I really have to laugh out loud as Gingrich tries to paint Romney as the "establishment" candidate and pontificates that the Republican establishment is afraid of him (Gingrich) because he is so anti-GOP establishment.
Right. Dude was in Congress, was Speaker, spends all his time selling books and selling speeches, selling his consulting signature to anyone who will pay him (including Freddie Mac,) panders to anyone of any persuasion if they'll pay him six figures. He's practically Ron Paul anti-establishment. Sheesh.
That's Gingrich for you!
I think many people think the far right of the republican party is in control because they are the noisy part of the party, the Hannity's, Limbaugh's, Tea Party, wacky religious groups etc. But the largest voting block is the center to left of the party (still right of the Dems of course). It is that block that will select the next presidential candidate this year. Of course Romney will need the right to go to the polls but having Obama as an opponent should help that.
Interesting, I listen to a few minutes of Limbaugh from time to time and he is attacking Gingrich while still supporting Santorum. I even heard him defend Romney against a Gingrich attack. One gets the feeling Gingrich must have really violated some republican tenant in running for president this year.
I'm not saying that Obama doesn't have a chance to win, just that I think it may be naive to think the voters will blame the Republicans for the last 4 years and vote with an attitude of "Well, the economy still sucks, unemployment has not really gone down while Obama was President, but I'll vote for him again even though he wasn't effective at fixing the problem because it really isn't his problem and he didn't have the power to fix it." Any good campaign manager can make some major points when that is the opposing position.
Gallup had a little blurb today that said if Obama only won states where he has a net positive approval rating today, he'd lose in a landslide. That doesn't indicate America is rallying behind the guy in any kind of significant way.
Except Bush 1 promised no new taxes and then raised taxes. A lot of people were mad at him about that.
What Jeff's saying could easily be borne out - it's simply too early to tell right now because the "undecideds" and other vast swathes of the electorate haven't really begun whatever the hell their decision-making process is yet - there are no real numbers yet, in other words, which means predicting the fall election is at this point just down to economic determinism + super long range forcasts. You have as much reliability predicting the weekly weather forcast in November as the outcome of the general election.
I'm pessimistic because economic perceptions are so important and so likely to be unfavourable for Democrats; that tends to be a big tidal predictor that has to be factored in however things fall with "Bain Capital" or "4 years of failure" or Kenyan anticolonial sleeper cells or whatever crazy shit we're talking about in August. If Europe drags the world economy down, we could see Romney run away with things a month or two before the election; I have a harder time imagining an Obama romp because of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of Romney and his party suddenly smacking America in the forehead.
NPR had a brief piece last night where one of the guests compared the main donors to the Romney and Obama campaigns. They were identical--GoldmanSachs, Citi, and so on. Both sides are primarily financed by the establishment, with predictable results. We're going to be paying for the Citizens United decision for a long, long time.
Interestingly, however, a much greater number of donors to the Obama campaign are in the "under 200 dollar" range vs. the Romney campaign, per what I heard on Morning Edition today (or maybe it was yesterday on ATC). Now whether it makes much of a difference as a proportion of the amounts raised (or on policy positions), who knows.
"Small-dollar donations aren't expected to matter as much in this election" is by all accounts the understatement of 2012; it's "our" millionaires against theirs.
Elizabeth Drew, NYRB: Can We Have a Democratic Election?
One can only hope that "our" millionaires believe in "noblesse oblige" and long-term sustainability and somewhat shared prosperity vs. their own short-term gain.
By contrast, Obama still doesn't "own" this bad economy: even Republicans (in polling) blame Bush II for the current situation. They can try and say that Obama has had four years to fix it and done nothing, but recent crap like the payroll tax extension has cemented in the voters' minds that it is the GOP/Tea Partiers that are preventing him from doing anything meaningful.
Ironically, one area of relatively good economic news is from the Detroit car manufacturing sector. And here the general public gives credit to Obama... when the majority of the heavy lifting was actually done by Bush II.
The heavy lifting wouldn't have counted for much had GM gone bankrupt....
I put it down to perceptions of the economy, party fatigue at the Presidential level, and the charisma gap, which may not be very different from what you're saying.
Romney just keeps on delivering fantastic soundbites: “I’m not concerned about the very poor, we have a safety net there.”
Facepalm. I know this is taken out of context, but it's really amazing that this guy is actually an electable candidate in the current economic climate.
I know the context (it's a CNN interview from earlier this morning). It's just absurd that his campaign even let him say something like that, no matter what the context is. They should know how it will sound.
Even norwegian papers are running this quote as a headline to US election stories now. It's that dumb.
Exactly what kind of context could rescue a remark like that? He was rehearsing for a play?
He said that he wasn't focusing on the very poor, or the very rich, but rather wanted to focus on the 90-95% of America that made up the middle.
As the day began, Romney told CNN from Florida: "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich. They're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling."
"You can focus on the very poor, that's not my focus," he said.
I'll grant that his apparent innumeracy does momentarily distract from his appalling callousness.
Ya, its not really something that you can spin in a real positive light.