If Obama wins there will be no need to learn Russian or to speak highly of communism, but I doubt I’ll ever convince some folks of that (p.s.: communisms sucks). But the election is far from being in the bag for him.
Romney can still win, but he needs to get away from playing defense. He who has to constantly explain himself and downplay his past statements and actions is poorly positioned to win, and that’s what Obama will try to keep Romney doing.
To me, the election will hinge on five things. I’m sure there will be more, but I’m only coming up with these at the moment.
1) The economy. If it keeps recovering, even if slowly, it helps Obama. If we slip back into recession, it helps Romney. Should be obvious.
2) The Etch-a-Sketch. People have pulled this off before, and I’m sure Romney has smart people around him working on how to do it. The difficulty for him is that flip-flopping is something that people already hold against him, and we’re on notice that he’ll be trying to do it again.
3) Women. Romney, and Republicans in general, need to repair some of the grievous damage they’ve done to themselves with female voters. Time will help here, but you can bet that there will be a lot of attack ads focusing on the “contraception is the devil’s work” meme.
4) Congress. Democrats will be running against the excesses of Republican-controlled statehouses, the comments/proposals of some Republican Congressmen, and the Ryan budget, especially what it does to Medicare. Republicans will be running against deficit spending, entitlement creep, and the fear that U.S. power is in free-fall. Which holds our attention better is an open question.
5) Attitude. Americans don’t like grouchy politicians. If either candidate can clothe himself in optimism and American exceptionalism, he can run as many negative television ads as he likes. Reagan was the master of this, and Obama did it pretty well four years ago. But he needs a revised version for this election, because a repeat of last election’s themes won’t get him far. I don’t yet see Romney doing much on this front. He doesn’t get people excited (a brilliant and novel insight, I’m sure you’ll agree).
The odds right now favor Obama, but the election is a long way off. It’s still wide open, if Romney can play his cards right. Poker playing doesn’t seem to be a great strength of his, though. Same for digging himself out of holes. Right now I think Obama wins, but not in a blowout by any means.
I started out on Burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff. Bob Dylan, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
How on earth did I get 9 QPs?