If President Obama keeps drubbing Republican challenger Mitt Romney as he has this month, pollsters calling the election a toss-up may be in for a November surprise.
The president not only has the ability to stage headline-grabbing events but has a far better command of the issues than Romney and is infinitely better at expounding them.
Romney edged Obama 48 to 47 percent in a Politico-George Washington University Battleground Poll and Obama beats Romney 47 to 45 percent in the Gallup Swing States poll, the Chicago “Tribune” reports.
But Obama’s margins could widen as he takes his case to the nation. George Packer writes in the May 14th “The New Yorker”: “A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has Obama beating Romney in every category from honesty and likability to ‘Looking out for the middle class’ and ‘Being a good commander-in-chief’….”
So far, May has been a disaster for Romney. Obama’s Afghan trip enabled him to dominate the media for three days, during which Romney’s remarks were blotted out as if by some stellar explosion.
The manner in which Obama entered and departed Afghanistan—under cover of darkness—should have tipped off Romney he’s got an issue about how badly that war is actually going. Instead of challenging Obama on his role in extending a military and moral fiasco, the best response Romney could muster was to say he was “pleased” by Obama’s trip to Kabul.
Next we saw Obama telling an audience of college students, how Republicans voted to allow the interest rates on college loans to rise. Romney also favors this but Congressional Republicans don’t help him by voting for the money-lenders.
And while Obama gave his blessing to same-sex marriage, Romney was allowing his foreign policy advisor Richard Grenell to resign on grounds that being gay disqualified him from that post.
To top it off, a story surfaces that Romney during his Cranford prep school days assaulted a fellow student whose “hair style” he didn’t like. Romney wielded the scissors personally while his fellows held the youth down. A Romney aide first said Romney could not remember the incident and Romney later denied the student’s haircut was over homosexuality. Whatever you believe, the episode put Romney on the defensive and strengthened Obama’s grip on the gay vote.
Considering Romney’s lukewarm endorsements from his own party and the likelihood that his lack of knowledge and nuance on the issues will bring him to grief, his delegates would make no mistake to rethink their commitments. They still have dogged Ron Paul as an intelligent alternative. Unfortunately for them, Paul wants U.S. forces out of Middle East while his backers seemingly only want to carry on the war.
As Michael Knox, chief executive officer of the non-profit U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation, of Palm Harbor, Fla., noted, American voters really don’t have a major peace candidate to vote for this time around. And as for the polls, activist David Swanson, of Charlottesville, Va., says they only “distract” from the problem, which is “an unrepresentative bought-and-paid for government offering us a heads-they-win and tails-we-lose election.”
Sherwood Ross formerly worked for major dailies and wire services and currently directs a public relations firm “for good causes.” Reach him at [email protected]