The Chickens Come Home to Roost

 

For some time now, I have been arguing that we should be of good cheer, that the polls were skewed, and that October would matter. As I pointed out yesterday, in drawing attention to a fabulous post by Jay Cost, October always matters — and last night you saw why.

In running against an incumbent, an insurgent is nearly always at a disadvantage. The former is an old shoe. He may not be much good, but he is familiar and comfortable. The latter — even if, like Ronald Reagan or Mitt Romney, he has been around for a long time — is comparatively unfamiliar. Political junkies know all about him. Ordinary people have only a vague impression. They have better things to do with their lives than to obsess about politicians.

It is in October, ordinarily, that the comparatively apolitical majority wakes up. Those with a sense of civic duty — and they are numerous — watch at least one of the debates. Or, to be more precise, they watch at least part of one of the debates — usually the first one — as I did last night. And the part they watch is the beginning.

What happened last night was predictable. Mitt Romney was well prepared and, without being uncivil, he went on the attack. Occasionally, policy wonk that he is, he got lost in the weeds. But for the most part he laid out broad themes, and it was easy to foresee what he would say. It was easy because Barack Obama is a sitting duck. His is a failed Presidency — and everyone who has been paying attention who is not blinded by partisan passion knows it.

Obama inherited a recession and, without bothering to disguise what he was up to, dedicated himself to exploiting it for the purpose of jamming through a radical program, dear to his party, that never had public support. About the recession, he did nothing, assuming that the economy would bounce back quickly, as it usually does, and that he would get the credit for the recovery. In fact, everything that he did do when he and his party were fully in control — the looting bill thinly disguised as a stimulus bill, Obamacare, and Dodd-Frank — retarded the recovery by running up the deficit, loading on new taxes, and making it more expensive to do business. To this the President added the threat of further tax increases — targeted on the investing class: those especially apt, when future developments are exceedingly unclear, to be hesitant to risk their hard-earned capital in funding new ventures or in expanding old ones. The truth is that the programs passed by the Democrats, when they had the initiative, produced stagnation and prolonged and deepened the downturn. All that Mitt Romney had to do last night was to draw attention to the level of unemployment, the level of underemployment, and the size of the deficit.

If Barack Obama seemed halting, uncomfortable, exhausted, and depressed last night, it was because he was saddled with defending the indefensible. What could he say? He had promised shortly after becoming President that his program would bring unemployment way down. He and his allies in Congress had sold Obamacare in part as a jobs bill. And the facts were there to be seen — exceedingly high unemployment and underemployment coupled with persuasive evidence that the growth needed to boost the economy was not in the offing. Instead of coming out of a recession, we were on the cusp of a new recession, and nearly everyone sensed it. For the first time in his life, Barack Obama was cornered. For the first time in his life, he was to be held accountable for his achievements. He was the ultimate affirmative action baby, and he had always been given a free pass. He had always run — for chairman of the Harvard Law Review, for the Illinois state senate, for the United States Senate, and for the Presidency — on promise. Now he was an executive running for re-election, and he was going to be held responsible for what he had done and for what he had failed to do. And, to make matters worse, he had been deprived of his security blanket. He did not have a teleprompter to fall back on.

I have long thought that there would be a landslide in November, and I have not been shy in advertising my expectations. I first became aware that a realignment was possible in the late winter and early Spring of 2009 when the Tea Party emerged. I became more confident that we were witnessing a seismic shift in American politics in August 2009 when older Americans appeared at town meetings to shout down Congressmen and Senators who supported Obamacare. At that time, I predicted that the Democratic Party would be decisively defeated in the November 2010 midterm elections. The only question left thereafter was whether Barack Obama would pull a Bill Clinton and negotiate a bipartisan debt-reduction deal with the Republicans in 2011. When he balked at the prospect, I figured that, if the Republicans found a candidate eager to win and willing to run as a principled admirer of the American constitution and of the free market, the President would lose and lose big.

Of course, it is not yet over. Barack Obama may yet pull a rabbit out of a hat. But I think this unlikely. He has always been in over his head, and now that fact is visible — even to his worshipers in the legacy media. He has no program to run on. He repudiated the recommendations of the debt commission he appointed. He has no record to run on, and he knows it. Last night we watched the President of the United States flail and flounder. In the weeks to come, we will watch his campaign and the “unofficial campaign” mounted by the folks at Pravda-on-the-Hudson, Pravda-on-the-Potomac, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS do the same. The chickens are coming home to roost, and there is now nothing that they can do about it.

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @TheKingPrawn

    As I heard a Chief Petty Officer tell his work team yesterday, “Hope is not a plan. You cannot execute hope.” Obama should learn the same lesson next month.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member
    @CommodoreBTC

    Obama and the media had crafted an image of him as The Most Interesting Man in the World

    That all came crashing down last night. 

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Member
    @Essgee

    Amen. 

     I think even the debate on Foreign Policy might not be an advantage for the Commander-in-chief.  The title adds weight to his bonifides but won’t count for much if he cannot explain the vision he had that resulted in this disaster we are currently in.

    A business person understands global economy and the effects of politics around the world upon the economic conditions.  If you start talking the negative economic policies that result from bad domestic policies and the effects that has on foreign policy, and put it in a form that people understand, I think Romney has a chance at another win.

    Mostly, if you tell the American people to be proud of who they are, of what they do for the world, it will go a long way with Americans in general.  A good foreign policy begins with knowing who you are and what you stand for and then projecting it to the world.

    An adult was on stage last night….and then there was that empty chair.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @TheMugwump

    My guess is that Obama has thrown in the towel.  He’s like a boxer so badly pummeled that he’s forced to appeal to the referee for a standing eight just to regain his feet (which he did literally in the first exchange when he complained “can we move on?”).  He got whipped like a cur, and he knows it.  The entire country knows it.  If you’re a raging narcissist, you’re probably on the brink of a psychological breakdown.  How do you think he feels about going into the ring for two more rounds?  If Obama remains cloistered and aloof, if his campaign appearances lack fire, if he starts cancelling events, we’ll know he’s done.  Meanwhile, we can enjoy the spectacle of the media sycophants in full meltdown.  

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Member
    @
    You are not alone, Paul.  I think your assessment is on the money.  I have also been saying that the election will not be close.  I don’t necessarily think it will be a landslide, but I have been predicting for months that Obama and the Dems will take a thumping.The only thing that surprised me last night was how well Romney did.  I actually expected Obama to perform about the way he did, although his lethargy was curious.  He could not have done any better though, because he’s stuck trying to play a crappy hand.  He’s got nothing, and now everyone else at the table knows it.
    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Member
    @CommodoreBTC

    A cornered rat is dangerous, I worry what Axelrod has planned.

    Ann Coulter was right on the podcast, Romney is the perfect boy scout candidate to run against Chicago thuggery. 

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Member
    @katievs

    I’m torn between Paules and Ningrim’s thoughts.  Some moments I think Obama’s given up.  He doesn’t want it.  He can’t wait for it to be over.

    Other moments I fear what he might do to hold on to power.

    But most of the time, I believe with you, Professor, that’s it’s going to be Romney and it’s not going to be close.

    The media are in deep yogurt because the leftist ideology they were sure was the political embodiment of Truth and Light, isn’t doing so well in practical reality.  So they were eagerly hoping Obama’s brilliant oratory would come in and reassure them all that he knows what he’s doing and all will be well.  Instead, he looked pathetic and exposed.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Valiuth

    Yes, Obama has all the hall marks of a smart, yet lazy student. He is charming and knowledgeable enough to get in a few good comments in class to impress the teacher, but when it comes down to actually putting effort into writing a paper or studying for the final he doesn’t. The thing is you can get very far by being superficially smart. But, there is always a point when some one finally catches you.  Obama has just been caught my friends. 

    In the past Obama always had a higher job to run to to avoid doing and being responsible for his current job. You can’t climb the ladder higher than president though. There is no running now. Now we see what he is really made of.

    Now he has to answer to Mitt who is the old fashioned kind of smart student. The one that puts in long hours of study and reads every assigned reading and the optional ones too. 

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Member
    @katievs

    Well-said, Valiuth.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Member
    @PreservedKillick
    Ningrim: A cornered rat is dangerous, I worry what Axelrod has planned.

    Which Gov. Palin was on Fox last night saying the same thing Ningrim. I refuse to believe the President has “thrown in the towel”. Even if he wanted to do such a thing, the monied interests behind him would not allow it.

    Mr. Obama has a long history of last minute dirty tricks. We didn’t really see that in ’08 because he didn’t need it. But Gov. Romney *will* need to weather at least one dirty trick, flacked for all its worth by the lick-spittle media.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Obama did not have a command of the facts nor the tenor of the debate.  The media has generally framed this election in the context of Obama’s narrative, delivering easy escape routes when the news cycle proves unfriendly (Libya anybody?). While he faced a dog-fight against Hillary, the implicit bias Obama enjoyed was more personality-based than on substance. The sheen of Obama’s cult of personality has long since dulled.

    Romney framed arguments completely out of Obama’s comfort zone (a Saul Alinsky tactic; ironies abound), leaving the beleaguered president little recourse. Perhaps the most devastating aspect of last night’s debate was Romney’s intellect and command of policy was on full display whilst remaining surprisingly affable. Obama can run ads against a straw man. He cannot debate one. 

    Last night this president appeared utterly stunned to be challenged by a worthy competitor. James Carville lamented that it appeared Obama did not want to be on that stage last night. The voters may oblige him. 

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Member
    @ColinBLane
    Valiuth: Yes, Obama has all the hall marks of a smart, yet lazy student. He is charming and knowledgeable enough to get in a few good comments in class to impress the teacher, but when it comes down to actually putting effort into writing a paper or studying for the final he doesn’t. The thing is you can get very far by being superficially smart. But, there is always a point when some one finally catches you.  Obama has just been caught my friends. 

    In the past Obama always had a higher job to run to to avoid doing and being responsible for his current job. You can’t climb the ladder higher than president though. There is no running now. Now we see what he is really made of.

    Now he has to answer to Mitt who is the old fashioned kind of smart student. The one that puts in long hours of study and reads every assigned reading and the optional ones too.  · 8 minutes ago

    This is just excellent. Such an insightful observation.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @StuInTokyo

    I hope you are right Dr. Rahe, I really do. We are at the very beginning of starting a business, it will take substantial (for us) investment of cash that is from our rainy day fund, but I really do think we can make a go of it, but honestly, we are going to wait until after November 6th to actually make the order and spend the money. If Obama wins, we will have to think very hard about it, if Mitt wins, full steam ahead.

    I also think that if Obama has a second debate as bad that the media will turn on him, in the end it is the Leftist agenda that is sacrosanct, not the man, the man is fleeting, their religion is not.

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe
    Colin B Lane

    Valiuth: Yes, Obama has all the hall marks of a smart, yet lazy student. He is charming and knowledgeable enough to get in a few good comments in class to impress the teacher, but when it comes down to actually putting effort into writing a paper or studying for the final he doesn’t. The thing is you can get very far by being superficially smart. But, there is always a point when some one finally catches you.  Obama has just been caught my friends. 

    In the past Obama always had a higher job to run to to avoid doing and being responsible for his current job. You can’t climb the ladder higher than president though. There is no running now. Now we see what he is really made of.

    Now he has to answer to Mitt who is the old fashioned kind of smart student. The one that puts in long hours of study and reads every assigned reading and the optional ones too.  · 8 minutes ago

    This is just excellent. Such an insightful observation. · 4 minutes ago

    Indeed.

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Member
    @Eeyore

    Okay, Professor. I acknowledge, you’ve played a Queen to my Jack today.

    I was feeling pretty good about Mitt’s evolving chances – until I was driving to watch the debates with the delightful Katyco and her husband (whom I had met at last weekend’s wonderful meetup). Being interviewed on the radio was a statistician whose specialty has been late movements within swing states (this may be the guy, successfully using modeling developed for astrophysics). He gave Obama an 80/20 lock, barring disruptive late moves. He has only gotten one state prediction wrong since ’04.

    Last night certainly looked like it could be the start of that 20% distruptive unpredictability factor he gives Romney. I’m not ready to surf the Rahe tsunami wave to victory concept, but Romney – as they say in bidness – “over delivered.”

    The most I expected to come away with was “Meh…”, but with Romney’s confidence, and Obama’s surliness, I’m hoping I’m going to have to snag one of the crows I always see flying around outside to eat.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @ConservativeWanderer
    Preserved Killick

    Ningrim: A cornered rat is dangerous, I worry what Axelrod has planned.

    Which Gov. Palin was on Fox last night saying the same thing Ningrim. I refuse to believe the President has “thrown in the towel”. Even if he wanted to do such a thing, the monied interests behind him would not allow it.

    Mr. Obama has a long history of last minute dirty tricks. We didn’t really see that in ’08 because he didn’t need it. But Gov. Romney *will* need to weather at least one dirty trick, flacked for all its worth by the lick-spittle media. · 11 minutes ago

    The problem with that is, with the media being so obviously in the tank, a lot of the non-political-wonks out there will recognize it for what it is… a desperate attempt by a losing incumbent of a losing party.

    Their dirty tricks might just backfire on them this time.

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Member
    @ColinBLane

    Inadequate lighting in a home has a way of hiding cracks, peeling paint, dilapidation and rot.

    The once respected media has been following this president around with small, anemic CFL bulbs, hiding the inadequacies of the man and the destructiveness of his polices.

    Governor Romney turned klieg lights on a failed presidency last night, and no one — not even Obama’s media sycophants — could fail to notice  the devastation.  

    Nasty leftism exposed to the cold, hard light of reality always fails. Finally, we have someone willing and able to shine the light. 

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Member
    @donaldtodd

    I watched a debate last night where the president voted “present.”

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Valiuth

    Killick: I assume they will try anything of course, but Mitt Romney has to be the cleanest cut man on earth… I mean seriously, I don’t even think the man has speeding tickets to his name.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Member
    @ctruppi

    To me the most telling moment was when Obama made the comment about companies getting tax breaks for opening plants overseas.  Romney’s response completely undressed Obama and made him look pathetic and was the essence of Obama’s entire political career:  just thow out focus tested, populist sound bites that have no basis in fact w/o challenge.  Finally, here was a universally accepted expert on the subject telling the POTUS in front of the world that he is a clueless idiot.  Obama looked like a deer in headlights and he didn’t make any gesture of dissaproval at all.

    In that moment, I actually had a shudder of fear realizing what a complete boob has been steering my children’s future the past 3.5 years!

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Valiuth: Killick: I assume they will try anything of course, but Mitt Romney has to be the cleanest cut man on earth… I mean seriously, I don’t even think the man has speeding tickets to his name.

    I hope they do come out with something like a speeding ticket, so everyone can see how desperate they are and how little they have to work with.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @ColinBLane
    Busy System Admin

    Valiuth: Killick: I assume they will try anything of course, but Mitt Romney has to be the cleanest cut man on earth… I mean seriously, I don’t even think the man has speeding tickets to his name.

    I hope they docome out with something like a speeding ticket, so everyone can see how desperate they are and how little they have to work with. · 2 minutes ago

    You know we conservatives are pumped up when Busy System Admin gets in the game…

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Member
    @Lavaux

    I’m convinced that the election will be a lot closer than expected by the commenters herein. Why? There are a lot of Obama phone types in America (16 million at last count), and the SEIUs of the Democrat machine are working overtime to get out their vote, at least twice.

    And that’s just for starters. America’s a big place full of all kinds of people, most of whom are nothing like you, me or us, and they vote. Hey, I sympathize – I can’t imagine how a lucid person could possibly vote for Obama. But vote they will, in their tens of millions.

    Regarding Obama being in over his head, I can sympathize with him to a point. Sometimes I scan the job boards and spot a job well beyond my qualifications and experience, yet it sounds interesting so I toy with the notion – yeah, I can do that. But I can’t, and I know it. Such jobs include President of the United States, which is way beyond Obama’s qualifications and experience as well. Yet he applied for the job and got it. Why did he do such a foolish thing? What gives?

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Member
    @ChicagoRepublican
    I live in Illinois and have watched the gruesome rise of Barack Obama up close.  Last night was the first time in his life he had to answer for his past not his promise.  He was stood up, measured, and found wanting.  The fact he’s President speaks to the reality that those who put him there are moved by fantasy not fact.  Therefore, they are unlikely to be moved regardless of his performance. 
    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Valiuth: Yes, Obama has all the hall marks of a smart, yet lazy student. He is charming and knowledgeable enough to get in a few good comments in class to impress the teacher, but when it comes down to actually putting effort into writing a paper or studying for the final he doesn’t. The thing is you can get very far by being superficially smart. But, there is always a point when some one finally catches you.  Obama has just been caught my friends. 

    In the past Obama always had a higher job to run to to avoid doing and being responsible for his current job. You can’t climb the ladder higher than president though. There is no running now. Now we see what he is really made of.

    Now he has to answer to Mitt who is the old fashioned kind of smart student. The one that puts in long hours of study and reads every assigned reading and the optional ones too.  · 1 hour ago

    Yes indeed. The Peter Principle.  He can shoot for one more rung though – Sec General of the UN. That is really where he belongs.

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Member
    @RichardFulmer

    I expect that Obama will regroup, get serious about debate prep, and come out firing during the next debate.  I also expect that Romney will anticipate this and will not coast into round two.  If so, it will be interesting to see what happens when both men are at the top of their game. 

    It will also be interesting to see how the MSM spins the results.  Currently, a number of “reporters” are claiming that Obama had a half-dozen knockout blows at his disposal (e.g., reproductive rights, the 47%, Romney’s income taxes) and neglected to use them.  If Obama makes any kind of showing next time, we will probably be hearing a lot of crowing about the “comeback kid.”  Romney will have to be truly excellent to keep from being labeled as a big loser.  (If it ain’t close, they can’t cheat.)

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Member
    @

    My worry is that he vaporizes some random Libyans, claims victorious revenge, and does his end zone dance again. You can fool some of the people all of the time.

    • #27
  28. Profile Photo Member
    @Survivor

    BHO is an empty suit…in his heart of hearts he has known this … It was evident that he realizes he has an indefensible record … He (and she) have played out the quad A deck and have nothing else in the kit.?

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Valiuth
    Carol

    Yes indeed. The Peter Principle.  He can shoot for one more rung though – Sec General of the UN. That is really where he belongs. · 0 minutes ago

    That is a different and far less lofty ladder. I think his best bet is saying he was Kenyan all along and going for president of Kenya. Wasn’t that his father’s Dream?

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Member
    @AtTheRubicon
    Preserved Killick

    Mr. Obama has a long history of last minute dirty tricks. We didn’t really see that in ’08 because he didn’t need it. But Gov. Romney *will* need to weather at least one dirty trick, flacked for all its worth by the lick-spittle media. · 

    I’m hoping the Romney campaign holds a contest to guess the October Surprise dirty trick Obama will use.

    • #30

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