From May to June.
Click here to listen to the broadcast of Decision 2012 with Paul Gleiser, Monday, June 11, 2012.
The question in preparing this post every week is, “What are the big stories of this week as they pertain to the November election?” For this post, we came up with four.
The first is Wisconsin. The failed attempt to recall Wisconsin Republican governor Scott Walker sent shivers through the Democratic Party. Walker not only held on to his seat, his vote total in the recall election was greater than that which he received in the election that originally put him in office.
The recall effort against Walker was mounted by public employee unions in Wisconsin that were enraged by Walker’s successful efforts in reducing the bargaining power and lavish pay and benefits packages for the state’s public employees. The recall effort against Walker had the support of the Democratic Party. Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz went so far as to say that the Wisconsin recall election constituted a “dry run” for the general election in November.
That the recall election went decisively in favor of Republican Scott Walker in what has traditionally been a Blue State bastion for organized labor is no doubt causing heartburn at the Chicago headquarters of Team Obama.
The second source of indigestion for the Obama campaign is former President Bill Clinton. It is widely believed that there is no love lost between Obama and Clinton. Yet Obama is notably short on surrogates to deliver his message and thus Clinton constitutes a necessary evil.
Clinton has now gone off the reservation on at least two occasions. The first was in May when he characterized Mitt Rommey’s business career as “sterling” just as the Obama campaign was trying to gain traction in discrediting Romney’s career. Clinton went so far as to say Romney meets the minimum experience and credential requirements to be President of the United States.
The most recent deviation from campaign doctrine took place when President Clinton opined that the Bush tax cuts, set to expire on December 31, should be extended. Referring to the pending tax increase as the “fiscal cliff,” Clinton made it clear that his opinion regarding the matter is directly at odds with that of President Obama. Clinton subsequently tried, with limited success, to walk his statements back. But the damage was done.
The third bit of bad news came with respect to the lifeblood of politics: money. In May, Team Romney raised over $76 million, eclipsing the Obama money raising effort by more than $16 million. At the beginning of this presidential cycle, it was taken as a given that Obama would have a massive money advantage over the Republican nominee and would raise something in the neighborhood of a billion dollars. Both assumptions now lie in doubt.
Fourth on the furrowed brow list for the Obama team is the fact that Democrats and Obama-friendly members of the media such as Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin are now saying out loud that Obama could actually lose the election in November. This is in direct opposition to the assumptions of just a few weeks ago when the received wisdom was that Romney had been irreparably harmed by the long, brutal Republican primary season and that Obama would be able to coast to an easy re-election as a result.
Today, given all of May’s bad news that seems to be carrying over unabated into June, Obama’s re-election looks less and less inevitable.
We’ll know in 148 days.