Oct 28 2012




Daily Beast Columnist Robert Shrum is tackling head on the spin that Romney is surging into a substantial lead. He is not buying any of it. Shrum remembers when Rove attempted to do the same spin in previous elections and it is a well known tactic. The political commentator believes Obama has a decisive advantage and will emerge victorious on election day.

Here are excerpts but you will serve yourself well to read his entire column.

"The Obama strategy of defining Romney over the summer as an out-of-touch, job-destroying financial manipulator—of, by, and for the rich—was so effective that the Republican nominee had to use the hours when the whole nation was watching to re-sculpt his image. He partially succeeded in that first encounter in Denver—partly because the president, for whatever reason, let his opponent prosecute a narrative brazenly at odds with his past record, in business and in the Republican primaries."


"In their town-hall meeting, a very different Obama punched hard instead of looking like a punching bag—and even more, Romney suddenly found his two strategic objectives at war with each other. He couldn’t be Mitt 3.0—the moderate governor who became the “severely conservative candidate,” but needs to edge back toward the acceptable middle—if he was a hard-right neo-con caught mining political capital from a national-security crisis. Thus the muted Mitt in the foreign-policy debate: he couldn’t be both moderate and on the attack. So in every survey afterward, Obama was the winner—most saliently, in the CBS poll of undecided voters, where the president prevailed by more than a two to one margin."


"This tack has been tried before, and I was there. In 2000, Karl Rove announced that George W. Bush was headed for a commanding 320 electoral votes—and was even competitive in California. Rove spent millions of dollars on commercials there and dispatched his candidate to stump the Golden State. In the Gore campaign, we refused to take the bait. We didn’t spend a dime on ads, even after the Rove spin spooked leading California Democrats into insistently calling our headquarters and demanding that we respond. Jonathan Chait, who’s written an incisive piece on the episode, has the right word for it and its bastard stepchild, manifest in the Romney campaign. It’s a “bluff.” Gore carried California by 1.3 million votes—and Bush eked out the narrowest of electoral edges only by stealing Florida with an assist from a nakedly political Supreme Court.

The Obama enterprise, too, remains relatively undisturbed by Romney’s recycling of the Rove ploy. For one thing, it frightens Democrats, but it also motivates them. It’s almost part of the Obama GOTV operation. Here’s a typical example from the flood of emails in any inbox: “Looking for reassurance… Could it be that everything we fought for… is going to be for naught? We have to work harder.” In fact, that’s the plea in most emails coming out of Obama headquarters and other Democratic committees: We could lose—so do more and give more.

Obama’s strategists knew the Romney spin was and is as ephemeral as the air it’s spoken on. For Romney may be the last refuge of a candidate who dares not be candid—who has to hide his beliefs and commitments in a fog of political presumption. But if you see past the smoke and mirrors, you will understand that Barack Obama continues to command the electoral landscape."



So it goes across the swing states, even in Florida and except in North Carolina. But there, the Obama campaign has registered a legion of new voters—and everywhere it has the most in-depth, technologically sophisticated, and well-staffed turnout operation in history. That can and will make the difference where the contest is close. The president has twice as many field offices as Romney—800 of them across the battlegrounds. And Romney’s are afterthoughts—late to the game, run by the Republican National Committee, and without the rich, data-based voter targeting of the Obama effort. A GOP operative in Colorado says he adds two to four points to the president’s poll numbers in the state because Obama has a better organization."


"Thus the gender gap widens—and the moderate makeover unravels. Mitt is mired in the mid-20s with Hispanics, who heard him say “illegals” should “self-deport.” He’s far behind with younger voters—and the Obama organization will get them to the polls, with an assist from Romney’s position on social issues like reproductive rights and marriage equality. The restrictive voter-ID laws have mostly been struck down, at least for this year, and blacks and other minorities won’t be blocked from casting their ballots. Blue-collar workers in the Midwest can’t forgive Romney’s opposition to saving the auto industry—and they don’t trust the man from Bain. Even his lead among seniors is being eroded by his plan to replace Medicare with Vouchercare—and to raise the cost of their prescription drugs.

That’s why enough of the battleground states, where the campaign is being fully engaged, will be Obama country on Election Night. The brief silly cycle of spin about the impending, even inevitable Romney presidency is ending.

Let the Romneyans enjoy their premature claim of victory. It’s the only one they’ll have."