Kessler looks at the latest post-modern Romney ad: post-modern because truth is completely immaterial to this propagandist dreck. It's one thing to broadcast untruths, or misleading half-facts as obvious truths; it's another to be called out on them, refuse to change them, and intensify their reach.
But it's working. There seems increasingly little doubt to me that Romney has the momentum now, and that October 3 was indeed the moment this election completely re-shaped itself. None of the proposals domestically add up (which means much more Republican-driven debt); we will be soon engaged in a protracted war against Iran, regardless of the views of the American public (more debt, untold damage to the global economy, a wave of renewed Jihadism to be met with more bombs and restored torture); millions will soon lose the only decent chance they had for health insurance, and those of us with pre-existing conditions will remain vulnerable to bankrupting ourselves if we ever lose private insurance for a period; but we sure will have more battleships for the long hoped-for neocon Cold War with China. And billionaires sure won't pay more to help out.
I've long argued that attacking Romney wouldn't be enough. EJ reminds us today of the potential of an Obama second term, as I attempted in my recent cover-story. But implementing Dodd-Frank fully, resolving the Iran conflict peacefully, making universal healthcare work are vital – but not new. Immigration reform matters. What Obama has laid the basis for in cleaner energy and education is also the kind of quiet policy reform that historians will one day note.
I remain of the view that radical tax reform, rather than simply taxing the wealthy more, would have given Obama the newness he needed to break through. The recovery was never going to be enough; and an entirely negative Romney strategy – so potent for so long – was torn to shreds in the first debate. Obama and his aides chose the more cautious, traditionally Democratic route. I can see the rationale. I can also see why the momentum is with the guy who is talking about actual reforms – however deceptive, unpaid-for and cynical.
Obama is now fighting for his political life. And right now, to my genuine horror, he's losing to a fraud, a war-monger, a liar and a budget-buster.
(Graph: Obama's fast-narrowing lead in Ohio.)