ANDREW C. MCCARTHY
This is the most extraordinary election in American history – dismayingly so. In the Obama years, the American press has gone from mere cheerleader for the Democratic candidate to adjunct of his campaign. It is therefore more difficult than it has ever been to get a read on the dynamic of the race. For almost all of President Obama’s term, polling has been more a media device to shape public opinion than a dispassionate barometer to report public opinion – reporting as “mainstream” the perceptions and programs of skewed samples.
Now, as we’ve come down to the wire, the press is worried about its reputation (talk about locking the barn after … reminds us of post-Lewinsky Clinton fretting over his legacy!). Suddenly, the polling is tighter and elucidates a tide running in Gov. Romney’s direction. But who really knows how much? I suspect Romney was never really as far behind as suggested by wishful media dispatches – many of which had the election over before the conventions even convened. Such reporting was always ill-premised because the election was never about Romney. It has always been about Obama. It has been about whether the real-world perception of how bad things are registers more than the Potemkin portrait, fashioned by the Left’s opinion leaders, of a nation on the brink of sunny times thanks to Obama’s strong, steady hand.
I don’t pretend to know the answer to that ultimate question. But I do know two things. First, it has only been two years since Americans were inspired to give Democrats a historically significant “shellacking” – at every level of government. Read the legacy papers and watch the near-extinct dinosaurs of establishment TV news, and you’ll hear little about Tea Partiers beyond sniffling from the bipartisan ruling-class and commentariat, painting them as unrepresentative racist Troglodytes. My sense, to the contrary, is that the Tea Party – which is a grass-roots movement, not a “party” – is actually quite representative of ordinary Americans, that its legions have not faded away, that the things galvanizing them have gotten worse since 2010, and that they are more broadly motivated to dispense with Obama than his forces are to retain him.
Second, regardless of what the polls say, Obama obviously believes he is in big trouble. He finds himself having to fight for votes in places he needs to have in the bag if he is going to be reelected. And it is not a propitious time to fight for votes when the tide is running in the other guy’s favor; when a hurricane has just reminded people in key states that infrastructure was utterly ignored while the administration paid off its cronies with over $800 billion in our “stimulus” money; and when the drip, drip, drip of Benghazi, despite the Obamedia’s best efforts to black-hole it, evolves from monumental debacle to an impeachable debacle.
Mitt Romney wins … decisively.
– Andrew C. McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor and New York Times bestselling author.
ROGER L. SIMON
I have never been superstitious. But this election is so important, so really… titanic… that I find myself suddenly throwing the I Ching and reaching for Ouija boards to determine what will happen.
Well, not really, because as a natural worrier (an ethnic tradition) I often fear the future and part of me doesn’t want to know. And this time more than ever because an Obama victory would mean the country I love is not what I think it is, that it has turned into a land of thoughtless sheep.
Nevertheless the part of me that is not superstitious trusts the one person who knows more about elections than anyone I know — my friend Michael Barone. Michael says Romney will win. So I’m choosing to believe him, when my blood sugar is okay anyway.
But as another man once said, “Trust, but verify.” We will all verify on Tuesday.
– Roger L. Simon is the co-founder and CEO of PJ Media.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON
I think Romney will win by a point and the Republicans will come up one or two seats short in the Senate. Three things are happening in Obama’s favor. First, the time between the debate lengthens, and the electorate now sees him prancing around in a bomber jacket, not as the petulant, interrupting, unpresidential sophist who seemed unappealing before millions on TV. Second, the storm simply cut short Romney’s momentum: one day all the stories were about Romney’s new huge crowds and soaring clips of his message, the next day Obama and Chris Christie, arm in arm on the shore, dominated the news, with gaga media reports of presidential leadership. Third, the news from Benghazi just gets worse each day — and the silence from the Romney campaign becomes deafening. There is this quiet recognition that all hell is going to break loose after the election, but for some reason criticism of the deadly catastrophe has become off-limits. So I can see why a week ago Romney was starting to create wave-like momentum, but now, based on independent voting and Republican turnout, I think he has just enough thrust left to hang on by a point — if he can barnstorm and give ‘em hell these last two days.
– Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services.
It seems safe to predict that if President Obama wins, it will be close. If there’s a landslide coming, it’s for Romney. But apart from that, I’d be lying to suggest that I could with any confidence foretell which way this election will go. Were this the America of, say, 32 years ago, I’d be predicting a Romney landslide, and a GOP majority in the Senate. But for all the torrents of data, demographics, and media accounts now at our fingertips, I think the character of this country is harder to gauge right now than at any time I can remember. I don’t trust the polls, and I don’t know how much weight the voters at the margin will assign to the latest weekly-news-cycle photo-op tableaus flashing across the iPad screen, or the realities of terror in Benghazi, and an economy choking on red tape and burying itself in government debt, for which the real bills have not yet begun to come due.
We have seen a massive expansion of the entitlement state, and a troubling loss of memory about the vital role and full virtues of free markets — not only in creating wealth, but in protecting freedom. We have tried abdicating world leadership, but the ensuing tumult is only beginning to make itself felt. Modern technology has made us richer than I think we have fully been able to measure, and yet I am reminded too often these days of T.S. Eliot’s line: “Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” The jury is out right now, on whether the boundless proliferation of 140 character tweets enhances or substitutes for backbone and clarity of thought, and whether such luxuries would have helped or hindered Paul Revere. We will know the results of this election soon enough (barring the nightmare of an endless recount). It is this election itself that will provide some badly needed insight into the basic character of 2012 America. (I’ve placed my bet, with a couple of folks whose company I prize. The stakes are modest: the losers pay for a round of pulled pork sandwiches at a local pub. But this was more by way of a hedge than a prediction — banking on an evening in good company, whatever happens at the polls.)
– Claudia Rosett is journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and heads its Investigative Reporting Project.