Obama’s decision to support gay marriage was widely viewed as a ploy to raise more funds from rich gay rights activists. Yet, the decision will likely hurt him among the general public, which has not embraced gay marriage. In every state that a gay marriage initiative has been on the ballot, it has failed. Currently, 31 states have a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. Last month, North Carolina became the latest state to reject gay marriage, with over 60 percent of the voters supporting marriage as strictly a union of a man and a woman. Clearly, Obama’s unpopular gay marriage stance has hurt him in this swing state, where new polls show him several points behind Romney.
New national polls also show a slight lead for Romney. Even the all-important electoral map is moving in Romney’s direction. Formerly strong Democratic states are now toss-ups. For example, Wisconsin has not awarded their electoral votes to a Republican since 1984. In this election, Wisconsin is a new battleground state. Governor Scott Walker’s overwhelming victory in last week’s recall election was a strong statement by Wisconsin voters that they approve of Republican reform efforts and reject Democratic Party and labor union threats.
Democrats in Wisconsin were surely disheartened by the President’s decision to forgo campaigning in the state. His only involvement in the high stakes election in Wisconsin was a pathetic tweet, indicating his support for the recall. While the President did not bother to campaign in Wisconsin, he had time for golf games and fundraisers with movie stars like Sarah Jessica Parker and George Clooney.
Democrats have also been hurt by their most popular politician going rogue. Former President Bill Clinton expressed support for Mitt Romney’s business career, calling it “sterling” and indicated he favored a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts for all Americans, even the wealthy. This undercuts the Obama messages that Romney is a greedy “Gordon Gekko,” who supports tax cuts that will harm the economy.
Obama did not help his prospects last Friday when he commented at a news conference that the “private sector is doing fine.” Republicans pounced on that statement, noting that the unemployment rate is historically very high at 8.2 percent and most Americans are struggling economically. A new Federal Reserve report indicates that the median net worth of American families dropped 40 percent in the four year period ending in 2010.
Real economic data indicates that the private sector is not doing fine; it is trying to survive in a climate made worse by surging national debt and out of control federal spending. Today, America is close to $16 trillion in national debt, increasing by over $5 trillion since Barack Obama became President. More debt has been accumulated in the first term of President Obama than in the entire 8 years of George W. Bush.
In response to the poor economy, the President has blamed George W. Bush, the Republicans in Congress, the tsunami in Japan and the European debt crisis among other supposed culprits. This blame game is getting tiresome now and will surely not work in November since Americans expect their President to deliver on his promises.
When George H. W. Bush retreated on his promise of “read my lips, no new taxes,” he was bounced out of office by the American voters. Obama has promised everything under the sun, as well as hope, change, and a better economy. He claimed that if Congress passed his stimulus plan, there would be shovel ready jobs and unemployment would fall to lower than 8 percent. Well, even the President admitted that the jobs “were not as shovel ready as we expected.” Many of his other promises, such as eliminating earmarks and growing the economy with green energy jobs have not been fulfilled.
At this point, the fat lady is getting warmed up and the rats are already leaving what is rapidly becoming a sinking ship. The President’s running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, is clearly a liability to the campaign. He frequently makes inappropriate comments that embarrass the President. Some Democrats are privately wishing that Obama would dump Biden for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Such a dramatic move may save his campaign. Barring that type of shake-up, former Clinton advisers and Democratic strategists are already warning that the President will face an “impossible headwind in November.”
While Mitt Romney should not start measuring the drapes in the White House, he has good reason to feel optimistic five months away from America’s decision on whether to re-hire or fire Barack Obama.