One of the major enduring lines from the 2008 campaign is “This is good news for John McCain.”
It comes from the constant and unremitting idea that everything was potentially good news for McCain in the race – even his gaffes.
Yes, that’s the same Mark Halperin who’s been concern trolling the Obama campaign for its lack of focus on serious issues, wondering about Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko and Jeremiah Wright. Seriously. Even when McCain committed the worst unforced error in modern political history by suspending his campaign, the coverage was largely neutral - maybe it’ll work…maybe it won’t. Who knows!
We now have the new “good news for John McCain”: “Romney’s momentum”.
Two days ago, Mike Allen wrote the following in his Playbook:
Momentum matters – in sports, in dating, and definitely in politics. The momentum shift has been slow to sink in for Romney aides, who haven’t exactly been pessimistic, but have been “not optimistic” for weeks, even months. Looking ahead to tonight’s foreign-policy debate in Boca Raton, a Romney official told us over the weekend: “If Mitt shows that he’s credible on foreign policy, looks and sounds like a leader, the President is in trouble. Things are not going his way. Nobody is writing the story that Mitt is up. …
If someone could please tell me how momentum works in dating, please do. Is it like when you trip and fall and your momentum carries you right into sex?
This is what Mike Allen wrote today:
As an antidote to the (perhaps) irrational Republican exuberance that seems to have seized D.C., we pause for the following public-service announcement. To be President, you have to win states, not debates. And Mitt Romney has a problem. Despite a great debate and what The Wall Street Journal’s Neil King Jr. on Sunday called a polling “surge,” Romney has not put away a single one of the must-have states. President Obama remains the favorite because he only needs to win a couple of the toss-ups. Mitt needs to win most of them. A cold shower for the GOP: Most polling shows Romney trailing in Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Hampshire and Iowa – by MORE than Obama trails in North Carolina. Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin reminded of us of the 2008 primary analogy: Whatever else Hillary Clinton had, Barack Obama had the math. And math, not momentum, gets you the big house, the bulletproof car, the cool plane. We now resume our regularly scheduled Playbook.
The entire narrative surrounding the race is that Romney has an infinitely expanding momentum. He’s losing, but he’s losing by slightly less than he was before, so the obvious takeaway is that he’s probably winning. Romney’s “closing the gender gap” (he’s not), he’s “got a path to victory” (it involves flipping seven states that Obama won, five of which Obama is leading in, one of which they’re tied in, the last of which Romney is leading in by less than Obama is in the states where Obama is leading), he’s basically the next President despite not being able, at this point, to win the election.
A hearty congratulations to other people and organization who have Romney momentum – the St. Louis Cardinals, the movie Alex Cross, Bristol Palin on Dancing With The Stars. Almost-winners, all of you. All of you!