The NY Times' Opinion Page blurb for Charles Blow's column teases: "Wasn’t this election supposed to be a nail-biter?" Inside, in Blow's column, we read that "at this point, it’s hard to see a path to victory for Romney." And that, I'm sure you've noticed, has been the commentariat's swelling opinion for, well, several hours now--which says more about our preposterously pisspoor punditry than it does about the presidential race.
Why was "this election" presumed to be "a nail-biter"? Because the pundits stamped "nail-biter" on their punditry at the get-go. And why, now, is it "hard to see a path for Romney"? Because the pundits have finally seen what all the competent GOP contenders--Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, Haley Barbour--saw at least two years ago: re-winning a brilliantly red gerrymandered House district is one thing, but conquering those purple states snaking from Pennsylvania to Nevada is quite another. In other words, the GOP grownups could read a brightly colored map--titled "Abandon hope all ye GOPers who enter here"--as well as they could do some damn simple math.
Could the pundits? Nope.
They also missed the poignancy behind the polls reflecting President Obama's high likability and steady, personal favorability. They seemed to miss incremental improvements in the economy and how the metronomic accumulation of those upbeats would begin to register with the electorate. They missed the politically potent fact that even given general dissatisfaction with the economy's current pace, the GOP was offering nothing but a return to Bush--and, inextricably related, they seemed to dismiss that the electorate unwaveringly blamed Bush--not Obama--for the mess we've got.
Throw into that gloomy pool a few other factors--weakening demographics among Republicans; the House GOP's insane, alienating policy proposals; the base's now chronic, aggravated derangement and the agonizing primary season that unmasked its leadership's dementia--and I'd defy anyone of any reasonably sound prognosticative abilities or raw political instincts to come up with ... "a nail-biter."
Ok, I hear you ask, then what was it these professional pundits were using as a predictor? As a vocational guide? As a measure of nail-biting competition? Put your drink down. Clear your throat. You don't want to choke on the coming chortle. They were (they had to be) using only head-to-head national polling--the most distracting, the most diversionary, the most useless predictor in play.
Now--duh--they're saying "it’s hard to see a path to victory for Romney." Well blow us away.