Republican Mitt-fortune

Well, it looks like my worries about the Democrats losing the White House may have been misplaced. Obama has hit on the perfect strategy – sit back, look presidential and wait for the Romney campaign to implode.

Conventional wisdom

I have to admit that I’m starting to get a bad feeling about Obama’s chances of reelection in November. Judging by the content of the speeches from Romney and Ryan at the Republican convention last week it looks like the GOP strategists have finally figured out that, while the wingnut social conservatism spouted by the likes of Todd Akin may play well with the base, focussing on the economy is the best way to win over swing voters in the midst of a recession (especially if you are prepared to tell blatant lies.)

It’s a formula that worked well for the Conservatives here in the UK a couple of years back, though they had the advantage that the financial crisis had indisputably started on the watch of the previous government, while Obama can just about plausibly claim that if he’s been slow in turning the economy around it’s because he inherited such a mess from the Bush administration.

Obama’s victory in 2008 was made possible by his ability to inspire hope and excitement in sections of the electorate who would otherwise have felt alienated from the political process (that, and the car-wreck that was the Republican ticket), and I’m sure that he’ll try to create the same momentum again, starting with his own convention speech this week. The difference this time round though is that he has a record in office which is, compared to what he promised, rather underwhelming.

I think that Obama’s best move would be to tack sharply to the left, and hope people believe that, unencumbered by the need to get reelected in four years time, he’ll actually deliver. I also think that he’ll probably do the exact opposite, and try to chase the centre-right vote by playing up his moderate credentials, a potentially disastrous strategy which would only shift the fight to the ground where the Republicans are strongest, while also running the risk of demobilising the core Democratic constituencies.

On the other hand, Obama did manage to get himself elected President, so I guess that he and his team don’t really need to take any advice from anonymous foreign bloggers. We’ll see what he says on Thursday, but I do hope he knows what he doing.

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