With the General Election fast approaching, time is running out for the GOP standard bearer to create a sustained surge in public opinion for Romney to win. The third and final Presidential debate for 2012 was not a good showing for his Foreign Policy credentials. If, as it appears likely, President Obama is elected to a second term, the GOP will find the root cause for a Romney defeat not in his 2012 GOP Primary or Presidential performance. The outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election was decided on November 2, 2010.
The GOP made historic gains in the 2010 mid-term elections at the national and state level riding on the coattails of the Tea Party movement. During the campaigns, GOP incumbents and challengers made every effort to position their stances as far to the political Right as was legally and socially acceptable. The depressed state of the economy only fueled the anti-government, anti-incumbent sentiment that was sweeping the nation. Not surprisingly, the 2012 Presidential hopefuls could not resist the urge to try and repeat history.
While the right-wing rhetoric still has an appeal to the lingering Tea Party constituency, a slowly recovering economy, spear-headed by the Obama Administration economic policy, has sapped some of the fuel of the anti-government sentiment among swing voters. This fact was either not realized or tactically ignored during the GOP Presidential Primaries and the Presidential hopefuls again made every efforts to position their stated political agenda as far to the Right as possible in order to appeal to their Conservative, Tea Party dominant, base. That bruising contest forced Romney to take many political stances that are anathema to many moderate and swing voters. His necessary swing back toward the political middle while campaigning against the incumbent President makes him appear indecisive and untrustworthy.
This GOP strategy and likely outcome is not surprising. Much of it may even have been predicted in the political punditry. What will be interesting is to watch the evolution or dissolution of the existing GOP brand going into the 2014 mid-terms and 2016 General Election with the economic recovery accelerating. What will their platform be with 2012 signature items like Obamacare or the Bush Era Tax Cuts off the table? How will changing demographics have an impact?
This 2012 Election contests are not at an end. There is still work to be done and no outcome is assured, but the trajectory is trending favorably for the Democrats. As economic and political trends tend to be cyclical, one cannot help but look at the lessons of the past to try and get a peek at what may lay beyond the horizon of tomorrow.