October 22, 2012
It’s worth analyzing each and every state to determine just where the President is falling behind from his huge win in 2008. And the results suggest, nearly everywhere. Which shouldn’t be that big of a surprise now that election polling has put Gov. Romney and Pres. Obama in a dead heat with only weeks remaining. Certainly one of the closest elections in recent history, with the end result maybe on the Gore/Bush level.
polling figures provided by RealClearPolitics.com
Many swing states that were flipped in 2008 have flipped back. Which gets to the point.
In 2008 the President had the ability to campaign against an unpopular Republican Party for months, drawing massive crowds for speeches and giving roaring addresses that captivated the hearts/minds of many. In contrast, 2012 is a different sort of story. After such sky-high promises it has come down to a case of imminent letdown. It’s one thing to make promise of sweeping change, it’s another to try to effect them during some of the most turbulent economic times in recent history.
In 2012 there are no speeches, there’s a fierce battle. One which both sides have focused on with negative ads. It seems this is more a case of who can tell us why not to vote for the other guy the most. Which brings us to the state of the race as it is now. WHY is it leaning in this direction? Well that’s fairly simple. After the Democratic convention, President Obama got a massive bump. You know why? Bill Clinton. That’s it. Clinton outlined the path for the next 4 years in a manner which the President hasn’t to date even attempted. In 2 debate performances and a speech at the DNC he has done little to outline new plans. Clinton did for him, and instead of grabbing that torch and outlining a future for us to embrace…..that lead evaporated. Not that Romney is a better campaigner, but through the first debate he started to outline an idea for what he wanted to do with this country. He laid out a 5 point plan and scoffed at the notion that the President would attack it, only further reinforcing his positive plan for action.
We’re left here, with the President wilting due to an inability to be Clinton-esque. To describe a goal, a plan, a vision. Instead Romney has seized that momentum while keeping the President on his heels. The next 3 weeks may shift dramatically in one direction or another. But make no mistake about it, the 2008 campaign that the President mastered so gracefully, is not the 2012 campaign he has failed at so miserably.
July 26, 2012
As the Presidential race continues towards the end of summer and the start of the conventions in due time, the race appears to have started to tighten a bit. Over this two week period President Obama has lost a bit of ground, probably due to his gaffes and negative campaigning, something he dodged entirely in 2008. Mitt Romney appears to have caught up a bit but still lags overall. His failure to take on the President has been sort of a cat and mouse situation all summer with neither side wanting to go all-in this soon. A criticism of Romney’s during the primary campaign was how soft he was in the early contests with no hard hitting. Florida changed that and he paid a bit later in the contest but eventually won.
I suspect that neither side wants to put the gloves on so soon. Though President Obama seems to be struggling to find a message behind an ailing economy and continually disappointing jobs numbers. Another slow report in Aug. and/or Sept. could be pretty damning to his campaign. His efforts have fallen behind attacking Romney of late. Something I suspect doesn’t sit well with voters looking for that same Hope and Change message of 2008. Also this struggling for a message has caused the most notable gaffe to date “you didn’t build that”.
Romney on the other hand is slow playing. Currently he’s on an under-publicized foreign trip, certainly compared to 2008 when then Sen. Obama was stopping for photo-ops and speeches in front of hundreds of thousands. All of this leaves us wondering when Romney will ever join the fight. He’s been careful not to lay out too many positions this early as to avoid any pitfalls in the fall. At the same time he’s been sort of off the mind of voters, something I suspect he intends so that they’re not over-saturated come election time in the fall.
Overall I think the President is suffering from his economic situation right now and is struggling to make the campaign about Mitt Romney, which is failing in these recent weeks. As more negative news about the economy surfaces, his numbers steadily decline. Romney seems to be sitting back deflecting blows with a rope-a-dope strategy in play. Trying by not trying, and thus allowing the election to be about what the voters care about, the economy. This of course plays into his wheelhouse rather than jumping at side issues like immigration, gay rights, or gun control.
June 27, 2012
In 2009 when the President was settling into office one of the first bills he and the newly elected Democratic congress threw together in haste was the Recovery Act. This $787,000,000,000 bill was aimed at providing 3 years of recovery funds to encourage job growth and rescue a declining economy. Of course spending $787 Billion is never taken lightly in congress (by most people) and it was a hotly contested proposal. The President had his staff draw up some projections based on their modeling of how the economy would act in the future in the presence and absence of the bill being passed. (i.e. with and without stimulus to the economy). The bill was passed and unemployment was supposed to decline to around 6% by now. Instead the actual unemployment rate released by the government is 8.2%.
Here is what they came up with, and I’ve included the actual unemployment rate over the same period.
The president predicted, naturally, that stimulus (red line) would lower unemployment vs. not passing the bill (grey line). The problem it turns out, is that the President over expressed how well the economy would act in the next few years. The bill was passed and we should be cruising along on the red line by now. Real unemployment (black line) shows that the President was way off, even with the stimulus bill being passed the unemployment rate stayed far above estimates for unemployment without them acting.
This is just an example of the miscalculation that has steered the President into believing all sorts of fictitious information about how the economy would perform. In fact it marks a trend whereby the President continually takes the best estimate he can find for how the economy is doing (regardless of it’s accuracy). When we hear about Job creation we hear about 27 months of the private sector job growth. Now, all job growth (public and private) hasn’t been positive for 27 straight months. And the term positive doesn’t account for population changes and graduates or those 18+ entering the labor force, job growth in that context is drastically under-performing.
Which get’s us to the point. Instead of speeches full of rhetoric where we talk about how things are doing. People should examine the numbers every once in a while. Pay attention to more than just the 8.2% unemployment rate and look into what politicians are predicting and actually saying when they convince people that bills will lower unemployment numbers, will they?