Mitt Romney will not become president this November without the support of millions who voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
National Review's Jim Geraghty ponders what this means for this year's campaign. "Generally speaking," he observes, "people hate admitting they made a mistake. . . . Very few Obama voters will express their vote for the GOP [nominee] in 2012 as an explicit act of personal penance for bad judgment." Instead, "a lot of Obama voters must be persuaded that they made the wrong choice in 2008, and that it isn't their fault."
How to do this? Geraghty goes on: Monday I spoke to a smart political mind who had been watching focus groups of wavering Obama voters in swing states, and he said that one word that those voters kept coming back to, again and again, was "naïve." (The term was to describe the president, not themselves.) Those who voted for Obama won't call him stupid, and certainly don't accept that he's evil. But they have seen grandiose promises on the stimulus fail to materialize, touted as the answer to all their health care needs and turn out to be nothing of the sort, pledges of amazing imminent advances in alternative energy, and so on.
The list goes on, but you get the point: "If we're seeking to persuade Obama voters that it's okay to vote for someone else this time, perhaps we need to reinforce that notion that he just doesn't quite understand how things work in the real world.
This notion does not actually contradict the idea that Obama is a hard-left radical pursuing terribly destructive policies. It just leaves open the possibility that he is a foolish idealist rather than an evil genius.