Mitt Romney is about as close to defeating President Barack Obama as any Republican could have hoped to be. The polls–if you believe them–show him slightly or significantly behind, but within striking distance. The challenge he faces is unique: he is acting, and is being treated as, the incumbent rather than the insurgent. In effect, “President” Romney has been in office since mid-August, with none of the power but all of the responsibility.
It was President Romney, not Obama, who set aside time to visit victims of Hurricane Isaac. It was President Romney, not Obama, who reacted swiftly to the attacks on our embassies by standing up for American freedom. It was President Romney, not Obama, who took on the entitlements crisis head-on by adopting many of Paul Ryan’s ideas. It was President Romney, not Obama, who laid out a practical plan for the housing crisis.
The media have also treated Romney as the incumbent, pouncing on every word and gesture, seizing on every mistake and inventing errors where none exist. Romney’s so-called “gaffes” have one thing in common: they are all statements of fact. He is being held to a presidential standard–for presidents should know better than to tell all–while Obama’s outright lies to the nation (on Libya, the debt, etc.) are ignored by the media.