Frank Rich and Paul Krugman each have columns in today’s New York Times suggesting that voters’ movement toward Obama in the past several weeks stems from their finally “getting it.” Rich says Americans now recognize Republicans’ coded racial rhetoric as the cynical ploy it’s always been, while Krugman thinks the economic crisis has encouraged attention to seriousness and policy positions rather than impressions of elitism and likeability.
I suspect a simple “fundamentals” interpretation is more likely right. The economy is in crisis and Americans are unhappy with the current administration’s foreign policy. In this type of situation, independents tend to want a change of course. This is 1980 revisited. In fact, it’s 2006 revisited, though with the economy and foreign policy swapping places as the central issue.