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I don’t mean to be a downer, but…

Karl Rove may be right that Obama won’t win next year. It depends heavily on who the GOP picks and what that pick chooses to do to appease the base. But if it’s a Romney or a Huntsman or even a Perry, look out.

As with always, it’s not rocket science — it’s the economy, stupid. Wars don’t matter because they happen really far away and anymore casualties, while always tragic, are measured in tens at a time rather than hundreds or thousands. What “independent” voters vote on is how they’re doing and how they think the candidate in charge will impact that. Obama has a tough row to hoe if the economy is truly stalled and we are entering a “lost decade” of recession as the Japanese did for the ’90s and much of the past decade as well. He can argue that it would have been worse, but can he really argue that it’s better and have that view not skewered by anyone to the right of Mother Jones? I’m not saying it’s not better nor that any semblance of “better” shouldn’t be credited to Obama plans, only that he’ll have a tough time proving it.

What he’ll really need to do is convince us again that we’re all in it together. Or at least the lower 80 percent. Go after the Wall Street executives who have caused astoundingly more short-term and lasting damage than any al Qaida leader. Show how truly horrible the Republican plan of less government is for the middle class. But be careful if you get a Romney or a Perry or a Huntsman in there who can show leadership and economic growth and, at least in the case of Romney and Huntsman, some semblance of centrism.

Also, stop talking about raising a billion dollars in campaign funds. Do it, yes, just don’t talk about it. Every Republican challenger will use it against you, even if they’re all taking money from Karl Rove and all of the others that will do everything they can to prove that the president with the broadest personal, professional, and even geographical story of the American experience is actually not as American as white guys in suits.

If you’re a supporter of Obama or were in 2008, even if you think he’s gone against some of your more cherished liberal principals, think about the alternative. That’s not fear-mongering, it’s recent history but hopefully not a future state.