Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech received the lowest marks since Bob Dole’s in 1996: 38 percent of respondents said that Romney’s speech was “excellent” or “good.” That figure is lower than McCain’s in 2008 (47 percent), Obama’s in that same year (58 percent), Bush’s in 2004 (49 percent) and Kerry’s that same year (52 percent).
38 percent! This election is not about Rmoney, who, as Paul Constant has pointed out repeatedly, no one likes.
I've been asked to tell you why I think this week's Democratic National Convention matters. I can sum it up in just a few words: Barack Obama is not really running against Mitt Romney.
Alright, literally, he is: both names will be on the ballot. But there's more than that happening in this election.
On paper, this race shouldn't be as close as it is. Romney is not what most political consultants would call a great candidate. He had a tremendous problem getting the conservative base on board during the Republican primaries.
He's a Wall Street guy and right now Americans are still really angry at Wall Street. I've heard most of the "experts" on US television describe his convention speech as "workmanlike", rather than "inspiring".
Beyond the showmanship shortfall, that seems to matter so much in US elections, is the issue of his policy positions. Most people probably can't tell you what he would do in office.
He says he'll cut the deficit and taxes while somehow growing the military. He says that he would cut regulations, but has not specified which ones. His lack of clarity on what, precisely, he would do once in office has begun to get voters concerned.
So, with all of that in mind, why is Obama, who is generally well-liked, still in a dead heat with Romney?
It might just be because Obama isn't just running against Romney, he's running against himself. Specifically, himself from four years ago - the candidate the US met in 2008.
There is also the race issue. Now that the economy is not as terrifying as it was 4 years ago, those who irrationally hate Obama have the breathing room to become louder. This election, they feel, is their last chance to stop America from fully departing to a future that fills their imaginations with fear. Also, and I really think we should never lose sight of this fact: close races sell newspapers. The election is big business. Money wants to make more money. So, I will not be surprised if, on election day, we found out that Obama's critics were massively/deliberately over-represented. Trust me, Murdoch doesn't want Rmoney trashing Obama at this point. He sells newspapers; he wants things as nail-bitingly close as possible. Trust me, the institutional unconscious can function as if it is not doing precisely what it is doing: distorting reality.