Obama the postpartisan healer is a distant, almost quaint, memory at this point. The Southside pol has been sprinting down the bare-knuckles, "punish your enemies," voting as vengeance road for some time now, so this shouldn't surprise anyone. What an inspiring and forward-looking message with which to round out your campaign, Mr. President. Project Hopenchange is dead:
Compare our angry, hyper-partisan president to his challenger, who advanced his "closing message" agenda at a rally in Wisconsin earlier today. Greg already posted the highlights, but the whole thing is worth watching. Green Bay Packers legend Bart Starr and Gov. Scott Walker revved up the crowd, then Romney took the stage and began his final pitch. The tone, tenor, and substance of his message is strikingly distinct from the president's negativity:
A few noteworthy pull quotes from the text:
We ask you to look beyond the speeches and the attacks and the ads. Look to the record, the accomplishments and failures, and the judgment. Words are cheap. A record is real and earned with effort. Change cannot be measured in speeches; it is measured in achievements ... President Obama promised change, but he could not deliver it. I promise change, and I have a record of achieving it. I built a business, and turned around another. I helped put an Olympics back on track. And with a Democratic legislature, I helped turn my state from deficit to surplus, from job losses to job growth, and from higher taxes to higher take-home pay. This is why I am running for president. I know how to change the course the nation is on, how to get us to a balanced budget and how to build jobs and rising take-home pay. Accomplishing real change is not something I just talk about--it is something I have done. And it is what will do when I am President of the United States.
You know that if the President is re-elected, he will still be unable to work with the people in Congress. He has ignored them, attacked them, blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up again, and shutdown and default will be threatened, chilling the economy. The President was right when he said he can't change Washington from the inside. In this case, you can take him at his word. When I am elected, I will work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress. I will meet regularly with their leaders. I will endeavor to find those good men and women on both sides of the aisle who care more about the country than about the politics. Together, we will put the nation on track to a balanced budget, to reform our tax code, and to finally reaffirm our commitment to financial responsibility ... I learned as Governor of Massachusetts that the best achievements are shared achievements. I learned that respect and good will go a long way, and are usually returned in kind. That is how I will conduct myself as president. I will reach out to both sides of the aisle. I will bring people together, doing big things for the common good. I won’t just represent one party, I’ll represent one nation. I’ll try to show the best of America, at a time when only our best will do.
On November 6th, we come together for a better future. And on November 7th, we'll get to work. We'll reach across the street to that neighbor with the other yard sign and we'll reach across the aisle in Washington to people of good faith in the other party. This is much more than our moment. It is America's moment of renewal and purpose and optimism. We have journeyed far and wide in this great campaign for America's future. And now we are almost home. One final push will get us there. We have known many long days and short nights and now we are close. The door to a brighter future is there, open, waiting for us. I need your vote, I need your help. Walk with me, walk together. Let us start anew.
As for the race itself, national polls virtually all show the race statistically tied, with both the incumbent and challenger registering support in the 46-49 percent range. If history is any guide, this suggests Romney could very well be on pace to win the popular vote on Tuesday. Some of the data on early voting in states like Ohio and Iowa looks fairly promising, but nothing is dispositive yet. This may suggest that Gallup and Rasmussen's vast partisan ID surveys over the last few weeks are fairly accurate, and Republican turnout is going to be dramatically improved over 2008. There's that T-word again. "Numbers Muncher" Josh Jordan reiterates the old cliche because it's truer than ever:
So as much as I hate to repeat it, this election will come down to turnout. There is thus no time for complacency among Republicans, because every vote is going to matter for Romney to combat what will likely be a formidable get-out-the-vote effort by Team Obama. Furthermore, for Romney to win the Electoral College safely, he would likely need a win by two points or more in the popular vote. Anything below that will leave some battleground states too close for comfort. With one week to go, things are looking better for Romney than at any other point in this entire campaign. His path to victory is through an electorate that looks like any of the last six presidential elections except 2008, while Obama has to find a way to recreate the magic that propelled him to victory four years ago. While nothing is certain next Tuesday, Romney is in a strong position to finish a comeback that no one thought possible a month ago. If that happens, the size of Romney’s victory could be the biggest surprise of all.
Liberals and media chin-pullers seem to remain confident that Obama will win re-election with relative ease. As I've been writing for days, someone is going to be proven really, really wrong on Tuesday night. At the moment, it seems like crowds, overall momentum, early voting trends, partisan enthusiasm, map expansion, Obama's tenuous national numbers and Romney-leaning independents all point to a Romney win. A possible small national Sandy bump (although that situation is deteriorating fast), and numerous state-level polls point toward Obama surviving. Jump ball, folks. And Jordan's right -- it is about turnout. And turnout means you.