A polished commander in chief.
A foot-in-mouth challenger.
Warnings from the white house, diplomacy calls for cooler heads...
A challenger, criticized for, at best, sounding like an opportunistic hot head.
An economy not going the president's way.
But a challenger unable to capitalize on it and bring polls "his" way.
I'm not talking about this election year 2012.
I'm talking about the election year 1980.
32 years ago this very month, the similarities are very note worthy.
Hard as it is to believe now, jimmy carter was leading then... Over a fellow the media deemed just short of a doofus then.
Ronald Reagan's attacks on what he called feckless foreign policy, was considered bombastic at best, and a legitimate threat to our very national security at worst.
He was the cowboy with the loose lips and the economic platform with the loose facts.
No way this cowboy could handle the world stage.
No way his tax cuts could lead a world recovery.
Never mind, history proved the cowboy could, and those tax cuts did.
32 years ago this month, few if any in the mainstream media, thought the Republican challenger would even get the chance that year...
...sort of like the stuff I'm hearing about the Republican challenger this year.
...that he says dumb things. Impolitic things.
...that he should know his place. And those words have consequences.
As if the actions of the president he's criticizing, have no consequences.
No. The challenge was on the challenger... And a media very dismissive of the challenger.
...back in 1980, all but lecturing the candidate it seemed to have concluded didn't measure up.
As if the economy then did. Or our image abroad did.
Lost in the rush of instant polls, is something I call seething anger. It doesn't fume, as much as it festers.
Over an economy that doesn't move.
And an international image that doesn't improve.
Now, let me be clear... None of this is to say Mitt Romney's Ronald Reagan.
Or Barack Obama's Jimmy Carter.
The president this year is too savvy.
And his challenger this year still too stuffy.
For another, the media loves Barack Obama... I don't think it ever got its arms around Jimmy Carter.
Still, the challenger always has an uphill fight, including an uphill media fight.
But we mistake having to win over the media and the polls they showcase...
With winning over the people and the shifting, seething anger only they themselves know.
Until its election day and everyone is shocked.
Everyone, that is, except the folks who were seething.
Long forgotten by the pundits... Who never saw it coming?