- Last Updated: 12:33 AM, May 8, 2012
- Posted: 10:36 PM, May 7, 2012
The Obama 2012 campaign has invited journalists into its massive and massively populated Chicago quarters to deliver the good word: It has no doubt its man will win in November. None. No way. (Some cheerful whistling.)
“The Obama team,” reported Mark Halperin on the Time magazine site yesterday, “is not being coy when it admits this will be a close election. But as of the first week of May, it is not a close election any of the team’s members expects to lose.”
BuzzFeed, the fastest-rising political-news Web site in the country, has recently featured a series of breathless pieces about “the most technologically savvy and expensive political operation in American history,” built from scratch “in a laboratory-like setting, geographically distant and hermetically sealed from the politics of Washington.”
Last month, BuzzFeed celebrated the first anniversary of the office’s opening — yes, there has been a giant campaign HQ in Chicago since April 2011, even though the president only formally announced his intention to run for reelection on . . . Saturday.
On that wondrous anniversary evening, BuzzFeed tells us, staffers “knew it was a night to party.” After a killer speech by campaign honcho Jim Messina, they viewed a propaganda film that “hit at the inspirational core of the president’s historic victory four years ago, and a few of the staffers were moved to tears.”
And the rumpled David Axelrod, the seen-everything consultant who acts as the campaign’s chief strategist, “projects the confidence that permeates the sixth floor of the old Prudential Building. The Republican Primary has been, he chortled, ‘kind of a calamity for them. . . There is a sense of anticipation that this thing is entering a new phase. Game on.’ ”
Perhaps they are this confident — so confident both Time and BuzzFeed even report there are fears among Democrats that the campaign is too cocky.
But really, Mitt Romney can’t possibly be that lucky.
If Obama and his people are feeling this bulletproof given the magnitude of the challenge they face, they’d be exhibiting a level of delusion so reality-distorting that they’d be unable to see straight. The plain facts facing Obama & Co., as his direct conflict with Romney begins, wouldn’t inspire cheery confidence in any rational person.
Job growth has slowed again. Labor-force participation has fallen to a level not seen since 1981. Housing prices are where they were in 2002. There are suggestions of deepening economic malaise in manufacturing orders.
Even more ominous, and entirely beyond Obama’s control, the election results in France and Greece suggest that Europe will soon be plunged into fiscal turmoil and pull us down still further.
Politically, the polls show a dead-even race, despite the GOP primaries’ supposedly “calamitous” effect on Romney. Obama spinmeisters say the electoral map going state-by-state is easier on the president than it will be for Romney, but even that is happy talk. At least one new poll puts Romney up 10 points among independent voters; if that holds, state-by-state maps will shift dramatically in Romney’s favor.
Obama and his team may look at Romney & Co. and comfort themselves with the thought that there is no way that plutocrat multimillionaire and his heartless party can prevail with the voters in November.
If so, they’re in dangerous territory. I spent 1992 reporting for a book on the re-election effort of the first President George Bush. And around the same point in that cycle, in May, the overwhelming consensus in Bush World was that there was no way America was going to elect a two-faced adulterous draft-dodger with a virago wife who wouldn’t bake cookies when they had a war hero and his immensely popular missus serving them with honor and dignity in the White House.
They were, dare I say it, confident when they shouldn’t have been.
But those 1992 Bushies were also a bunch of stumblebums, and far less skilled at the game of politics than the Obama guys are.
Which leads me to believe the odds are overwhelming that Messina and Axelrod are not feeling especially confident, that they know perfectly well how tough the road ahead is going to be.
What they are doing, as the race moves into high gear, is shoring up the troops — which means not only their staffers and Democratic pols generally, but the credulous media as well.Follow @NYPostOpinion