Sunday, October 14, 2012

Please Mr. Fantasy...

In my previous piece, I noted how--at the end of the day--the VP debate amounted to very little, how it was a harbinger of nothing, with regard to opinions on who the winner of the debate was. The only significant element of the debate was Biden's response to questions about the Benghazi situation. That response has been seized upon by the Romney camp and various pundits on the Right; it's been used to demonstrate just how weak the President is, when it comes to his foreign policy. Despite all of the left-leaning punditry gleefully proclaiming how Biden thrashed Ryan in the debate, how he did his job, and the like, there's been no post-VP debate bounce, no stemming of the tide moving against Obama. Exactly the opposite. Polls in various battleground states moved in Romney's favor and he continues to lead in the RCP average for national polls.

The Election is less than a month away and what I once thought was quite unlikely--a Romney victory--now appears possible. Very possible. And yet, the pantheon of Obama fanboys and sycophants seem blind to this. Most seem to think the Election is still "in the bag" for the President, as it were. Witness the following piece for MSNBC contributor Touré:
Now that Vice-President Joe Biden's strong debate performance has stopped the hyperventilating in Democratland that followed Obama's horrible, no good, very bad faceoff with Mitt Romney in Denver, we can all take a deep breath and face the fact that this race will still, probably, be won by the President. When we peel back the fear and look at the numbers - both electoral and economic - your breathing will return to normal. Romney's surge in momentum is real, but Obama remains the favorite.
He appears to be completely ignorant of the damage Biden's "strong performance" actually did. He actually presents Biden as Robin, rushing in to save Batman-Obama at the last moment. His look "at the numbers" is a superficial analysis drawn on DNC talking points, not actual public perception. But then, this is a guy who thinks "angry" is a racist term, so I guess his silly spinning is hardly unexpected. There is, however, a revealing nugget buried within the spin. In explaining why Romney took the lead after the first debate, Touré says:
So the media narrative shifted from "Romney's losing" to "Obama choked," and even Jon Stewart stopped dissing Romney and spent whole segments making fun of Obama.
Fascinating. Clearly, Touré believes Jon Stewart to be a member of the Obama cult. Though Stewart certainly leans to the left ideologically, he's never had a problem going after a Democrat, any Democrat, who says something foolish. Yet in Touré's version of reality, Stewart is the last one we would expect to take shots at Obama. I'm actually a bit surprised Touré didn't call Stewart a closet racist.

As to the numbers stuff, Touré puts a lot of stock in Obama's favorability ratings. And true enough, they do remain high. But let's look back to 2008 for a moment. In that Election, Obama garnered 52.9% of the popular vote. McCain received 45.7%. A nice margin of victory--7.2%--no doubt. Final RCP polling averages had Obama with a 7.6% lead on November 4th, not too far out of line with the actual results. So here's a question that would seem to be worth asking: how did the Obama-McCain race look in mid-October?

The answer? On October 14th, Obama had a lead of 8.2% over McCain. This reflected polling numbers that had been steadily moving in Obama's favor. After October 14th,  Obama never had less than a five point lead over McCain. Look carefully at the chart in the above link. McCain enjoyed a slim advantage over Obama on September 16th. From that moment on, things broke Obama's way.

Why? Largely because of the Financial Crisis and the bailout bill. McCain had been talking up the economy--the fundamentals are "still strong" quote--just before Lehman Brothers went under. He then suddenly  pivoted, going as far as announcing a suspension of his campaign so he could return to Washington to help save the economy. In the end. McCain went along with the bailout bill, as did Obama and Biden. But the latter two had been pointing that way all along; McCain looked stupid, there's no other way to say it. Plus, large numbers of conservatives and libertarian-types--like yours truly--took this as further evidence of McCain's faux-conservatism. Such people abandoned him en masse. And he never recovered.

We have a similar situation today, only the focus is foreign policy. Obama has been singing a song about the Middle East and his policies that has been proven to be mostly nonsense. Worse, his administration attempted to subvert the truth of the Benghazi attacks to protect this phony narrative. It's a strikingly analogous situation to 2008 in my opinion. How analogous? We'll know in the coming weeks, I guess. But the numbers today compared with the numbers from 2008 tell us Obama is on shaky ground, at best.

But Touré would have us believe the drastic movement of 2008 is an impossibility today, that there aren't that many voters available to change their positions and affect the outcome of the actual election. As evidence, he offers anecdotal evidence, as opposed to "the numbers" he supposedly had:
See, this election isn't really about persuading voters. Despite our habit of talking about that coveted "swing vote," there are very few true independents left. (Try this test: the next time someone tells you they're an independent ask them who they voted for in the last four presidential elections. Most people will not tell you they've voted for both parties.)
That supposition--that most will not have voted for both parties--is a giant load of crap and points to just how limited a view of reality he has, due to the fantasy world he lives in. Things haven't changed that much since 2008; the Bush years--especially the latter ones--were every bit as partisan as the years under Obama. Yet, Obama still managed to pull in nearly 53% of the popular vote. Some of those voters--quite a lot of them, actually--voted for Bush. Both times.

The problem for Touré is his own limited worldview: he simply cannot fathom how someone could go from voting for Obama to supporting Mitt Romney. It's beyond his ken and always will be. In his fantasy world, Stacey Dashes simply do not exist. They can't. And that's to say nothing of the everyday folks taken in by Obama's "hope and change" message four years ago, only to find themselves even worse off today. These people don't exist either.

Thus, he imagines that the election will be all about the base and nothing more, that how Obama--or Biden--is perceived by the general public is inconsequential just so long as his base is happy. The Obama camp knows this isn't true in the least; it's still scrambling like mad to get the Libya stuff out of the news. In Obama's weekly address, he doesn't even mention Libya, but rather spends his time talking about the auto industry and how he supposedly saved it.

But Touré is still far from alone in his fantasy world. Obama water-carrier Michael Tomasky, in a piece today assessing Biden's performance and looking at the next debate, doesn't even mention Libya or foreign policy. Instead, he pretends the Election revolves around how Obama portrays Romney, as if that portrayal hasn't been done to death by people like Tomasky in the media for the past six months or more.

Both think they're looking at reality, making cogent points about the race, but neither actually have a clue about any of this. Obama may still win, but it won't be because his campaign is listening to the advice of people like Tomasky and Touré.

Cheers, all.

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