Article originally published April 26, 2012. Call me Nate Silver.
Let's not even act like there's going to be a presidential election in 2012.
I know, I know. We can't just do that. We have to go through the whole rigamarole, if only to keep up appearances. So we'll suffer through the countless ridiculous, petty, stupid, and altogether nonsensical stories that are essential to both Obama and Romney's candidacy that we'll all forget about a week later. We'll patiently sit through a few debates watching with a curious eye to see how Weyland Industries has figured out how to manufacture a Presidential hopeful already. And yes, sure, I guess there will be an election where a bitter, angry half of America who feels like their country has been hijacked by a lunatic will sit in despair as the numbers come rolling in.
How do I know this? Because I survived the 2004 election.
Everything is working out in wonderful circuitous fashion. David Simon would be proud. In 2004, George W. Bush wasn't yet the most hated man in the country he was entrusted to run; he was merely greatly disliked. After all, he did stand strong in the face of 9/11, gaining the support of many Americans for tossing one hell of a strike. He was challenged in the election by a prominent Massachusetts official whose history of flip-flopping was nearly as politically dire as his tissue box-like personality. The incumbent had to deal with a problem from a previous Bush president and was leaning toward success just around the time of the election. And, against all odds, he brought together more people that were for him than against him to win a second term.
Like any good sequel, this one is bigger, louder, the stakes are higher, and the hero is even more superhuman than the last go around. Obama enters this election not as the most prestigious governmental employee, but a rock star. He's the guy who was sitting in the Oval Office when Gaddafi, Mubarak, and that bin Laden guy were taken care of. He's the guy who inherited a devastating economic problem from a previous Bush president and has seen it through, either by his action or from just sitting in the big seat as the economy slowly righted itself. Regardless, he's the beneficiary in a situation where he has nothing to lose. He gets to have $35,800 a plate fundraising dinners at George Clooney's house, then text people saying that they could possibly hang out with all of those stars: Pitt, Clooney, Obama.
And even with that ludicrous set-up, with a nearly unfathomable cost per shrimp, he still has the right stuff to act like a Democrat. He's the candidate for the college student, trying to get congress to not vote on doubling the rate of Stafford student loans. He's the candidate for the middle and lower classes, fighting to get the payroll tax increase thrown out to lower the burden on working class Americans. Although he's the guy who gave a giant bailout that helped spark the anti-government Occupy Wall Street movement, he's also the same guy who can ride the wave of populism that rippled out from Zuccotti Park across America in a shared disgust over the distribution of wealth in this country.
Not just anyone can play with millionaires and come home to the destitute without getting asked, "where have you been?" It's the kind of parlor trick saved for rockers like Bruce Springsteen or Eddie Vedder whose body of work and ethos belie their bank accounts. Instead, they are like the local boys who do good, earning every bit of their profit margin while still holding on to the principles that got them there. And it's not just me who thinks this (though to be fair, my middle name is Patrick).
All of this comes at the absolute worst time for the GOP. Remember only two years ago when the economy was still sluggish and the Republicans moved into the house and re-painted the walls in a garish red while the nation roared in approval?
Now they are the party of defending millionaires (when they aren't busy defending billionaires) whilst decrying Obama's budget and calling for the burden to be placed squarely on the have-nots. They are the party of forcing women to be forcibly penetrated in order to remove a baby that was placed there because of another forceful penetration. They are the party that decries the price of gas even though some of their most influential supporters have their hand on the pricing switch.
Most importantly, they are the party that has been saddled with Mitt Romney, the only candidate left standing after the polished, Pokemon-quoting pizza makers, moon-loving, generally reprehensible members of the rogue's gallery fell by the wayside. And nothing kills enthusiasm more than rooting by default -- ask any Cleveland Browns fan. Even Romney's kids seem to be feigning excitement for this candidacy, and it's only April. April. Hell, does anyone even want to be the guy's running mate?
In Obama's continuing outreach to dominate the youth vote (as opposed to simply getting handed the female vote by not being a prudish caveman) the POTUS ended up on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" to "Slow Jam the News," a recurring segment where Jimmy gets his soul voice on while Black Thought and The Roots smooth out some rhyming one-liners. This time, Obama strolled on the set and pushed his anti-student loan debt on a TV show targeted to 18-25-year-olds. Jimmy and The Roots gamely threw themselves into this campaign commercial-as-bit with reverence, and why shouldn't they? He's not just the President, he's President Obama.
No wonder he dropped the mic after this performance. What more does he need to say? Until inauguration, of course.
Image courtesy of Late Nite with Jimmy Fallon