I’ve learned more about polls during this election than I ever wanted to know, but luckily my memory is now such that I’m sure I’ll be able to forget most of it after Tuesday. But one benefit of all my poll watching has been encountering the poll-writing of the National Review‘s Josh Jordan, which I have enjoyed a great deal. He predicts today that Romney will will the popular vote by about two points, 50.5 to 48.5, enough to of a margin to carry the electoral college. I hope he’s proved right by voters tomorrow.
“Just last week,” Jordan writes, “I would have predicted a slightly larger victory, but Hurricane Sandy cut a little bit of the edge Romney had by providing Obama with one last chance to leverage the advantage of the incumbency.” The overriding “advantage of incumbency,” of course, is the ability it provides the incumbent actually to be president, not just to act presidential. If Obama loses, I think it will be in part because he has not been a very good president — insisting, for example, on policies that most voters oppose — but also because he hasn’t even been very good at acting presidential.
He’s been nasty, vindictive (“You didn’t build that!”), seeking “revenge” against those who disagree with him. Hurricane Sandy presented Obama with a golden opportunity at least to seem presidential, which he revealingly muffed. True, he appeared for a photo op with Gov. Christie walking on the beach, and that appears to have helped him a bit, but then he did what he does best: he took off immediately to campaign. If he had appeared to be involved with, or even concerned with, the relief effort — even rolling up his sleeves and passing out water bottles or something — he would have helped himself immensely.
Same thing with the Benghazi Bungle: on Sept. 12 he cancelled his intelligence briefing (a typical move for him), did not convene his national security staff, and took off for a fundraiser in Las Vegas. If he had at least seemed angry about the terrorist attack (instead of lamely promising to bring “those folks” to justice), if he had been seen to be involved in finding out what happened and taking charge of the response, he would have helped himself immensely. Especially now that, a month later, CBS News has released additional information from a Sept. 12 60 Minutes interview with Obama revealing that he refused to label the attackers terrorists, directly contradicting his (and Candy Crowley’s) assertions to the contrary in the second debate.
Instead, with this president actually being president seems to be an unwanted intrusion on his busy campaign schedule.