We’re under two weeks away from the election, and finally, there’s a news story preemptively explaining why President Obama lost. (There have already been at least a few on why Mitt Romney will lose, mainly focusing on how his campaign has been conducted.) From the New York Times:
When the histories of the 2012 campaign are written, much will be made of Bill Clinton’s re-emergence. His convention speech may well have marked the finest moment of President Obama’s re-election campaign, and his ads on the president’s behalf were memorable.
But there is one crucial way in which the 42nd president may not have served the 44th quite as well. In these final weeks before the election, Mr. Clinton’s expert advice about how to beat Mitt Romney is starting to look suspect.
You may recall that last spring, just after Mr. Romney locked up the Republican nomination, Mr. Obama’s team abruptly switched its strategy for how to define him. Up to then, the White House had been portraying Mr. Romney much as George W. Bush had gone after John Kerry in 2004 – as inauthentic and inconstant, a soulless climber who would say anything to get the job.
But it was Mr. Clinton who forcefully argued to Mr. Obama’s aides that the campaign had it wrong. The best way to go after Mr. Romney, the former president said, was to publicly grant that he was the “severe conservative” he claimed to be, and then hang that unpopular ideology around his neck.
I’m not sure I buy this argument — for one thing, the campaign at times has certainly made the flip-flopper argument about Romney. Earlier this month, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said, “We now know that the real Mitt Romney will say anything to win. With just 27 days left before the election, he’s cynically and dishonestly hiding his real positions, but voters shouldn’t be fooled and won’t be fooled.” In fact, their argument lately has often been an awkward mishmash of Romney has no principles and Romney is outrageously conservative.
But the fact that the New York Times is running this piece — and that Bill Clinton is being established as the fall figure — suggests that the media sure isn’t dismissing the polls showing Romney ahead as nonsensical.