(Jim Morin via GoComics.com)
Which has to be chafing the man’s temple garments something fierce, since he’s always been able to clobber his opponents into submission via superior funding-power. But here’s John Cassidy, in the New Yorker, on the limits of Romney’s cash advantage:
…If November’s electorate were confined to millionaires and billionaires, Romney would be a shoo-in. Unfortunately for him, even the G.O.P.’s best efforts to suppress voter turnout through the introduction of voter I.D. laws and the like won’t prevent many less-wealthy Americans from ambling along to their local polling station and pulling the lever. Which means that the Mittster is also going to have to ingratiate himself with the regular folk, something he’s never been particularly adept at.
Rove and Stuart Stevens, the sometime novelist and bon vivant who is Romney’s campaign manager, may be hoping that they can spend their way to victory, burying President Obama under an avalanche of negative ads, but in their heart of hearts they know they can’t. In today’s politics, money is a necessary condition for success, but it’s by no means sufficient. From Steve Forbes in 1996 to Meg Whitman in 2010 and Rick Perry last year, the political landscape is littered with the detritus of well-funded campaigns that self-destructed because the candidate wasn’t up to it, the opposition was too strong, or the objective conditions were unfavorable.
Right now, Romney is in grave danger of joining the list of money-rich candidates who ended up as roadkill. Look at the polling data. According to the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, Obama is up about three and a half per cent in the national race, his biggest lead in quite a while. At the state level, the numbers are even more worrying for the G.O.P. Just last week, Rove himself acknowledged that Ohio and Colorado, two key swing states, had moved from “toss up” to “lean Obama,” and that Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, three states Romney desperately needs, were still too close to call. If the Republican candidate doesn’t win Florida and at least two of three from North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia, it is very difficult to see him getting two hundred and seventy votes in the Electoral College.
Reflecting this reality, the betting markets are pointing to an Obama victory. At Ladbrokes, the British bookmaker, the President is now the prohibitive 2/5 favorite—meaning you have to bet fifty dollars to win twenty. Romney is a 2/1 outsider, suggesting that the probability of him winning is just thirty-three per cent. At Intrade, the political prediction site, the implied probability of a Romney triumph is a bit higher—about forty per cent—but I pay more attention to the bookies, where more real money gets wagered, sometimes by political insiders.
Yes, there are three months left until the election, but Romney badly needs to arrest his decline. With Harry Reid and the Democrats still pounding him about his taxes and memories of his disastrous overseas trip still fresh, he simply has to change the narrative. He still has an opportunity to do it, but it’s short one: about three and a half weeks, in fact. By the time he leaves Tampa on the morning of Friday, August 30th, he needs to have articulated a sharper message, picked a decent running mate, and established some sort of emotional connection with the American public. If he hasn’t succeeded in all of these tasks, President Obama will be heading for victory as he and his party gather in Charlotte the following week…
Tick… tick… tick…