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Charles Krauthammer sums up the race.
… The race remains 50-50. Republican demoralization after a primary campaign that blew the political equivalent of a seven-run lead has now given way to Democratic demoralization at the squandering of their subsequent post-primary advantage.
What remains is a solid, stolid, gaffe-prone challenger for whom conservatism is a second language vs. an incumbent with a record he cannot run on and signature policies — Obamacare, the stimulus, cap-and-trade — he hardly dare mention.
A quite dispiriting spectacle. And more than a bit confusing. Why, just this week the estimable Jeb Bush averred that the Republican Party had become so rigidly right-wing that today it couldn’t even nominate Ronald Reagan.
Huh? It’s about to nominate Mitt Romney, who lives a good 14 nautical miles to the left of Ronald Reagan.
Goodness. Four more months of this campaign and we will all be unhinged.
Matthew Continetti gets to the core of Obama’s failures.
I can’t be the only person in America who, at about minute 35 in President Obama’s almost hour-long “framing” speech in Cleveland Thursday, wanted to tell the president, as the Dude famously screams at Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski, “You’re living in the past!”
Obama’s overly long, repetitive, and by turns self-pitying and self-congratulatory address was so soaked through with nostalgia that MSNBC should have broadcast it in sepia tones. The speech—which even the liberal Obama biographer Jonathan Alter called one of the president’s “least successful” political communications—revealed an incumbent desperately trying to replay the 2008 election. But no oratory will make up for a flawed record and a vague, fissiparous, and unappealing agenda.
The president himself forced this abrupt re-launch of his reelection campaign. After a bad week that began with terrible job numbers, proceeded to Scott Walker’s victory in the Wisconsin recall, and culminated in awful fundraising news, Obama tried to recover last Friday by addressing the press on the state of the economy. Except things went horribly wrong. The president uttered six words—“the private sector is doing fine”—that not only will plague him for the rest of the campaign, but also perfectly captured his complacent attitude toward all things outside the realm of government.
The moment prompted a burst of panic throughout the Democratic hive mind, with media types clucking their tongues at the president’s campaign and party strategists questioning the salience of his message. Yesterday’s event in Ohio was thus intended to serve as a sort of domestic analogue to President Obama’s “reset” with Russia. By the looks of things, it will prove to be just as unsuccessful.
The very idea that Obama has the ability to shape his political fortunes through rhetoric is a backwards-looking myth. It is part of the pop narrative of Obama’s 2008 candidacy, in which the young freshman senator was able to rescue his moribund campaign from the evil Clinton machine by giving a single speech at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner in November 2007. More likely it was Obama’s antiwar stance in an antiwar party that gave him the edge in the Iowa caucuses the following January, but that has not stopped the president or his supporters from having an almost theological attachment to his oratorical prowess. …
Politicker treats us to tweets from the White House press corps during the president’s Cleveland snore.
… All of these points have already been featured in the president’s other recent speeches. Between the pre-speech hype from the campaign, the lack of new material and the overall length of the speech reporters were clearly dissatisfied with end result. Read on for a sampling of Tweets from the political press slamming the president’s speech.
Before the speech was over, MSNBC’s Mike O’Brien begged the president to stop.
“In terms of politics, this speech could have ended about 20 minutes ago. Drive your message, take your ball, go home.” …
More on the speech from Jennifer Rubin.
In the wake of President Obama’s Ohio speech on Thursday the mainstream media figured out, or at least were willing to express, what conservatives have long known: President Obama is a bore, and his second-term agenda is his first term agenda. The Mitt Romney campaign gleefully circulated clips of reviews by liberal pundits savaging the speech. If the New York Times’ Andrew Rosenthal panned the speech, you know it bombed. (“[W]ill someone edit the president’s speeches? They’re nearly Castro-length.”)
One reason why Obama’s speech was so poorly received by all but the Kool Aid-intoxicated set was that the man who once thrilled and wowed the liberal elites is no longer electrifying. Heck, he’s not even interesting. …
Using the results of the 2010 congressional election, Michael Barone shows why prospects are so good for Romney.
It seems to be a standard rule in assessing the prospects of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in particular states to use the November 2008 numbers as a benchmark. However, as I have pointed out, in the last three presidential elections, the winning candidate has won a percentage of the popular vote identical to or within 1% of the percentage of the popular vote for the House of Representatives in the election held two years before. In this case, the November 2010 results are very different from 2008. In 2008 Obama won 53% of the popular vote. In 2010 House Democrats won 45% of the popular vote.
To gauge where the race is now in the various states I have prepared the following table. It lists the 16 states where Obama’s 2008 percentage was between 49% and 57%, ranked by Obama percentage. I have added Arizona, which the Obama campaign has reportedly been considering targeting; Obama got a higher percentage in Georgia and almost identical percentages to Arizona’s in South Carolina and South Dakota, but no one considers any of them to be in play. …
Let’s resume the debate over who should go to college. Some weeks ago, I wrote a column arguing that the “college for all” philosophy is a major blunder of educational policy.
Its defects, as I outlined them, include:
? The lowering of college entrance requirements, except at elite schools (in 2008, about 20 percent of four-year schools had “open admissions” policies, meaning that virtually anyone with a high-school diploma could get in).
? The dumbing down of college standards (one study I cited found that about a third of college seniors hadn’t improved their analytical skills).
? Much human and financial waste — the dropout rate at four-year schools is roughly 40 percent, and many of these students leave with large debts.
? A monolithic focus on the college track in high school that ignores the real-life needs of millions of students who either won’t start or won’t finish college and would benefit more from vocational programs.
Naturally, this critique didn’t please the barons of higher education. …