Romney Stretching His Legs Before the Big Sprint

President Obama has not been defeated. He still occupies the White House, and that will continue until next November. But the nation is readying itself for what will prove to be a high octane race for the presidency. President Obama will have a mountain of cash to spend and will attempt to campaign energetically. I say “attempt” because he’ll find defending his administration will be much harder than his last campaign when he was a fresh-faced Senator billed as an outsider who used rhetoric and platitudes in place of actual accomplishments.

Team Obama will likely select only a few issues. The economy, of course, will be a big part, because he can’t very well ignore it. So he’ll spin it in a way to suggest he actually saved it from collapse. In the process, he will not even so much as mention our nation’s debt and deficits.

Instead, he’ll the talk up the bold raid into Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden and the recent withdrawal from Iraq. He’ll leave out things like Russia, China, Iran, and forfeiting our missile defenses and snubbing our allies in Eastern Europe, our strained relationship with Israel and the quickly deteriorating situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Domestically he’ll speak of progress, sacrifice, and the pains his administration helped to soften. He’ll not mention his divisive comments that he and Eric Holder have made and the social resentment he stirred through class warfare. Lastly, we can expect amnesia over our nation’s credit downgrade and the ever-climbing debt ceiling.

In light of that, he’ll do all he can to distance himself from his actual record. However, what will make this election far different from the last one is simply four years — four failed years of the Obama presidency. His talking points and message will be minimal because he now has a record to defend and whether the media likes it or not, President Obama has at last been tested and vetted, and the majority of the Americans find him wanting. The proof of that remark can be found in his current poll numbers.

In the Gallup Poll, Obama has dropped back to 44/48. In Rasmussen’s Approval Index, Obama, after a week or so of slightly less gloomy numbers, is back to an ice-cold -18:

Moreover, Rasmussen’s overall approve/disapprove numbers among registered voters are back to 45/54.Putting all of that together, it appears that reality has reasserted itself: the economy continues to be lousy, and the Obama administration’s achievements continue to be pretty much nonexistent. So whatever minor improvement Obama may have experienced seems to be dissipating (John Hinderaker | Power Line).

Assuming Romney wins Iowa, which is very likely, he’ll certainly roll through New Hampshire, capture several western states, and the growing momentum will enable him to win over South Carolina (a state he avoided last time around) and Florida – thanks to Gingrich’s crumbling support, which leave them open — I see it being a Romney sprint right from the gate.

Romney has the ground game, the smarts, and money. Romney has been at this the moment he dropped out of the race back in 2008 at CPAC. There’s a reason why Romney has been mister consistent in the polls. Republicans have watched four alternatives rise and each have crashed. Meanwhile, Romney stays on message but has carried himself in a way that suggests he has always been looking farther ahead.

One can rest assured that Romney’s general election strategy is already complete and he is just inching to put it into play. To him it was always about defeating President Obama, not fighting with his primary opponents. Like in boxing, styles make fights, and Romney desperately wants the match-up with Obama.

Too, the anti-Romney argument will be settled as soon as the Iowa caucus is complete. And once the general election arrives, Romney will be the sole Republican candidate and enjoy a fully funded, energized Republican base. That is something McCain never enjoyed and certainly would not have to the degree that he did without Palin filling part of the ticket. After all, the alternative — a second term for Obama — is simply too much for conservatives and too costly for the rest of the nation to endure.

Though those last points are from the gut and hardly empirical, however, consider Rasmussen’s latest poll numbers in a likely Romney/Obama match-up.

Mitt Romney has now jumped to his biggest lead ever over President Obama in a hypothetical Election 2012 matchup. It’s also the biggest lead a named Republican candidate has held over the incumbent in Rasmussen Reports surveying to date.

The latest national telephone survey finds that 45% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the former Massachusetts governor, while 39% prefer the president. Ten percent (10%) like some other candidate in the race, and six percent (6%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

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