Jewish World Review June 19, 2012/ 29 Sivan, 5772
Mitt Romney's chances look better
By Dan K. Thomasson
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's not unusual for a sitting president to blame his predecessor for the nation's ills, particularly when it comes to the economy. The Democrats ran against Herbert Hoover for decades. Franklin Roosevelt, his successor, survived three elections on the strength of that, despite the fact he had little success in turning things around until war loomed.
Barack Obama has spent his first 3 1/2 years telling Americans the economy's continued sluggishness is all George W. Bush's fault, not his. Is that going to be enough to win him another four years? Even some of his party brethren don't think so.
While the president has been sounding that familiar refrain from coast to coast, it sounds less and less convincing amid new signs of domestic as well as global economic turmoil. The best example that things still aren't right: the recent figures on unemployment, which show only 69,000 new jobs created, a dramatic shortfall.
Obama is a candidate long on charisma but woefully short on experience, who roared to victory on a theme of change that, as far as millions of voters are concerned, hasn't materialized. What now? If he is to overcome the obstacles to a second term, experts believe he must go back to the political easel and depict his accomplishments in new ways. The election is more and more a referendum on him.
There still are five months to go, not a short time in politics if American pocketbooks are flush and the growth numbers are solidly positive. But turning around a resistant economy in that amount of time is not easy, especially when it is subject to pressures from the rest of the world. Even the dynamo that is China is feeling the impact of the eurozone's woes and U.S. markets are wiping out gains made in the first five months of the year. Clearly, couple of decent job reports would help the president's fortunes.
Adding to his woes, Obama looked utterly out of touch with reality when he commented that the private sector is "doing fine" as he attacked Republicans for not pushing for more government jobs. That prompted an outcry of derision from his opposition. He later tried to clarify his remarks, but the damage had been done.
A few months ago, when the Republican presidential nomination looked to be in disarray and Romney was seen as a poor threat, Obama seemed to be on track to win a second term.
But the former Massachusetts governor's chances appear much better. The once-fractured Republican Party has pulled together and Romney has been able to aggressively challenge the president on a number of issues. There is nothing like a real prospect of winning to heal old wounds.
Obama's attack on Romney's management skills - as a venture capital manager that helped make him one of the wealthiest presidential candidates in history - don't seem to have worked all that well. It was, even Obama's supporters agreed, a chancy strategy. Romney, on the other hand, has been lambasting his opponent with figures showing what everyone knows: that the national wallet is still losing much of its heft despite Obama's claims of success.
The smart money still is on the incumbent at this stage, but there are fewer experts who would want to bet. Veteran political observers agree that a 47 percent national approval rating for the president would cost him re-election. Those numbers aren't too far off, according to the latest polls. Another indicator of Romney's growing status is the fact his presidential campaign has raised more money lately than Obama's.
Obama stumped the nation the last time, making promises he probably knew he couldn't keep. Fewer Americans are willing to accept excuses that are rooted in the Bush era. It now looks as if the president is in the fight of his life, and what appeared to be a close but distinct victory is no longer there - at least if the election were held tomorrow.
A few more gaffes might not be easy to overcome.
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