The Corner

Down with the Ship

Back from the SS National Review’s tour of the eastern Caribbean to find the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza making the same point I made on board ship to cruisers and fellow speakers alike: You may think Obama is eminently beatable, but unlike Mitt Romney, he has a solid base that is a dead-certain lock to be there for him next year: 

Everyone knows that President Obama has a problem with his political base heading into 2012. Except that he doesn’t.

. . . an examination of the polling data among key subgroups that constitute Obama’s base makes clear that he has as much support from them as any modern president seeking a second term.

“There is one immutable fact about President Obama’s reelection chances: Nobody has a more solid 44 percent base than he does,” Democratic pollster Peter Hart wrote in a not-entirely-uncritical memo assessing the state of political affairs a year out from the election.

Meanwhile, “electable” Romney stays moored at around a quarter of the GOP primary electorate, and as a “frontrunner” has been happily chucked overboard for every not-Romney flavor of the month, including Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and now Mr. Newt. Head-to-head with Romney next year, Obama will sink him handily.

Obama starts with a rock-solid 43 to 44 percent of the vote and that the focus of the next 11 months is almost certain to be on improving his numbers among independents in states such as Colorado, Florida and Wisconsin.

“Is the president’s base upset? You bet, but they aren’t upset at Obama,” said Cornell Belcher, who conducts polling for the Democratic National Committee. “They are in fact sympathetic to what Obama is trying to do and what he is going through.”

And Hart wrote in his year-out memo: “His base will be invaluable, and this has been underestimated. It should not be.”

Meanwhile, Say-Anything Mitt has no home port and is unlikely find one beyond the generic anti-Obama vote. Which, alas, will not be big enough or motivated enough to evict Cap’n Barry from the White House bridge as he madly steers the ship of state into the iceberg. Indeed, the campaign will begin and end with this photograph.

Sorry, but that’s the truth. Say what you will about Sarah Palin, but she would have brought a super-energized base of productive taxpaying citizens with her that might have competed favorably with the Obamabots. But she broke their hearts — and damaged herself — by teasing and then not running, leaving the GOP bereft of a candidate who could match BHO II’s charisma.

What can be done at this late date, I have no idea. And neither do the Republicans.

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