I got an interesting message from the Democratic Party of Arkansas as they met this weekend in Hot Springs.
“It’s clear that Arkansas Democrats are ready for November 6, 2012. Not only do we have the best candidates, but we have the enthusiasm to get out the vote unlike Republicans,” wrote spokeswoman Candace Martin. “Just this week, this article looked at the lack of enthusiasm among Republicans for their lack-luster candidates.”
The article linked to is a Washington Post article which contends that Republicans do not have a lot of enthusiasm for Mitt Romney. So what the Arkansas Democrats are arguing is that they will have more enthusiastic voters for President Obama than Republicans do for Mitt Romney.
Let’s talk about this.
First, on one hand they may have a point that there is not a huge amount of enthusiasm right now for Mitt Romney. Although most establishment support has lined up behind him, Romney has had a difficult time closing the argument with the conservative base of the party. This has allowed other Republicans – most recently Rick Santorum – to challenge him for the nomination.
But, when applied to Arkansas in November, this argument does not hold water. In 2008, for example, Arkansas Republicans were less than enthused about John McCain, when he only got about 20 percent of the vote in the primary here. Yet in the general election McCain beat Obama by twenty points.
It is also almost laughable to think that Democrats are excited about voting for President Obama. How about this quote from Gov. Mike Beebe – the titular leader of the state party – as an example?
“I think you’d have to be living in a cave not to believe that Obama doesn’t stand a lot of chance of winning Arkansas,” Beebe told Talk Business in October. “I don’t think he’s going to carry Arkansas. I’m probably going to vote for him. It depends. I assume he’s going to be the Democratic nominee.”
He has come a long way from 2008 when he said he “stands squarely with Barack Obama.” In four years, it seems Beebe’s support – like many Arkansas Democrats – is not quite as enthusiastic. The most recent Talk Business poll shows Arkansans disapprove of his job performance by a two to one margin.
Democrats can hope that Mitt Romney is the nominee and that Republicans don’t turn out to the polls to vote for him, but they are foolish to not believe that Republicans main goal is make President Obama a one-term President. Republicans — and likely many independents and even some Democrats — will turn out in record numbers to see that happen.