Well I’ve found my favorite paragraph of the week, in The New York Times of all places (granted it’s on one of their blogs), penned by Ross Douthat.
Losing campaigns have a certain feel to them: They go negative hard, try out new messaging very late in the game, hype issues that only their core supporters are focused on, and try to turn non-gaffes and minor slip-ups by their opponents into massive, election-turning scandals. Think of John McCain’s desperate hope that elevating Joe the Plumber would change the shape of the 2008 race, and you have the template for how tin-eared and desperate a losing presidential campaign often sounds — and ever since the first debate cost Obama his air of inevitability, he and his surrogates have sounded more like McCain did with Joe the Plumber than like a typical incumbent president on his way to re-election. A winning presidential campaign would not normally be hyping non-issues like Big Bird and “binders full of women” in its quest for a closing argument, or rolling out a new spin on its second-term agenda with just two weeks left in the race, or pushing so many advertising chips into dishonest attacks on its rival’s position on abortion. A winning presidential campaign would typically be talking about the issues that voters cite as most important — jobs, the economy, the deficit — rather than trying to bring up Planned Parenthood and PBS at every opportunity. A winning presidential campaign would not typically have coined the term “Romnesia,” let alone worked it into their candidate’s speeches.
McCain supporters denied the Obama wave right up until the returns started coming in. Obama supporters may well get a chance to see the shoe on the other foot in a couple of weeks.
The whole thing also jibes with the “believe what you are seeing” sense that has most conservatives upbeat about the chances of a Romney win. All across the country and especially swing states, the little details are the ones that the media overlooks, like how Romney/Ryan signs can be seen on lawns all over the place and Obama/Biden signs are virtually non-existent. Every neighborhood that I’ve been in lately is at least 5 to 1 for Romney in signage.
Obama may still pull out a victory, but by all visible measures that appears less and less likely with each passing day.