James Pethokoukis explains why Barack Obama is favored to win, despite all the national disfavor over the country's direction.
Obama — 2008′s candidate of “hope and change” — is benefiting from a lack of hope among voters that positive change is possible. Some 60%-70% of Americans think the nation on the wrong track or headed in the wrong direction.
And they seem skeptical either candidate can make things better. The status quo wins. And Obama is the status quo.
.... If true, then Romney’s pitch as a Mr Fix-It, The Man with the Plan, the Turnaround Artist won’t be enough unless he persuades Americans that his plan — any plan — can really work. That change for the better is possible. That the good times aren’t really over for good.
People need to be inspired as much as persuaded.
Can Romney and Paul Ryan do that by November?
Obama has done an unusually good job at selling the idea that bad times are understandable, given the worse times of four years ago.
Greg Sargent -- who comes from the opposite end of Pethokoukis' ideological spectrum -- has a similar take.
.... it’s possible that the true undecided voters may not be concluding Obama failed and are merely disappointed that Obama has not been able to make the recovery go faster but find that understandable, given the severity of the crisis and the depth of our problems.
If they have downgraded their expectations as to what a president can do to speed the recovery, they may be less prone to opt in a knee jerk way for whatever alternative is on offer.
While Pethokoukis and Sargent's takes aren't identical, they share the sense that Americans have reduced expectations.
Which reminds me of the Pet Shop Boys song, Miserablism.
It seems to me there's something serious beginning
A new approach found to the meaning of life
Deny that happiness is open as an option
And disappointment disappears over night