As the Prospect’s Jamelle Bouie noted earlier today, the most ludicrous ad of the election cycle has to be the latest from the conservative super PAC, Empower Citizens Network, that tries to sway African American voters to the GOP by pointing out that Abraham Lincoln was a member of the party. But that’s not all! Republicans also founded the NAACP, the ad informs us, and they voted for the Civil Rights Act.
Apparently we don’t need to wait five days to find out who’ll be president for the next four years. All we need to do is check out, say, The Boston Herald, for a headline confidently proclaiming: “Romney set to win, maybe by a mile.” Or National Review Online, where we learn that “the size of Romney’s victory could be the biggest surprise of all.” Or The Wall Street Journal, where that most disinterested of political observers, Karl Rove, proclaims: “It comes down to numbers. And in the final days of this presidential race, from polling data to early voting, they favor Mitt Romney.” Then there’s The Hill, where Dick Morris prophecies, “Here comes the landslide.” And if we still have any lingering doubts—or fanciful hopes for President Obama—they will be shattered by UnSkewedPolls.com, which has “The Updated Definitive Projection of the race: Romney wins 54 percent and 359 EVs.”
Last week, when the campaign was still trying to project momentum, Mitt Romney promised to close his campaign with “big ideas”: plans for jump-starting the economy, reducing the debt, and giving every American a pony. Of course, little of this was credible: Analysts have debunked Romney’s jobs plan (which simply takes credit for jobs that would have been created anyway), challenged his tax plan (doesn't add up), and noted the extent to which his proposals for tax cuts and higher military spending would explode the deficit. (The pony proposal has gone unscored, however.)
When Chris Christie delivered the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in August, he had some choice words for President Obama. “It’s time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders to the White House,” Christie thundered. If he ever genuinely believed that Obama was an “absentee leader,” the New Jersey governor has certainly had a dramatic change of mind.
As "Frankenstorm" churns up the East Coast, it brings into relief the central argument of the 2012 campaign. Beneath all the minor squabbles and distractions, Obama vs. Romney is a contest between two starkly different views about the proper role of government. It’s Lincoln’s concept that informs the president’s approach: "The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but can not do at all, or can not so well do, for themselves,” the 16th president famously said.