Friday, October 5, 2012
Mandatory Post on the Upcoming Election
We've seen this before.
An incumbent president who recently enjoyed record-high approval ratings. A poor economy, and his seeming inability to fix it, have begun to erode this, but he's still considered invincible.
The opposition party isn't doing anything to help themselves. Badly divided and disorganized, they've run a half dozen or so second-string candidates, the most promising of whom had to drop out over an alleged sex scandal. The convention ends up nominating perhaps the candidate least appealing to the party's base - a little-known governor with a questionable history and a reputation as a crashing bore. Worse, his running mate is also known as a wonky propeller-head with positions that some find extreme.
The results should seem foreordained. But, no.
As the debates get underway, the challenger shows himself well-prepared, highly intelligent (yet never condescending), sincere, down-to-earth, and in an age of ugly elections, a perfect gentleman. He appeals to his credentials as a moderate with a strong bipartisan record, a workable plan, and a fresh-faced enthusiasm conspicuously absent in his jaded and peevish opponent. Finally, in terms of policy, he seizes the center, in terms so plain that his ideas sound not only right but obvious, and thus without pointing fingers makes the other party look like rabid extremists.
Sound like a recipe for a win?
It was. Twenty years ago.
Odd parallel, that. It struck me, watching the debate, that Governor Romney, instead of being the conservative warrior we all hoped would bring our curses home to Obamunism and the Culture O' Death, may be wiser than we. In one stroke, he's completely discredited the image of the stuffy, out-of-touch, bloodless plutocrat the left has painted. It's right out of Bubba's playbook.
And not just Clinton's, either. Remember the "Dewey Defeats Truman" fiasco? In 1948, the top 50 political journalists in America were surveyed about Truman's re-election prospects. Not one thought he could possibly win. How did Harry do it? He took a train across the country, stopping at little towns along the way. Emerging from his car, the president said: "Hi, folks! I just thought I'd stop by and let you have a look at me, so you can decide if I'm the monster they all say I am!"
"Give 'em hell, Harry!" the people replied.
As then, so now. The myth is busted. We have seen the real candidates, and cannot now unsee them.
Give 'em hell, Mitt!