Let me finish tonight with this.
The Trayvon Martin case has focused the country's attention these days but, given its importance, we will be back on the presidential election full-time and when we are, we will behold a startling sight: a very close, hot, race for the American presidency.
I am convinced through years of watching these rivalries that the American people are in for a tight one. For one thing, they want it that way; they want to see these candidates duke it out, giving it their absolute best. Two: they see this race as a reasonable one: both President Obama and former governor Mitt Romney will loom as reasonable considerations for this country's highest office.
I say this because I have watched a couple of factors that will confront the President with a strong challenge this November.
The first is the opponent. Whatever Romney lacks in charisma or in the simple ability to connect with voters, he commands in organizational ability. This guy has the contacts, the reputation with other business people, and the basic competence to assemble and ramrod an organization that has been powerful enough and disciplined enough to destroy all the candidates who have gotten in his way. They haven't wasted money; they've spent just enough to knock the other guy out of the action in states where the other guy needed very much to win.
Will this work in a general election? Perhaps not the same exact way. The President will be well-funded. He, too, will have smart people working on his behalf, thinking on his behalf. But the fact is that you play your strengths in this political business, and Romney has shown the ability to play his: organizational skill, discipline and the right kind of pals--rich ones.
The other factor that offers evidence that this will be quite the challenge for Obama is the economy itself. It is not "steaming ahead," unfortunately. The growth rate is well below 3 percent and that is not strong enough to bring people back to work in the numbers that will instill confidence that the country itself is headed back to business. We have a gasoline price problem that will increasingly drain money from the economy increasingly as the summer grows hotter. We have a housing problem that remains an albatross--a difficult-to-explain, but devastating, situation that somehow seems to undercut a true recovery.
So count on the President being smart in his defense. Count on him putting together a sound campaign. But count, too, on him needing every bit of the talent, moxie, and good sense that God has given him.