Is 2012 Different ?

Over the course of my political lifetime most presidential races ended up going the way you would expect them to.

In 1980 Carter was awful, the economy was awful, hostages in Iran, killer rabbits in Georgia. It was no contest really. Once people were reassured that Ronald Reagan wouldn’t launch a nuclear strike at 12:01 pm January 20, the choice made itself.

In 1984 the only question was Reagan’s age and mental state. Once he answered that question it was a laugh all the way through.

1988 was a bit tougher but by this time of the year it was clear that absent some awful gaffe by GHWB, Dukakis was toast.

1992 was a weird year what with Ross Perot popping in and out, but by this stage of the campaign it was clear that while it would be close, Clinton had the upper hand and frankly GHWB just wasn’t well set up as a candidate to come from behind. He wasn’t eloquent. He wasn’t passionate.  He had broken his tax vow. Independents were cranky and restless and decided this was a good time for a protest vote.

1996. Poor Bob Dole. Bless his heart. Where was the outrage?

2000 was a nail biter from start to finish. It went the way I expected in the sense that it was so close I didn’t know who would win. I stayed glued to the TV for something like 10 hours straight on election night/morning and STILL didn’t know.

2004 was another tough one but again by October Kerry seemed to be floundering and Bush was strong enough that I was reasonably confident.  Lingering concern about 9-11-01 kept the “security moms” on the Bush team.  Unfortunately when another four years had passed……

In 2008 John McCain had a massive mountain to climb beginning with the foothills of his own demeanor. I’ve never been as unenthused about a Republican nominee for president as I was about McCain.  I actually liked Poor Bob Dole. I admired McCain’s service but that was about it.

So what in the devil is going on in 2012? By any historical metric, Obama is a failed president so why is he leading in the polls? He won by a solid margin but in large measure that is because of GOP apathy.  Had Republicans came out and voted in 2008 it would have been along the lines of 51-48, something similar to 2004.

So why is Obama ahead in the polls? It defies logic and commonsense.

Either the polls are accurate or they are not but if the great mass of polls is correct and Obama is comfortably ahead of Romney, then something has happened that I have not seen before. A failed president is defeating a middle of the road, highly successful, articulate, intelligent opponent.

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