- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mitt Romney has sprinted ahead of Barack Obama to become the frontrunner in this year’s election by sticking to a message the incumbent can’t counter: President Obama has had a full term in the White House to turn America around but life is worse than it was four years ago. The president keeps promising what he will do if given another four years in office. “I will do this; I will do that; I will, I will, I will…” The challenger’s simple reply is, “You’ve been in the job for four years, and you haven’t, you haven’t, you haven’t.”

Mr. Romney’s case against Mr. Obama’s lack of leadership is bolstered when he reminds that the liberal president had the benefit of Democrat majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives during his first two years in office before Tea Partyers staged a revolt and handed the GOP a landslide victory in the 2010 midterm election. November isn’t looking any less stormy for the White House this year. In the latest Gallup poll released Wednesday, Mr. Romney has extended his lead over Mr. Obama to 6 points, 51 percent to 45 percent. University of Colorado Professor Michael Berry forecasts Mr. Romney has a 77 percent chance — or higher — of winning the popular vote, and his methodology has correctly predicted the last eight elections.

The Republican standard-bearer could be singing from the Rolling Stones’ new play sheet. “Sitting in the dirt, feeling kind of hurt, all I hear is doom and gloom,” Mick Jagger laments in the British rockers’ new single for the album “Grrr!” Sounds pretty familiar. “We don’t have to settle for gasoline at four bucks; we don’t have to settle for 47 million people on food stamps,” Mr. Romney crooned Tuesday at the second presidential debate. “We don’t have to settle for 50 percent of kids coming out of college not able to get work; we don’t have to settle for 23 million people struggling to find a good job.” Doom and gloom are the byproducts of the Obama economy.

In face of the overwhelming evidence of his failure, Mr. Obama decided to dodge pointed questions about his underperformance in the Oval Office. When a member of the debate audience asked the president why the cost of living has become so burdensome, Mr. Obama talked about killing Osama bin Laden. When the subject was high unemployment rates affecting women, Mr. Obama instead focused on contraception and government subsidies for Planned Parenthood. When asked about gun control, Mr. Obama diverted the discussion to funding for community colleges. He was so squirrelly that even CNN’s Candy Crowley, the liberal moderator who openly favored Barack, felt compelled to interject and protest, “Mr. President, the question was guns.”

It was curious how one of the questions in the second presidential debate asked the Republican how he was different from George W. Bush but Mr. Obama wasn’t forced to answer a similar query about how he is different from the similarly unsuccessful presidency of Jimmy Carter. Mr. Romney is rising above the media bias and delivering a crystal-clear message. “Government does not create jobs,” Mr. Romney insists over and over again. Neither has President Obama, which is why the incumbent is about to lose his own job in three weeks.

Brett M. Decker is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. He is coauthor of the new book “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, 2011).