Is Obama a Shoo-In?

This post is much more of an opinion piece based on a conversation I had recently. I’ve been meaning to post something all this week, but nothing really jumped out at me as blog-worthy, until I had a very interesting talk with my husband last night about the elections.

To give you a little background, in 2008 my husband and I voted for Ron Paul. I was going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but then she threw in with Obama and I didn’t really know anything about him. I thought his whole message of change was catchy, but it also reeked of obvious rhetoric to me. I wanted change, but I didn’t trust Obama to bring that about. I have to admit I felt like I was just listening to lots of nothings wrapped in moving speeches.

Kevin absolutely despised Obama. He thought he was a political puppet, a mouthpiece for the lobbyists and special interest groups. When he listened to Obama’s speeches, he would tell me Obama sounded too rehearsed, too polished. The voice of an orator who could convince his listeners of anything while saying absolutely nothing. And it’s true Obama is an excellent public speaker. Whether his speeches have substance I leave for you to decide on your own. But I can see how the quality of his oratory would feel too rehearsed to some, perhaps even a little insincere. I remember a public speaking analyst on NPR mentioning the same thing during the DNC speeches. (Comments were made about Michelle Obama’s deliberate stuttering. The analyst said most likely she did so to help offset the criticism that President Obama sounds too polished while speaking.)

But last night, Kevin says to me, “I’m going to vote for Obama. I’m going to vote for him just because I don’t want Romney to win, and Ron Paul doesn’t have a chance.”

(jaw drop on my end)

Then he finishes with the statement that is the basis of my post today:

“Not like it matters, Obama is going to win anyway. Romney’s messed up way too many times.”

But is this true? I’ve read various articles that say preliminary polls shows Obama has 47% of the vote, Romney 46%, and that this may be one of the most hard-fought presidential elections in recent history.

But it’s also true the Romney camp has messed up in a number of ways. The question is, will that even matter?

I started tabulating a mental list of things that I personally felt were huge missteps in the Romney campaign:

  • Choosing Paul Ryan as VP – the man is polarizing! His bills are extreme! And instead of backing away slowly from the whole Todd Akin fiasco, he adds fuel to the fire with his whole “no matter the method of conception [obliquely referencing rape, of course] life is still life.” In a taped interview, no less!
  • Opposing abortion and gay marriage as part of the campaign platform – granted, this was a decision of the GOP so Romney may have just been along for the ride
  • Jumping the gun with comments about the attacks on the Libyan embassy
  • The 47% video – admittedly this is not his fault, but it just goes to show what kind of guy he is
  • General hypocrisy – Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare plan and Obamacare? Poking a jab at people who don’t pay taxes? I’ll bet Romney pays a lower percentage on taxes than I do, and let me assure you, writers do not make bank.
  • Flipflopping – I still laugh when I remember one of Wiesman’s Monday posts that said something to the effect of, “It’s Monday! Time for Romney to change his stance…again!” [Note: I just tried to find the blogpost and failed. There’s a chance that this particular instance of Wiesman’s writerly brilliance is a product of my imagination, but that doesn’t change the existence of his writerly brilliance]

The list goes on and on, but the question still remains: is Obama a shoo-in?

Despite his many missteps, I don’t know that we can forget that Romney has money. Corporate America backs him. Hell, my old teammates are all voting for him Romney. (Despite being otherwise liberal individuals employed in the games industry, my former team mates are all business/consultant types with Ivy League graduate degrees, and every one of them has said they’ll vote for Romney. What gives!?)

The good thing is, despite Kevin’s belief that Romney can’t possibly win, he’s gonna go and vote (or face a very disappointed wife). I worry that others might share Kevin’s belief and not show up at the polls, and that would be a very bad thing. I remember thinking the same thing about Bush, during his re-election campaign, that nobody in their right minds could possibly vote George W. Bush in for a second term–and then lo and behold. I was studying abroad in Japan at the time (mailed in my vote!) and I have to say, I was so embarrassed to be an American when he won again. You don’t know how difficult it was to keep explaining to puzzled Japanese why Bush was elected for a second term.

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