This is intended as a running commentary on each party's 2012 strategy, my thoughts, and hopefully those of others.
The Democratic Spring Offensive. Obama and the Dems seem to be making the first tentative jabs, centered around three concepts:
1. We Killed Bin Laden
2. Gay Marriage a/k/a civil unions (aren't those called marriages?)
3. Romney is bought and paid for by Big Oil
4. Did we mention we killed Bin Laden?
They will move off all of these themes in short order, because none of them will gain any political traction. It is mid-May, the time to experiment with dumb political ideas, especially when you have $1B plus to spend, as Team Obama (TO) does. They're the Google of political campaigns... money, ambition, and simply not enough work to do.
Bin Laden. Granted, TO is being VERY, VERY careful about how they approach this. Their ad is carefully worded to give credit to "our greatest heroes", but within the context of our last 3.5 years of triumph. This is the political equivalent of trying to get a pat on the back for getting to work on time. What voter doesn't think Obama did what he was supposed to do in this situation? Who really gives him credit? No one. A lot of people did a lot of hard, dangerous work to facilitate Mr. Bin Laden meeting his just end on this planet, Obama just wasn't really one of them.
There is some danger here for Romney, though, if he takes the bait and engages in any sort of discussion on Bin Laden. He's done so once, and it was very, very stupid.
Gay Marriage. Obama has chosen spring 2012 to state the obvious, that he favors gay marriage. While repackaged and re-marketed as "civil unions," TO is probing for something here. In addition to the Biden/Obama stuff in D.C., Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has forced a special session of the legislature to take up the issue. Hickenlooper is the very definition of centrist, but he's also the very definition of a guy who wants a major role in a second Obama term. The only logical explanation for what is going on in Colorado is that TO wants a preview of how the issue will play in a swing state, and how the Republicans will counter.
Romney - Big Oil. The Dems want to see if this issue has any legs. My guess is it doesn't. Americans want energy independence, and they are, in growing numbers, associating the lack thereof with bad government (i.e., denial of Keystone) rather than evil oil companies. I doubt Romney is terribly frightened by this line of attack.
The Dems will bring out the big guns later this summer, and expect Bain Capital to be the biggest. The argument they're going to need to make, though, is a little nuanced. As Newt discovered, it is easily twisted into an attack on capitalism itself, rather than an attack on a sleazy subset of venture capitalism that has more in common with the mob than any other type of business. We'll see if Obama can thread the needle. He may not need to take the risk if his numbers hold.
For those of you playing in the political markets, Romney is trading at $3.65, or a 36.5% probability he will win in November. I doubt this number will down before it goes up, I'd be a buyer at that price. All of the geopolitical and domestic risk favors Romney at this point -- the likelihood we'll see any real economic change that will support Obama is non-existent, and there is a very real chance the markets, and voters, will get spooked by Europe, Iran, or China before November. By at $3.65 and sell on a spike above $4.50.