right. Keep your head up. Weather the storm. It is always darkest before the dawn. There are better days ahead. Choose your aphorism; they’re all good. Mother of pearl, people, we haven’t even had the first debate yet. Yesterday, did you see what Obama does when he’s confronted with the kind of hard questions Romney gets every day? It isn’t pretty.