The 45th President.

Listen to the broadcast of Decision 2012 with Paul Gleiser, Monday, November 5, 2012.

Mitt Romney will be the 45th President of the United States.

Despite my early misgivings, I believe that Mitt Romney has emerged as a clear and believable alternative to Barack Obama. Given the sorry state of affairs facing the country, including high unemployment, tepid to non-existent economic growth and a growing sense that events around the world are spinning out of control, possession of a believable alternative will prove to be all that is necessary for voters to fire the sitting president.

I was one of many who feared that a Romney campaign would be little more than a repeat of the disastrous John McCain campaign of 2008. I feared that a president with a failed record and an empty platform for a second term would win re-election by default.

My fears were misplaced. Romney did in his campaign what he used to do as head of Bain Capital. He learned all he could about the business, he carefully studied the competition, he assembled human and economic resources and he then deployed those resources in a careful and purposeful way.

While conservative supporters and pundits were howling about Romney’s apparent acquiescence to the tsunami of vicious attack ads hurled at him by the Obama campaign, Romney held his fire and kept his cool until the time was right to hit back.

That right time turned out to be Wednesday, October 3 in Denver, Colorado. Sharing a stage for the first time with President Obama, Romney seized the opportunity. Obama was on the stage but not in the moment. Speculation has run the gamut on Obama’s miserable debate performance. He was complacent. He resented having to be there. He thought Romney was on the ropes and would be easy to pick off. He was suffering from the effects of the altitude. We’ll never really know.

What we do know is that Mitt Romney stood on the stage in Denver and looked and sounded like the President of the United States. For many, that debate in Denver was their first look at Mitt Romney as a man rather than as the target of a negative attack ad. The disconnect between Romney standing on the stage and Romney the caricature as painted by Team Obama could not have been more stark. On that evening, hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the Obama campaign on TV advertising came back to bite them. Voters not yet fully committed to either candidate came to realize that the Obama campaign had been misleading them.

The polls say it is close. I don’t think so. I believe that Romney will win with a minimum of 285 Electoral College votes. But that total could go much higher. If Romney pulls off upsets in traditional blue states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and, dare I say it, Michigan, upsets that appear increasingly plausible, Romney could wake up Wednesday morning with 331 Electoral votes to Obama’s 207.

Assuming that I’m right and Mitt Romney wins on Tuesday, you can bet that his campaign will be written about and studied for generations to come.

Assuming that he wins, Romney’s effectiveness in bringing about victory when even his supporters thought he was going to lose could be a heartening portent of what is to come in a Romney presidency.

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