In 2008, a perfect storm developed for Barack Obama: an economic crisis, which was effectively, though unfairly, blamed on Republicans; war fatigue, which had been stoked by six years of Democratic anti-Bush propaganda; a messianic illusion personified in Obama, who was promising incomprehensibly wonderful yet undefined change and utopian-level bipartisanship; and a Republican opponent who all but forfeited the election to Obama (with the glorious exception of his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate).
Despite all those factors benefiting Obama, he won less than 53 percent of the popular vote. That's impressive, but that's the very uppermost result he could ever expect with all signs coalescing in his favor. And things have changed radically since then. Consider:
--For all practical purposes, Obama was a blank slate in 2008. The liberal media did their best to conceal his liberal record and ideology. He enjoys no such luxury today, having established a disastrous economic record: the longest period of high unemployment and the worst recovery in 50 years and crushing national debt.
--Obama has shown no interest in tackling spending, restructuring entitlements or reducing our deficits and debt. He has wasted unconscionable sums on failed green projects, expanded government, entitlements and government dependency, and devastated the private sector. In his arrogance, he hasn't even produced a second-term agenda beyond promising more cliches -- greater education spending as a panacea -- and more "stimulus" spending.
--Obama is not only not promising us a brighter future but assuring us perpetual malaise.
--Since 2008, President "You Didn't Build That" has proved himself to be an extreme leftist ideologue, which is very troubling to most Americans, twice as many of whom self-identify as conservative than liberal.
--Obama has systematically engaged in divisive politics, shattering his cultivated image as a post-racial, post-partisan statesman. He has undermined his class and economic warfare strategy through policies that have hit minorities and the middle class the hardest.
--Though he presented himself as a transcendent figure in 2008, since then -- and especially during this presidential campaign -- he has shown himself to be the direct opposite: a petty partisan figure appealing to people's worst fears and to the demons, not the better angels of our nature. Having no record to run on, his campaign has been childish and small, from Big Bird to "Romnesia" to the vulgar videos from his supporters.
--Obama has shattered the myth of his own likability through his conduct in office and, particularly, his behavior in the debates. He now has a palpable air of desperation about him. He has dispirited his base, particularly young people, who will not go to the polls in numbers anything like the way they did in 2008.
--He has gratuitously offended Christians by disrespecting their views and trampling their liberties, and evangelicals and Catholics are eager to vote him out. And in an effort to incite his leftist base, he has alienated many women through his manufactured war on women.
--He has infuriated many Americans by apologizing to the world for the nation they love and for his abominable actions and cover-up on Libya.
--Obama wasted hundreds of millions trying to demonize Romney, only to be foiled by Romney's unfiltered display of his consummately gentlemanly nature during the widely viewed presidential debates, in which he also showed himself to be enormously likable, competent and informed.
--In contrast with Obama, Romney has exuded confidence and a presidential demeanor. He has been refreshingly bullish on America and entrepreneurship and has arrived on the national stage at a time when America is hungriest for someone with business acumen and experience. He and Paul Ryan have offered a promising agenda with specific plans to turn around the economy and the nation's financial crisis. When they say "we can do this," most people believe that they mean it and that they can actually do it.
--According to Gallup and Pew, Republicans are winning by 7 points in the early voting. In the crucial swing state of Ohio, Karl Rove and others say that Republicans are 256,000 votes ahead of where they were in early voting in 2008, and Obama only won the state in 2008 by 260,000 votes. Also, polls are tightening in Ohio, and regardless, Republicans traditionally do better in Ohio than pollsters predict. Moreover, the conventional wisdom that Democrats outperform Republicans in the "ground game" is being obliterated.
--Romney is recognized to be competitive in states that he was believed not to have had a remote chance to capture. There are no such anticipated swings in Obama's direction.
--Romney is killing it with independents and has narrowed the so-called gender gap.
--Republicans have never been more energized, as evidenced by the election of Scott Brown, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz, by the 2010 congressional races, by the universal outrage over Obamacare, by the robust tea party movement and by the spontaneous outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A. If this election is to be decided by turnout as everyone says, it's already over.
--Paul Ryan is an all-American phenom.
There is a Romney-Ryan spirit in the air.