The real unemployment rate. “If the size of the U.S. labor force as a share of the total population was the same as it was when Barack Obama took office — 65.7% then vs. 63.6% today — the U-3 unemployment rate would be 11.1%.”

The real presidential race is only in nine states. “The nine — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — offer both parties reasons for hope, and concern. It is no coincidence that Mr. Obama chose two of them, Ohio and Virginia, to hold his first official re-election rallies on Saturday.”

The real vice presidential pick will be someone who wants the job. “Jeb Bush again reiterated he won’t be Mitt Romney’s running mate and repeated his suggestion that the presumptive GOP nominee should choose Marco Rubio.”

The real problem for the candidate who ran as a political messiah. “Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) accused President Obama of having lost the qualities which attracted Americans to vote for him in 2008. ‘When this president ran for office in 2008, he said he was going to be different, he said he was going to be a post-partisan uniter that brings everyone together and three and a half years later the president, quite frankly, has become like everyone else in Washington D.C.’ ”

The real problem for President Obama is that he needs his base to perform better than it did in 2008 (when many swing voters were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt). “The crowd size issue, which both sides have been flogging . . . , is largely about turnout in the fall — and the targets Obama needs to hit with specific constituencies in order to be successful. The argument on the Democrats’ side is that Obama may not have to live up to the 2008 levels, so long as X-factors like the economy don’t change majorly and he can get enough of the voters he needs to win.” But that won’t work so long as independents are voting thumbs down on his handling of the economy and debt.

The real problem for Obama with Hispanic voters. “If conditions in the U.S. are so bad for Hispanics that many are prompted to return to their country of origin, what does this say about the assessment of those who remain of the performance of the Obama administration?”

The real dilemma for Obama: “He’s not going to defend the stimulus program. Now, he has an economy that he can’t talk up. Whereas a few months ago, it looked like we’re on a road to strong enough recovery and that has now dimmed. So, he really is finding it difficult to touch on a theme that will win swing voters and knock off Mitt Romney in the fall.”

The real Democratic Party. “The liberalism of ‘the Life of Julia’ doesn’t envision government spending the way an older liberalism did — as a backstop for otherwise self-sufficient working families, providing insurance against job loss, decrepitude and catastrophic illness. It offers a more sweeping vision of government’s place in society, in which the individual depends on the state at every stage of life, and no decision — personal, educational, entrepreneurial, sexual — can be contemplated without the promise that it will be somehow subsidized by Washington.”