It was in the fall of 2010, during a break in the taping of a TV talk show, when I first heard the GOP’s operative theory about the election of 2012. A conservative activist leaned toward me with a smile and excitedly intoned two magic words:
And there it was. The template for beating Barack Obama would be Ronald Reagan’s victory over the beleaguered Democratic incumbent of 1980. Indeed, Mitt Romney’s people keep insisting that, just like in 1980, a bad economy will trigger a late surge toward the Republican challenger, and game over.
But with our presidential election just seven weeks away, the flaws in the Romney game theory have become glaringly obvious:
1. By several significant measures, today’s economy isn’t as bad as it was in 1980.
2. Barack Obama is not Jimmy Carter.
3. Mitt Romney – do I really need to say this? – is not Ronald Reagan.