There's a zeitgeist in the air over the last few weeks, and the polls confirm it: President Obama is flailing as he comes to grips with campaigning to keep his job. Several of his 2008 states are now in play, including Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, Virginia and North Carolina. While he flails, he sinks, and Mitt Romney has emerged from a bruising primary battle looking like he could win.Incumbents with approval ratings in the 40's this late in the game are in big, big trouble. The Romney campaign has been very effective in replying to Obama campaign charges with almost lightning speed and devastating effectiveness. They've undercut the Obama campaign time after time, completely defusing the bombs they've thrown and on occasion tossing them back with the fuse still lit. It's been a very impressive campaign so far, especially when you compare it to John McCain's "noble loser" campaign.
The shift in the campaign is not happening by accident. The fact is, the RNC and the Romney campaign have come into the general election swinging, and swinging with great effect. . . .
It has been less than a month since Mitt Romney officially clinched the GOP nomination by winning the Texas primary on May 29. But in the weeks since then, Obama has not had one single good day. From awful jobs numbers to the "private sector is doing fine" to the debacle in Wisconsin and the raw exposed divisions within the Democratic Party over his tactics and rhetoric, Obama has been suffering a flurry of terrors. He is looking like a loser for the first time in his career, and neither he nor David Axelrod seems to know what to do about it. The June 8 press conference was supposed to right their ship, but Obama's private sector comment just made things worse, so less than a week later the nation gets treated to . . . yet another speech. We've seen this about as often as we've watch Gilligan's Island re-runs in syndication. It won't move the needle unless Obama does something dramatic, but that would cut into his "no drama Obama" schtick and might look desperate. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, looks relaxed on the campaign trail while his message is fostering zero friction among the GOP. Romney has not made the sale yet, but no one should expect him to this early. He just has to stay on message and stay on offense through the conventions, and then come out from there looking like a plausible president with ideas for fixing the economy.
It's far from over, but you have to like the direction things are currently heading.