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President Dinkins and the Real Election of 2012

As we close in on Election Day, everyone's naturally fixated on the Obama-Romney race. But if I were the Democrats, I'd be radiating the calm confidence of  (in Mark Twain's famous phrase) "a Christian holding four aces." Because as much as Obama hates Romney and loves the golfing and partying aspect of being president, the truth is that many Democrats won't be sorry to see him go. Obama's ineptitude and his manifest hostility toward the country he nominally leads are embarrassing to many donks, and the increasing likelihood that he will turn out to be a one-term wonder like the first (and so far, only) black mayor of New York, David Dinkins, is causing them to start looking beyond 2012.

You remember Dinkins -- he defeated Rudy Giuliani in their first head-to-head match-up in 1989, then lost in 1993 after the Crown Heights riot and other disasters finally brought the citizens to their senses and, holding their noses, they called the cops and elected a law-and-order Republican in place of a liberal Democrat.

I recall asking my editor at Time whom she was voting for in the mayoral election of 1989 and she said Dinkins because, in her words, "it's time for a black mayor." A lot of Americans probably felt the same way about Obama in 2008, but it seems clear from the polls that considerably fewer do today; the point was made in Obama's handy victory over the listless John McCain and there's no need to repeat it this time. Obama must win or lose on the merits of his stewardship, not his race.

In any case, that was then and this is now. Dinkins had the appalling record murder rate for Giuliani to hang around his neck; Obama has the appalling economy. The only question is whether the Romney campaign is smart enough to realize that it's going to be on defense for the next not-quite 100 days unless it gets its act together and starts using the Left's own tactics against it, this time for keeps. Obama's unfitness for office must be the sole issue of this campaign, and Mitt can start making the case by ceasing to pretend that the president is "a nice guy who's just in over his head."

But even should Romney win, the Democrats can still afford to smile, knowing that Obama's "advances" -- such as Obamacare -- are going to be very hard or impossible to roll back. They know from history that American counter-revolutions never really restore the status quo ante, and that "progressive" ideas are nearly impossible to root out, especially with the media blocking for them. And they know their unfireable, beetling minions in the judiciary and the regulatory agencies aren't going anywhere soon, no matter who wins.