With a tendentious, sneering speech in Cleveland this week, President Obama launched the fall campaign.
The president who never stops campaigning even when he is denouncing the permanent campaign has only one way to actually signal to his (dwindling) troops that he is summoning them to a particularly important political battle.
When Barack Obama gets serious, he personalizes the attack and he raises the volume.
So the president went to the shore of Lake Erie to attack GOP House Leader John Boehner, whom the president rightly fears is close to becoming the new House Speaker, and thus his principal rival for the next two years.
Boehner is an enormous threat to Obama because if Obama can lose the House, he can lose the presidency.
If Obama fails to rally his troops one time, the alleged magic is gone.
If Boehner beats Obama, the Obama-Carter comparison grows more and more compelling.
So all rhetorical barrels were leveled at Boehner, and when the president was finished...John Boehner didn't have a scratch on him.
In fact the Democratic troops not only did not rally to the flag, they ran farther and faster from Obama.
The president proposed massive amounts of new spending on top of the mountain of debt he and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have already rung up.
The president insisted on a massive new tax on employers and small business owners who are already paying most of the country's income taxes.
And Obama said nearly nothing about his ruinous Obamacare nightmare which has begun to roll out across the country, causing the premiums of individuals to rise even as health care costs continue to soar. The signature legislation of Obama's first two years in office got a brief, perfunctory mention and then the president was off to attack Boehner. That was the giveaway moment: The president cannot run on his record, even after a docile Congress has delivered newly every part of his hard-left agenda. Instead he must run against John Boehner.
Boehner has conducted a shrewd and disciplined campaign, refusing to detail a specific set of proposals or even a timetable for moving to stop the massive tax hikes or to begin the rollback of Obamacare. On my show and in other venues he has stuck to the general --and most important--point, that the out-of-control spending must stop.