Press Clips: How Prez Race Is Like the NBA Finals


By the time LeBron, D-Wade and CB4 finished swilling $200,000 worth of champagne at the Fountainbleau’s Club LIV a few hours after sunrise Friday, it appeared, astonishingly, that Erik Spoelstra, coach of the newly crowned NBA champion Miami Heat, still had a job.

No thanks to the big brains of the battalion of professional hoops scribes and cable yakking “basketball analysts” who throughout the playoffs repeatedly forecast Spoelstra’s firing amid his team’s alleged ever-impending collapse: “They’re certainly not winning an NBA world championship,” insufferable ESPN loudmouth Stephen A. Smith announced two weeks ago.

“Not only is this series over, everything’s over for Miami. I think they lose Thursday night in Boston. I think after that, we don’t know if Erik Spoelstra will be back.”

So it went, from the scribblings of the hometown Miami Herald (“Spo must go”) to the online insights of NBC Sports (“Spoelstra just hasn’t done enough to help the Heat win this series – someone has to be held accountable”) and the rantings on NBA junkie blogs (The biggest issue with the Heat comes from the coach Erik Spoelstra. He has been extremely out-coached”). Right up until his team blew the doors off the OKC Thunder to claim the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy (aka “the Larry”) Thursday night.

Spoelstra’s early burial narrative mirrors the current story line of the 2012 presidential campaign, as Beltway seers quote Democratic bed-wetters opining that Barack Obama’s re-election chances are fast eroding.

Donning chest waders to navigate the muck, ooze and sludge of recent national media coverage, Calbuzz learned that 1) Team Obama is too insular and clueless to run a winning campaign; 2) their Bain-bashing contrast argument with Reginald Mantle Mitt Romney doesn’t properly “contextualize the (economic) recovery” and 3) Mittens has swiftly been transformed from a robotic self-entitled, silver spoon twit to an extraordinary cross between Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and King Kong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The problem with this wave of MSM clairvoyance is precisely what ailed the NBA soothsayer set: a laser-like focus on what’s happening right this minute, coupled with an uncanny ability to assume, despite constant evidence to the contrary, that tomorrow will look just like today. Au contraire.

The fundamental dynamics of the race haven’t changed since last November, when we made the argument that Obama will be re-elected, barring an unknown and unknowable catastrophe. As White House strategist David Plouffe patiently explained to the Washpost:

But it’s also important for people to understand this isn’t simply a question of a referendum on the president. It’s a choice between two visions and two records”….

That’s what’s going to decide the election, not the contretemps of the moment,” he said in an interview. “We’re very cognizant of that.”

Back to basics: As every school child knows, a presidential race is not a national election, it’s 50 state elections (yeah, yeah plus DC).

As a practical matter, Obama has a natural base of 247 of solid or lean Democrat electoral votes, compared to Romney’s 206 solid or lean Republican, with 7 states – Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), New Hampshire (4), Ohio (8) and Virginia (13) – fully in play, as the AP details here.

A glance at the most recent polling doesn’t show any significant departure from that basic shape of the race, and suggests that even if he loses a state or two he’s supposed to win (Romney groupies point to Wisconsin, where union-busting Governor Scott Walker beat an ill-advised recall by labor, and Michigan, where we don’t see voters endorsing Mitten’s opposition to the successful auto industry bailout, as potential takeaways), Obama still has multiple pathways to 270 EVs.

Not to mention a few other key battleground trends:

Job growth in swing states. Even Walker admits it’s a problem, the reason Team Mittens wants Governor Rick Scott to shut up about the improving jobs picture in Florida.

Qui bono: The biggest swing state beneficiaries of Romney’s supply side economic policies are, surprise, surprise, the 1%.

Mitt’s immigrant bashing: Latinos could sink Romney in a host of swing states.

Mitt’s immigrant bashing II: Latinos in swing states  don’t like Romney.

Personality bypass: Romney: Still a knucklehead.

Mega-kudos: Speaking of champions, major hoozahs and hurrahs to our pal Jon Fleischman, who was awarded the King of the Cavemen Prize Andrew Brietbart Award for Excellence in Activism and Online Reporting by his right-wing cohort at last weekend’s Americans for Prosperity confab.

His politics are wrong, his ideas are unsound and he really needs a new hairstyle, but Flash is sui generis, a true believer who always comes to play and never stops attacking the rim or diving for the ball. Now if he could just teach his highly-paid minions to spell “prosperity” right.

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There are 4 comments for this post

  1. avatar Ernie Konnyu says:

    Your Obama vs. Romney analysis is way too hopefully hopeful even for a Demo. I suspect that the President’s economic failures will simply bring him down and I’ll be singing, “Hail oh great Mitten” on January 20th.

  2. avatar chuckmcfadden says:

    And the specifics you cite to back up your claim Calbuzz is being too “hopefully hopeful”?

  3. avatar miquel95929 says:

    I think AP is too pessimistic- a lot of people actually give NV to Obama- think of all the ex Bay Area Dems that have moved to Reno over the last 8 years. You can’t beat the Latino fueled vote Bulge coming out of Vegas if your at worst breaking even in Washoe & Carson City- which Obama won in 08. CO is the same story- plus they don’t like 1%ers when times are bad.

  4. avatar chrisfinnie says:

    A couple of Republican clients of mine are very excited because they think Romney really has a shot. The one in New Jersey also says that she believes the enthusiasm for him in other parts of the country is much greater than we might see on the West Coast.

    Amusingly, she also told me her husband was Chris Christie’s law partner for 6 years. In her opinion, “Chris will never run for president or vice-president. He’d have to buy off too many people not to tell what they know about him.” Unfortunately, she did not spill any beans–to my regret.

    I have a hard time believing that any woman could vote for a Republican. But I know several who do and will, and a few others who say they no longer can. In addition to the Latino vote, it will be interesting to see how the women voters shake out.

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