With less than three weeks to go until the election, both camps are on edge, hoping not to make a fatal misstep while praying their opponent stumbles. At this point, gaffe recovery would be problematic and the unfortunate candidate who shoots himself in the foot may think seriously of finishing the job by aiming the gun to his head.
You can smell the desperation in the crazy attacks mounted by both campaigns and their thousands of surrogates on the web and social media in the last 72 hours. Romney’s “binder”comment was inexplicably seized upon by Obama and his twitterites and pushed as some kind of insensitive remark about women — or something. If someone ever figures out if there is anything anyone can ever say that doesn’t offend women, minorities, small animals, trolls, ogres, and other put upon members of society that liberals believe need protection, let me know.
Not to be outdone in the manufactured gaffe department, the Romney campaign and their internet acolytes have latched onto an inartful reference by the president on John Stewart’s Daily Show to the deaths of our diplomats in Libya not being “optimal.” Spoken like a true petty bureaucrat and certainly offensive to the families of the dead. But a game changer? Get out of town. Given the pixels already shed over this remark, one would think evidence had been uncovered that Obama approved of the killing of our ambassador and not that he simply uttered an inelegant description of the impact of the killings. No one outside of rabid partisans on the right actually believes the president was unmoved by the murder of Americans, and it is fallacious to suggest otherwise.
Forget the gaffes. Forget the debates. Forget the polls. Everyone knows the race is very close with the presidency probably to be decided in three or four states by just a few tens of thousands of voters, right? That’s the current conventional wisdom and no pundit or prognosticator worth their their salt will say anything differently. Any other prediction is illogical, unreasonable, and simply wishful thinking.
Except something is happening and it doesn’t fit the polls, or the predictions, or the conventional wisdom — which is really nothing more than commentators playing “follow the leader.” Don’t look now, but in the last three weeks millions of voters have switched allegiances from Obama to Romney. Not undecideds breaking for the Republican, but actual abandonment of the president by millions of supporters. Millions.
Nor does there appear to be an end of it — yet. Romney can certainly help matters by simply doing what he’s been doing; offering himself as a legitimate alternative to a failed president. He has done that by advocating semi-specific policies that sound reasonable. This, compared to the president who has offered nothing — no hint of what he would do in a second term.
If polls have any efficacy at all, at least they are able to discern trends over a period of time. And what they are telling us is that Romney is gaining, Obama is falling, and so far nothing has occurred to stop the direction of voter movement toward the Republican.
The movement to Romney actually started before the first debate after the Republican had experienced a couple of very bad weeks. Obama’s better than expected convention bounce, largely the result of the media going gaga over Bill Clinton’s speech, was augmented by Romney’s unfortunate “47%” comment that soured many voters on the candidate.