Just read two pieces in the Weekly Standard which, in different ways, provide good insight into the upcoming presidential election, the first, linked by Hugh Hewitt, was Jay Cost’s post explaining why Romney hasn’t “locked up” the GOP nomination the way McCain did in 2008, the second which I chanced upon by reading the aforementioned piece was Michael M. Rosen’s review of Sean Trende‘s The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs – and Who Will Take It.
Some, Cost among them, may bill Mitt Romney as a weak frontrunner, but, as Rosen reminds us, Obama is not as strong a presence as some of his followers suggest:
While Obama’s champions heralded his election as ringing in a permanent progressive majority, they ignored the fact that (as Trende puts it) “in the midst of probably the most favorable election year environment for a party since 1952—if not 1932,” Obama won by a smaller margin than George H. W. Bush in 1988 and Bill Clinton in 1996.
Little wonder, then, that the Democrats in 2010, after governing for two years from the left, sustained the worst midterm losses of any party since 1938, losing the most seats precisely among those suburban, working-class white, and Southern districts Clinton and company had so assiduously pried from Republican hands two decades earlier.
It wasn’t just a favorable environment for Obama, with the market meltdown and the ineptness of his opponent’s campaign, it was also his masterful use of easily manipulated media and his sizable campaign war chest, his expenditures dwarfing McCain’s.
Obama won over many independent voters by promising to end the profligate ways of the Bush Republicans, with his much touted (and never realized) “net spending cut.” That is perhaps why, with the mainstream media trumpeting an anemic recovery as the equivalent of the Reagan boom, his poll numbers barely reach 50% — in surveys which oversample Democrats.
He is not going to win back some of the voters he won over in 2008, the only question remaining is whether the eventual Republican nominee can convince those inspired by Obama’s promise that he can undo the Democrat’s mistakes.