5) The Obama campaign and its allies look increasingly fragmented and desperate. In addition to a general lack of a coherent message, the past week has seen a series of awkward, and even offensive, videos from the campaign and outside groups, the first being a strange video — endorsed by the Obama campaign — from TV star Lena Dunham comparing voting for Obama to losing one’s virginity, ostensibly targeting women. It’s a fair question whether this is a desperate, improvised move or part of a conscious long-term strategy that seemed more suited to young, urban single women than to politically uncommitted women in the suburbs. Either way it’s an incredibly awkward video met with reactions ranging from head scratching to outright condemnation from many on both sides of the political divide. While writing this, I was made aware of a new video from MoveOn.org and Michael Moore in which foul-mouthed senior citizens suggest Romney will steal the election and proceed to make vulgar threats (it’s so offensive I can’t bring myself to provide a link, but by all means Google it). This is not the sign of a unified and disciplined coalition, but of a campaign and its supporters throwing everything but the kitchen sink against the wall, hoping for it to stick. These videos are probably emotionally satisfying to President Obama’s most dedicated supporters, but they fail to appeal to — and probably offend — independents in Ohio, and probably do just as much to energize Mitt Romney’s base.
Make no mistake: The fact that these indicators for the most part represent or inform the behavior of the political establishment means they by definition reflect conventional wisdom, which is wrong at least as often as it is right. However, the political and media establishment like to be on the winning side in their commentary, and that commentary seems to reflect a growing perception that President Obama is in electoral peril. In one week, we will know for sure.
Tom Readmond is a Republican consultant and strategist. He resides in Arlington, Virginia.