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Since this is my version of an election piece, I plan to get the usual stuff out of the way fast.
So yes, the smartest political odds-givers around believe President Obama has a distinct edge over Mitt Romney coming out of the conventions, the Senate is trending Democratic, and who knows about the House. In fact, it almost seems as if the Republicans put forward the only man in America incapable of defeating an economically wounded and deeply vulnerable president (other than, of course, the roster of candidates he ran against for the nomination).
In every way that they can control, the Obama people have simply been smarter. Take those conventions: in each of them, the presidential candidate was introduced by a well-known figure who went on stage and ad-libbed. One was an 82-year-old guy talking to an empty chair (and I still thought he was the best thing the Republicans had to offer, including his shout-out about withdrawing all our troops from Afghanistan) and the other was… well, Bill Clinton.
It wasn’t even a contest. As for the upcoming debates, if you think Romney can outduel Obama without wandering in among the thorns, I have a Nigerian prince I’d like to introduce you to. In other words, it should really all be over except for the usual shouting and the gazillions of dollars of attack ads that will turn swing state TV screens into a mind-numbing blur of lies. Even there, however, some Super PAC and dark money types may evidently be starting to consider shifting funds from beating up on Obama to beating up on Democratic senatorial candidates. It’s a sign that the moneybags of the Republican right fear the Romney campaign is a rerun of McCain World and the candidate is a Bain Capital version of John Kerry windsurfing. After all, Romney seems almost incapable of opening his mouth without letting out a howler, his staff is in a state of civil war, and Republican candidates elsewhere are leaping from the ditched bandwagon, as are conservative pundits.