But it doesn't look like it will turn out that way. At all.
I think that when the history books are written about campaign 2012 the common themes will be generally unkind not only to Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and VP nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, but to the GOP and to the extremist Conservative Movement they all serve as well. I think that history will record that Mitt Romney bungled so much so often that he did as much damage to himself in the longrun as the Obama campaign did to him. But also that this was the first election where the GOP's long suicidal march to a rump party out of demographic step with America really showed up painfully for the GOP.
They are blowing this. All of them. While the Obama campaign is an excellent one, and Obama is a far superior candidate than Romney in almost every way a wonk could measure, this is bigger than Obama and the Democrats doing a better job. I believe we are witnessing a historic meeting of incompetence and unpreparedness slamming up against the political reality of undeniable demographic shifts. A mash-up of history occuring at the worst possible time for a hollow shell of a man and the equally empty movement he longs to champion into the White House.
Mitt Romney literally had years to prepare for the Bain questions. He also literally had years to fluff all of his tax returns in preparation for not only this campaign, but the last one in 2008. He also had years to come up with ways to soften his own image and to put his own fine patina of well-polished bullshit on his variation of the same old Rightwing socio-economic plans to grandly fuck everybody over but the rich, the very rich, and those rich enough to be like him.
If you gave Bill Clinton or Barack Obama weeks to prepare, let alone years to prepare, for something coming up, it would not only be handled but it might be turned into a political masterstoke.
But Romney isn't alone. The GOP, as well, has had at least two decades to prepare for the demographic changes that are threatening to turn what should be a rout into a embarassing underperformance for the ages. The rise of the woman voter, or of America becoming a majority-minority nation, those things were not secrets. They didn't happen like waves of ninja sneaking into a Shogun's castle, they were rising factors that have been carefully documented and tracked by conservative, liberal, moderate, and non-partisan political operations, think tanks, and pundits alike for decades as they evolved. Being surprised by them is like getting overrun by a turtle.
Mitt Romney is a myth. He's a barely competent buffoon born on third with a silver spoon in his mouth cast as a self-made and ruthlessly competent shark among guppies. He's so incompetent and not-ready-for-prime-time that he thought he could pretend his inconvenient tenure as Massachusetts governor, along with it's state-level HCR effort that essentially inspired taking that effort nationally as the "hated" ACA, and his endless array of flip-flopping could all be ignored away. Hell, the man thought he could run an entire presidential campaign from start to finish without a single detail. The stealth white knight on a white horse. The vague mist of national political avatars and paladins desiring to be given command of the most powerful political office on the face of the Earth.
The Republican Party could see Romney from a mile away. They knew who he was, and they nominated him anyway because, for as much as people in the traditional media like to go on and on and on about the power of the Tea Party, it was his turn. That is how the Republican Party works. Like fellow disasters Sen. Bob Dole and Sen. John McCain before him, it was his turn.
And he has been fucking it up royally ever since the Republican version of the Marquess of Queensberry rules people choose not to see all aligned the stars in his favor. It's been one fuck up after cock up after another. A mistake isn't enough, no, it has to be amplified with fail until it takes your breath away.
Not unveiling Paul Ryan at the convention in a big splash was a huge mistake. The air was out of that balloon before Tampa arrived. That alone would have been bad enough. But not bad enough for the Romney campaign. No. They went and turned the amp to eleven. By letting it leak that the nominee was Ryan, and then instead of keeping them all guessing, by doing the out and out revelation that the VP was Ryan in what amounted to a Friday newsdump far enough before the convention tha it pushed a big mistake into the gobsmacking territory of naked outright political malpractice.
Who got fired for this? Nobody.
Take Tampa. The RNC. First, overhyping a "special guest", then letting the media see it was Clint Eastwood hours and hours early, and then letting Clint Eastwood speak in such a prominent place. That was a series of mistakes. A series of mistakes wasn't good enough for Romney/Ryan 2012. No.
They had to one-up themselves. Bumping the only chance of a primetime airing of the Mitt Romney is Awesome campaign propaganda film, the only time in the entire race that they would get such an uncritical airing of unadulterated and unrebutted propaganda to sell Myth Romney to the American people, for Clint Eastwood. Only to then be treated to Clint Eastwood... talking to a chair, to a foul-mouthed fantasy of Barack Obama, the strawman Barack Obama the mob fantasizes about, Obama as 'Uncouth Negro Hooligan Who Doesn't Know His Place'. Not only do you lose the huge and uncensored moment to sell Myth Romney, you lose the 24 hour narrative for the next day. Over a piece of failed glibertarian performance art.
That clusterfuck of zipping your penis up in your pants at the urinal after peeing on your own leg moment was the entire Romney/Ryan 2012 campaign in a nutshell.
The difference between a mistake or an error and outright political malpractice.
A lot of the people at the top of the Romney/Ryan campaign shouldn't be able to get a job for a while when this is all said and done. And they won't have the ability to create a cottage industry out of Palin post-mortems like navel-gazing for fun and profit McCain mediocrity Steve Scmitt has.
But this was also a massive failure of the Movement Conservative Right meeting the GOP's problems with women and minorities as we move towards a majority minority nation finally coming onto the scene.
They should be surfing a tsunami right now.
Instead, they don't have an answer as to why they aren't surfing a tsunami right now.
The economy sucks. Citizen's United is completely unbound. The Democrats got conned into two long years of deficit fetishism that is not remotely in their or the nation's political best interests, the traditional media is still more than willing to spin for the GOP when it comes to their endless trainwrecks and bold-faced big and small lies, even overtly naked sexist implosions like the Akin debacle to undeniable racial resentment issues like the nut-tossing incident at the RNC in Tampa were bigger than Howard Kurtzism. CNN couldn't even competently fig-leaf cover one of their own employees of color getting humiliated and abused for the 'crime' of being black and a non-Conservative of Color at the RNC in Tampa for fear of being attacked as 'liberally biased'. You know you have the deck stacked when the legacy media will help the GOP cover-up a racial scandal of one of their own employees out of fear and false balance.
This is what we have all been waiting for. The shift finally shows up at the polls.
Obama should be down by 5-10 points, and he would be if we still lived in the America that the GOP has gotten used to chasing a 50.01 majority in. Democrats should be sure that the Senate is about to go GOP with a buffer of seats beyond the outright majority to spare. Instead, the President and the Democrats are not only still in this, they could do quite well. How the hell do you pull money out of New Mexico to shore up... North Dakota? Write off Pennsylvania entirely on the party front weeks before the election?
That's America changing on the GOP right in front of its eyes.
America has changed in ways that even your massive unfair advantages, from the media to the Billionaires, to the state-level ratfucking machines, cannot guarantee you a win. Now, Romney might still find a way to win. Or the GOP might find a way to take the Senate with a bare majority. Or both. But that would actually be a surpising outcome at this point. It would be the unexpected outcome, not the pre-ordained one. This has got to be a dark time to be a Movement Conservative Republican who has half a brain, because the deck is pretty stacked against the current President and the Democratic Party out there right now. This is a moment of a confluence of dire circumstances for Democrats that is not only unlikely to happen again soon, but actually unlikely to come around again. The economy will be vastly improved in two years. Democrats will have had more than one Citizen's United and voter disenfranchisement racket cycle under their belts. Demographics have shifted, and shifted in ways that the GOP is completely unprepared to survive in let alone thrive in, and they are not going back to what they were in the bad old days of Willie Horton and the Jessie Helms 'hands' ad.
What must be terrifying to the Right is that they might be about to blow the last national election where lazily chasing angry old white people and their racial resentments, married to a lingeringly horrible economy, and the perfect storm of Teahadi state-level Democratic voter disenfranchisement meeting Citizen's United was all aligned to put a Republican in the White House and sweep the Congress.
And it doesn't appear to be happening, not just because the Democrats have been so ruthless and brutally efficient that they have pantsed Romney and the GOP but because the changes in America are bigger that the superiority of the Obama campaign and the Democrats being right on the issues can account for.
Barring a politically suicidal "Grand Bargain" on Social Security and Medicare (and nobody on our side should be kidding themselves about how dangerous this upcoming lameduck session could be to the social safety net, the Republicans aren't going to stay stupid about Democrats being willing to slit their own political throats forever), the Democrats will be in a much, much better place economically, politically, tactically dealing with the faux voter fraud push, but especially demographically thanks to the race-baiting Right, for years to come.
Barack Obama's heartiness in the polling was as much a warning to the Right as anything about Obama and the Democrats. If we can just get through this cycle. If we can just keep the social safety net safe along with the ACA the Right wants to kill so badly, I think we will be alright.
The Right needed to re-boot, the smart ones in their camp all knew that they needed to reboot, but they were shutdown by the crazies and the establishment alike and they all went with what worked in the past anyway.
If it is epic failing in 2012, Imagine what 2016 or 2020 will look like.
If we can just hunker down and fight like hell and get to the other side of this one, I have real hope for the first time since 2008 that we can turn the corner. Turn the corner and change a lot of really bad things many of us feared would be things we would be stuck with in the future all around and leave a better country for the generations to come after us after all. I have hope. Because I see the change.