Can Barack Obama
win in November?
For the first time I’m beginning to doubt it. Mitt Romney isn’t my cup of tea, to put it
mildly, but so far he hasn’t blown his campaign with the kind of gaffes I’d
confidently predicted, and Obama looks increasingly powerless to reverse America’s
What’s feeding my doubt is the growing number of
liberals and dyed-in-the-wool Democrats that I’ve talked to who now consider
Obama weak, indecisive and lacking in charisma.
He’s making his opponent look energetic and innovative, and if that’s
true Obama deserves the drubbing he’s getting in the press and the growing
sense of despair among his erstwhile supporters.
November is a long way off, and a lot can happen
between now and then. If a week is a
long time in politics, as we are so often told, then four months is an
eternity. But as the months roll by,
Obama seems permanently frozen in the headlights of his Republican adversaries
in Congress and meanwhile the United
States economy shows few signs of recovery.
In these days of economic austerity and financial
market chaos, incumbents are bound to be in trouble, everywhere in the
world. We’re past the stage where
predecessors can be blamed. ‘W’ now
seems like a figure from history; some Americans, unbelievably, are even
verging on nostalgia for the once universally derided Bush administration. That must qualify as one of Obama’s most
Sarkozy managed to lose to a nondescript, virtually unknown socialist. In Britain, Cameron’s Tories have
contrived to put the party ten points behind Labour in the opinion polls, notwithstanding
the inept, and until a few weeks ago, much criticized, management of the Opposition
leader Ed Milliband. Even Angela Merkel is courting unpopularity,
gets saddled with bailing out its Eurozone partners.
Obama may yet pull some campaign rabbits out of the
hat, but right now the hat looks as if it has been chewed by its occupants.