The Paul Ryan selection and the Republican National Convention failed to lift Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in the national polls (or the swing state polls, for the most part), but conservatives aren't panicking: They're just retreating deep into fantasy. The dream, this time, is 1980, when their favorite American Folk Hero, Ronald Reagan, defeated a terrible troll named Jimmy Carter.
They are aided, in this new round of fantasizing, by two depressing developments: a crappy economy with few signs of short-term improvement, and violence at American embassies and consulates in Arab nations. Unfortunately for Republicans, Mitt Romney, for all his wonderful qualities, is not Ronald Reagan, or even remotely Reaganesque. So the best they can do is to make Obama appear Carter-esque and hope that's sufficient. To that end, here is A Children's Treasury of Conservative Commentators Pretending It's 1980:
- At the Corner, Jack Fowler posts a truly horrible Photoshop of Obama and Carter's faces merged. "An extra photoshop treat from Rich and Lucy, the super cool folks at TerrellAfterMath (which you should visit regularly!)." You really, really should visit at least once, if not regularly.
- On a similar note, the Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper posts a video "mashup" of Obama and Carter talking about foreign policy in order to prove that both Carter and Obama thought their opponents would be less good at foreign policy than them.
- Commentary's Charlie Siering makes the same point with words (plus the same video) in a Washington Examiner column: "Obama’s remarks, however, echo frequent criticisms made by President Jimmy Carter of Ronald Reagan, then his opponent for the presidency."
- American Thinker editor and publisher Thomas Lifson says "Obama is starting to look a lot like Jimmy Carter twisting in the wind as Iranians held hostages in Tehran in 1979."
- Back at the Corner, Victor Davis Hanson shows some restraint by not mentioning Carter's name while calling it "1980 redux." Peter Kirsanow follows up by making the point explicit, for the slower readers: "There are many similarities between Carter and Obama."
- And again at the Corner (they're flooding the "Obama is Carter" zone!) Alexander Bernard, "managing director of an advisory and investment firm focused on the Middle East and Central Asia," notes some "eerie parallels" between Obama and Carter.
- The Weekly Standard's Geoffrey Norman says now we have "Stagflation" again!
- Then some Washington Times reporter called up some Republican operatives and asked them to compare Obama to Carter for a story about how Republicans are comparing Obama to Carter.
I'm convinced! 1980 is going to happen again, and after his second amazing term Mitt Romney will eventually have all the airports renamed for him.
(As people outside the conservative bubble hopefully already know, by this point in 1980 Reagan was already leading according to an average of national polls. At Nate Cohn points out, "Reagan held a lead from mid-September onward and had a two or three point lead heading into the debates. " Romney does not have a two- or three-point lead at the moment, and in fact he's never had one.)