In the most recent episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Maher offered an apt metaphor for the possibility that yes, Obama can lose the election. He admitted that the GOP has been ruining its brand as of late, due to the long primary battle and the fight over birth control and women’s reproductive rights, but Maher compared the GOP to a horror movie slasher that won’t die. First, the hand starts moving, and then the whole corpse comes back to life. As Maher pointed out, the GOP will eventually ends its primary season, probably quite soon if Romney wins a majority of the states this Tuesday (a Super Tuesday race). Then, the party will coalesce around the nominee and work on defeating Obama. The Koch Brothers and other right-wing billionaires will pour millions into Super PACS to unseat the president.
Maher’s comments reminded me of friends who believe Obama will definitely win re-election. As an Obama supporter and someone currently working with his campaign in Luzerene County, I have told friends time and time again that the president can indeed lose re-election. The GOP may be in disarray now, but they will unite to defeat him.
Even Paul Begala, a major Democratic strategist, wrote in his column in the new issue of Newsweek that this election may very well be a toss up. Begala points out that there are a few foreign policy factors that can upend the election. He cites the Iran nuclear issue and skyrocketing oil prices as two major factors, as well as uncertainty and possible conflict in Pakistan. He also envisions the GOP uniting once the primary season is over. He writes, “The GOP will unify. Where once their central organizing principle was opposing communism, now it is opposing Barack Obama. As long as he is on the ballot, the Republicans will be able to reunite. There is not much the White House can do about that. The reality is the GOP demolition derby will end soon enough, and the president will be in a neck-and-neck race all year.”
The Election is still about 8 months away, and in a lot of ways, it feels much more important than it did in 2008, due to all of the problems facing this country, including growing income inequality, high unemployment, and impending foreign policy issues. Months ago, Obama started laying the groundwork for his campaign. Even here in NEPA, an office has already opened in Scranton and one is set to open soon in Wilkes-Barre. The White House must know that the landscape this time will be different than it was in 2008 and nothing is certain, especially since the economy is still fragile and serious foreign policy challenges loom.
It makes the canvassing and voter registration drives all that more important.