Six weeks from today the voters will go to the polls, the real ones, and we’ll know which party will control the White House, the House and Senate. Democrats and the media (pardon the repetition) are convinced that, at the very least, President Obama has this race sewn up. The media will continue to downplay or ignore altogether the burgeoning Libya scandal. (How many left-leaning pundits who wailed about Romney’s comments have been silent as the White House’s cover story has been blown to shreds? Answer: Lots.) And the Obama-liberal media team figures the voters are immune to bad economic news. So long as nothing changes, Obama is home free, right?
Well, let’s think about that. I’ll ignore the current controversies over polling samples and stipulate that Mitt Romney, at six weeks out, is behind. Is it possible he could move ahead? Let’s consider just five things that might have a significant impact on the race.
1. Obama gives a debate performance as bad as his interview on Univision or on “60 Minutes.”
2. The economy further slows (due in part to the failure to address the “fiscal cliff”), making Obama’s argument that things are getting better untenable to average voters.
3. The public comes to believe that the White House was derelict and/or dissembling with regard to the Libya attacks and the death of four Americans.
4. Gas prices continue to rise, making energy and consumer inflation top issues.
5. Another foreign policy issue arises, casting further doubt on Obama’s approach to Russia, China, North Korea, Syria and just about every other antagonistic power.
None of these is a long shot, and in some respects No. 2 and No. 4 are more likely than not to occur, although the magnitude of those developments may not be significant. More than one of these can certainly occur. Moreover, it might be that, just like every other election in recent memory, the alte-deciders break against the incumbent.
It is noteworthy that we’ve yet to see a high-profile, impressive performance from Obama in the general election. Both his convention speech and his recent interviews have been somewhere between blah and horrendous. Expectations outstrip performance, just as we’ve seen for four years.
All of these factors affect both the opinions of voters and the enthusiasm of each side’s base. In short, if you think politics is static in this political and international environment, think again.
The election is six weeks from today. Six weeks ago Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had just been named to the ticket, neither convention had taken place, the Libya attacks had not occurred and Romney was at a huge money disadvantage in direct spending on ads. Lots can happen in six weeks, which explains why the media prefer to cover anything but actual events (economic news, terrorist attacks).