It’s all pretty clear by now. Here’s what happened in the 2012 election campaign. Obama’s plan was to have the economy recover enough that he’d win as the successful incumbent. Looks like he’ll make it, but it was closer than he thought it would be. It appears he had been getting advice at first that the collapse wasn’t as bad as it turned out to be. It’s also pretty clear that he was getting counsel that the economy would be growing faster than it has been. Maybe Europe was to blame. Maybe the drought. Maybe the Default Scare. Republicans did what they could to impede recovery. Whatever. Factors. Anyway, it looks like it’s better enough. Game over.

Romney was faced with a different calculation. He had to hope the economy was WORSE than it turned out to be. It was about the only card he had. That, and his experience in the private sector. The latter was demolished by the Obama campaign in a tactic right out of the GOP playbook. Attack your opponent’s STRENGTH and define him before he has a chance to define himself. Unfortunately, Romney was stuck in the GOP debates trying to define HIS opponents, which he succeeded at, but at the cost of being able to run as a sane person. Even Obamacare, his ace-in-the-hole has been around long enough for people to see that it’s actually a decent reform, that they, um, like.

Without a failing economy to run against, and without an unexamined Bain credential to bedazzle voters with, he was left with his budget plans, where there’s no there there, and good-old trickle-down Reaganomics, which unfortunately everyone remembers got us to where we got to. We are now at the part of the fight where Romney has nothing left but flailing, throwing un-aimed roundhouse punches in the hope of landing a lucky one. But as usually happens, mostly you end up hitting yourself.