By Bob Cesca: Mitt Romney is running out of time. Worse yet, due to his well-documented ineptitude and awkwardness, he's incapable of manufacturing the kind of last minute enthusiasm that could turn the tide for his campaign. In fact, I wonder sometimes whether he's deliberately sabotaging his own campaign. A couple of brief examples...
Yesterday, Romney actually admitted that President Obama hasn't raised taxes. At a campaign rally with Paul Ryan, Romney inexplicably said, "I admit this, he has one thing he did not do in his first four years — he’s said he’s going to do in the next four years, which is to raise taxes." Whoops. It's not entirely clear, but he definitely admitted that the president didn't raise taxes, which is contrary to everything he's said to this point, including the false claim that "President Obama has raised taxes 19 times." It probably won't shock you to learn that this Romney lie actually comes from Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS Super PAC. FactCheck.org, however, called it "dishonest nonsense."
Meanwhile, he still can't cope with discipline on the stump. He's still making a jittery ass of himself whenever he tries to be spontaneous. During the same rally with Paul Ryan, the crowd began to chant, "Paul Ryan! Paul Ryan!" And either Romney's ego was bruised or he was trying to joke around, but he spastically attempted to stop the audience's chanting and insisted they change it to "Romney, Ryan! Romney, Ryan!"
One rally, two herky-jerky moments. This is not how you turn around a campaign in throes of a disaster vortex. As such, desperate Republicans are grappled for dear life onto two things right now, not unlike Jack and Rose shivering to death on that floating door at the end of Titanic: they're watching the lopsided Rasmussen polls, and they're praying for a game-changing series of debates. But wishing and praying for a trifecta of huge Romney's debate performances will only raise expectations to levels beyond Romney's rather static, if not somewhat unpredictable, capabilities. Another disaster in the waiting.
And with only 41 days until Election Day, polling margins are swinging decisively in the president's direction.
The president holds a strengthening lead according to Huff Post's Pollster national average. 48.6 to 44.6. Pollster also shows the president's overall lead in Florida widening to 48.9 to 45.1. Civitas shows the president leading in North Carolina 49 to 45. Romney was leading in North Carolina, but the trend is moving towards the president winning the southern state for a second time. According to Nate Silver, if the election had been held yesterday, Romney chances of winning would've been around 3 percent. A month ago, his odds were around 28 percent.
Furthermore, Nate Silver released a study showing that every incumbent with a polling average above 46 percent in late September has gone on to win re-election. President Obama's polling average, according to Silver, is 48.3 percent.
It's also fascinating and more than a little encouraging to glance back in time to 2008. On this date four years ago via Electoral-Vote.com, John McCain was leading in North Carolina, Ohio, Florida and Nevada. Plus, McCain was only trailing Obama by three or four points in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Not only did Obama win those states in 2008 but, today, with 41 days left, the president is ahead in all of those states -- some of them, like Michigan and Pennsylvania, with a commanding lead. What does this tell us? Cautiously, of course, it would be fair to say the president is on track to achieve a more commanding victory this time around than in 2008. Hell, even crazy Arizona looks like it could be in play this year if things keep trending in the president's direction.
To repeat my cautious optimism: all of this hinges on continued voter enthusiasm for the president and a tenacious get-out-the-vote effort. If Democrats can manage to not get too cocky and complacent, November 6 could be a really good day.
Oh, and here's another bit of good news. On last night's Hannity show, Dick Morris, who is wrong about everything, predicted that Mitt Romney will win by "4 or 5" points. That alone should make Obama supporters quite giddy.