First, despite their griping, Obama’s base still believes. Support among Democrats and African Americans is solid. Obama’s recent conversion to the old-time Democratic religion of class conflict — preached at Occupy Wall Street tent meetings — has rallied American liberalism. This approach has its limits. A message that shores up support from the left may complicate Obama’s appeal to independents. The construction of a 43 percent floor may also involve the construction of a ceiling not far above it. But Obama’s appeal to the political middle was no longer working. A base strategy was his only credible strategy, and it seems to have prevented a polling collapse.(For further evidence of fortune smiling on Barack Obama, check out this column today by the often ferocious Obama critic, 'liberal' WaPo columnist Richard Cohen.)
Second, while voters may be disappointed with Obama’s job performance, they have not turned on Obama himself. His personal approval is strong. Here there is a significant gap between the American public and, well, me. I have often found Obama’s public manner to be professorial and off-putting. Americans seem to think it calm, self-possessed and reassuring. Even in his failures, Obama does not seem hapless. He fully inhabits the public role of commander in chief. And Obama’s commitment to his family — his protection of their privacy and normality — is widely admired....
Third, it is now evident to everyone but Republicans — who report themselves resolutely satisfied with their choices — that the Republican presidential field is weak. In a contest of Romney, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels, iron would have sharpened iron. Instead, the GOP race has been a series of trial balloons, popped by cluelessness, incompetence or impropriety. Each front-runner, in turn, seems inevitable just before becoming unimaginable. These episodes of manic enthusiasm, in retrospect, seem desperate and discrediting.
Given the alternatives, unlike Gerson, I am more and more liking this possibility.