I would stress that Obama is using a familiar strategy because it's not really clear that he's ever had to use any other one. Once he won the Democratic primary for his state-senate seat in 1996, he had the seat for life, representing Hyde Park, an ultra-liberal neighborhood. He lost a House bid in 2000 against Democrat Bobby Rush, and then his next genuinely difficult fight was the 2004 Senate primary, when revelations from sealed divorce records doomed his best-funded opponent. Many of you are thinking, "Wait, Jim, no, you're thinking of Jack Ryan with the Jeri Ryan divorce papers," but the exact same thing happened in the general election. From there, Obama had a cakewalk against Alan Keyes. In each circumstance, just getting the Democrats to come out in their traditional numbers was sufficient to ensure victory.He's in for a lot of bad news in the coming months. Next month Scott Walker will win his recall election handily, and the Supreme Court will likely hand down a couple of stinging opinions on Obamacare and immigration. The economy is showing signs of slipping into another recession, and although he's chasing people out of the workforce as fast as he can and the official unemployment rate could slip below 8%, people aren't being fooled by those numbers as much as they once were. Obama's act is becoming tiresome. The divisiveness over race, income, wars on women, religion, sexual orientation and multiple other efforts to create dissension are wearing out his welcome. People have grown weary of The One and his overbearing wife telling us how we're supposed to live and who we're supposed to like or dislike.
The 2008 Democratic party was indeed a tough fight, but again Obama was assembling his familiar coalition -- African-Americans, Hollywood, gays, the party's liberal wing -- to overcome Hillary's white working-class base. And then in 2008, even with the wind of Bush fatigue at his back, Obama was trailing . . . until Lehman collapsed, McCain insisted the debates be canceled, and then he changed his mind two days later. In other words, 2008 was a perfect storm for Obama's appeal to independents, centrists, and Democrats who were unconvinced in the primary and frustrated Republicans. Obama has never really had to try to win over, say, the suburbs or exurbs of Columbus, Orlando, Colorado Springs, or other "in play" parts of the political map in less-than-ideal circumstances.
So far, 2012 looks far from ideal circumstances -- thanks, in large part, to the job he's done as president since January 2009.
I called the race yesterday for Romney. And I don't think it will be close.