So tomorrow everyone heads off to the polls, if they haven’t voted already. I think a good number of people have already done so through absentee ballots and early voting. Why Presidential Election Day isn’t a national holiday, I’ll never know. But the race by many accounts is tied or pretty close to tied in terms of the popular vote (which strangely doesn’t determine the winner in the U.S.). In the electoral vote I’d say that President Obama has a slight edge and while he may win that, he may get less votes overall….strange but that’s how the system works. Here’s my take on the candidates thus far…..does anybody want to actually win? Here’s where I think the race will be determined:
President Obama: Was he sleeping during the first debate? We may never know, sure seemed that way. How a sitting president shows up so unprepared is beyond me. In 2008 this is the guy with raging crowds of hundreds of thousands that seemed to transcend politics and chastise the politics of old. In 2012 he was the politics of old. Instead of defending his record…he ran an equally vicious attack campaign. He claimed he had to counteract the attacks from Republicans. Yet for so much bark, when he took the stage in Denver things seemed almost non-existent to him. For spending so much time telling voters why Romney was the equivalent of the Wall St. Devil, he didn’t peep up once. Instead he agreed with Romney about many issues. The first few months of the campaign seem almost wasted by that point. They spent so much time and money attacking and when he sees this “devil” face to face he whimpers away and agrees with him? It was one of the most puzzling political displays of the campaign, something of a lasting impression.
But fast forward to the next debates and the end of the world reappeared. To me at times in the third debate you could almost see Obama trying to taunt Romney into fighting with him, of course Romney at this point laid back on the ropes not taking the bait. Still he closed strong in the election and probably secured Ohio by rallying about the auto bailout (it’s funny how people support giving away others money when it’s their jobs on the line).
He may have secured this victory in September. Maybe that idea that he had 47% of the electorate locked up wasn’t so crazy afterall. After the Democratic Convention Obama took off to great heights and while people pulled back for a time, he regained them by reminding them of those September nights where he championed teachers, the working man, and unions. It was the Obama of 2008 that everyone wanted to see, talking about where to take this country. But he wouldn’t bring it up again for the next 2 months of the campaign. A fault that simply stuck and is why national polls are where they are.
His best moment was Bill Clinton’s speech. Sad, but true.
Governor Romney: Why we still call him Governor when he served 6 years ago is beyond me. Doesn’t that title evaporate with time. I can understand President staying with the man, as it’s the highest office in the world (sorry rest of the world) but Governor? Sarah Palin held that title once I’ll remind you (/rant). Anyways. To the real point, after the Democratic National Convention where the states elected a nominee for President (shocking result) it seemed almost as if Romney was going to be John McCain’d. He was in the dumps and according to most polls falling fast. Pres. Clinton really laid it on thick with an exceptional speech a the DNC. I mean, I think most people wished Bill was running again after that performance. Pres. Obama’s speech? Did he even give one? That was it for Romney and if he ends up losing that was the straw that broke the camels back.
Then something amazing happened, assuming the race was over in September, Obama stopped campaigning and started making colossal mistakes. There was a terrorist attack in Libya which the president defended as a party gone awry and instead of being burned by it, he lied his way out (or so he thought). Then in Denver he napped through what was Romney’s best moment, offering a deep contrast. That was it. Romney was back and in a big way. All the time wasted talking about his tax returns and Bain Capital. All the portrayals of him as this super-villain ready to eat your first born. All of the talk about how he was going to take from the rich and give to the poor. It evaporated in one night. The race was back on and somehow the man that no one thought even stood a chance was climbing in polls everywhere. Panic set in, Liberal bloggers cried out to friends not to worry (probably the first sign something actually is wrong) and then he took the lead in the national polls. Yes, a lead in the popular vote.
However, Romney failed to realize that the popular vote doesn’t matter (he may still win the popular vote). And heading into the second debate he was in the lead. Then he slipped. Not a major mis-step, but he didn’t recognize the moment that was before him. With the wind at his back he took the time to argue with the moderator, fumble over the terrorist attack in Libya (a fair point he should have brought up but did so with embarrassingly clumsy language), and tried to pick a fist fight with the president. Why did he falter? Well in that moment, in a townhall style debate, it’s about body language and answering the actual question. Both candidates sucked royally in this debate, but for Romney it is the moment that will haunt him if he loses. Here he was asked about the auto bailout, something near and dear to Michiganders and Ohioans everywhere….yet he stumbled around trying to explain what ha-ha-ha-happened. Here he could have played it cool, called the President a liar back and stuck to his Presidential appearance he established in the first debate. He didn’t. And that is where he climbed into the mud with the president and found himself stuck for the rest of the election. The third debate could do nothing to change much and a hurricane distracted the east coast. Everything was set. And when it comes down to it, if he loses by a few percent in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa….this was why.
His Best moment was the first debate.