But one guy who’s not glad to see the pages drop off the calendar is Mitt Romney.
For the better part of the last year, Romney has been locked in an also-ran position, just inches behind President Barack Obama.
The Democrat has held a solid lead in the electoral college standing throughout the race.
Romney pulled into threat-range in the early summer, staking claim to a tie in the popular vote and thinning Obama’s leads in battleground states.
With the Paul Ryan pick he seemed to be positioned for a bold final push. But that momentum is starting to look more and more like a plateau.
Romney appears stuck around the 45% mark that John McCain hit in 2008. Meanwhile, in the latest polls Obama is pushing toward or even above the 50% mark.
(CNN puts the president at 52% to Romney’s 46%, nearly matching Obama’s final margin over John McCain four years ago.)
None of the Democrats’ current advantages are insurmountable, but the opportunities for the GOP to shake up the race are ticking away VP pick? Done. Conventions? Over.
Swift Boat style blow to Obama’s approval ratings? If anything, it’s the Democrats who are playing the pit bulls this time around. This morning, Politico is leading with a story about the Democrats “Kerry-izing” Romney on national defense.
More bad economic news? Well, maybe that could change the race’s dynamics. In their latest assessment of the race, Team Romney is arguing that high unemployment automatically doom Obama to a one-term presidency.
But I don’t think many politics-watchers buy that anymore. I think most people who’ve run out of patience with Obama have already jumped ship.
Meanwhile, Romney now faces the risk of several crucial days being lost to hand-wringing stories, as GOPers and conservative allies acknowledge doubts about the Romney-Ryan strategy.
We’ve already seen anxious essays in the Wall Street Journal, Politico and the Weekly Standard. In the Standard, Bill Kristol compared the Romney approach to that of Michael Dukakis. Ouch.
To win this, Romney has to actually, you know, win it. He has to find a story to tell that convinces Americans that he’s the better guy, with the better plan. I don’t think there are many pundits in America, including conservatives, who would say he’s done that effectively.
And there’s just not much time left.
Which leaves the debates as the likeliest opportunity for Romney to break through with that message. Doable, yes. But only if Romney elevates his appeal dramatically, and finds a credible, policy-backed narrative along the way.
He’ll probably also need help from an Obama stumble or some other unforeseen event.
The big convention bounce for Obama (let’s be honest and call it the Clinton Bounce) will almost certainly fade. But with 56 days to go, that won’t be enough by itself to lift the Republicans out of a frustratingly close second place.