"Blue Moon Revisited" - Cowboy Junkies
Busy, busy week ahead, but I wanted to at least invite your thoughts on what is going on out there. I worked all weekend and did not even pick up the newspaper on either day, so I feel slightly out of it beyond the fact that God proved himself to be a New England Patriots fan yesterday -- well that's how I see it anyway.
One of the big themes of the last year -- one to which many on the left have subscribed -- is the idea that Obama and the Democrats will be burdened by an enthusiasm gap in the 2012 election, due in considerable part to disenchantment based on the perception that Obama has been weak and inconstant at crucial moments. My sense was always that the likelihood of an electoral outcome dictated by such an enthusiasm gap was vastly overstated and that once traditional Democratic constitutencies had a chance to see what the Republicans had to offer in a national election, that sufficient enthusiasm would return to assure a pretty robust vote. (I continue to think that, among other things, the African-American vote is going to be huge again in 2012.)
As we sit here at the start of 2012, I feel more and more confident that this will be the case, especially if we continue to see the decent (although not adequate) job growth of the last couple of months. If the next few months continue to see job growth of over 200,000, then I think Obama's hand has been strengthened substantially. I also think that Republican enthusiasm is going to ebb quite a bit as Romney solidifies his position as the inevitable nominee, which appears to be more and more likely. He is a hard guy to really like for many people and that is particularly true for the hard right wing base of the GOP despite Romney's persistent pandering to them. Now don't get me wrong -- Obama hatred is going to make most of the Romney skeptics on the right rally around him. You watch -- Rush will be his biggest fan come Labor Day.
Still I don't think the red meat GOP constituency is going to feel that enthusiasm in their bones and at some level will think that they have been deprived of a genuine conservative by the machinations of the party's leaders. Then you have as well the Mormon issue, which I think remains hard to gauge in terms of its impact on the evangelical right. And finally, you have the fact that this guy is a rich, out-of-touch, vulture capitalist, something that strikes me as just about the worst occupational background one can have heading into this election. When his income taxes show (and he will be forced to release them -- just you watch) he has made tens of millions while "unemployed" (and helping others become unemployed) and that he has paid a 15% tax rate on his income, the fallout will be significant with independent voters. I think this is the sort of thing that Obama can exploit quite effectively.
So all in all, I am starting to feel reasonably good about an Obama - Romney matuchup. We just need continued job growth and no major blow ups in Europe.
What do you think? And what else is on your minds?