Richard Fernandez identifies precisely why 2012 will be very different from 2008.
What must be truly terrifying among the president’s supporters is the growing realization that he could actually lose to Mitt Romney. Yes: Mitt Romney. Not because Romney is a superlative candidate electrifying the American voter, but because the contest is clarifying as “anyone but Obama” in 2012.
The core problem is the extent of the president’s incompetence. It had always been thought that even if the president were poor at governance, he would be good at campaigning. They relied on that idea, and forgot what all track and field coaches know: the 100-meter man will not necessarily place well in the 42,195-meter marathon.
President Obama could find a second wind, yet clearly his key strength of futurism — the ability to act as a blank screen upon which people could project their aspirations — can no longer be useful in the face of his track record. Barack Obama in 2008 was a promise; Barack Obama in 2012 is a busted flush.