In recent history, we haven’t had a Presidential election quite like this one. Typically, an incumbent President when the economy has not done well is unlikely to win. On the other hand, generally the winner in a Presidential election is the more likable candidate. Well, this year we are faced with an incumbent who has been bereft of ideas on how to repair the problem with jobs during his entire tenure against one of the more unlikable nominees in the last 40 years. So it is difficult to determine how the election will turn.

Nothing can be done at this point to change either of the problems the candidates face. There is nothing that Obama can do to affect people’s notion that he only has tired economic ideas. There is nothing that Romney can do to convince people that he is actually a person who cares about people who aren’t wealthy. So, I’m naïve enough to believe that there is a chance that people’s vote will hinge on what the disparate vision of the candidates is. If either of them can answer the question that will show what their plan if successful is, they can seize victory.

For Obama, he must answer the question of what he will do differently in this term than he did in the last two years. He will certainly face a Republican House for the entire 4 years, and will either have a Republican Senate for his entire second term, or at least the last two years of it. When he had overwhelming majorities in both bodies, he showed us that, rather than doing real things to fix the economy, he concentrated on passing pork-laden bills that catered to the different public service unions. Then, when he recognized that this was ineffective, he signed perhaps the silliest policy bill imaginable, Obamacare, which codified the notion that it is up to insurance companies to provide health care to everyone. In his last two years, with Republicans in charge of the House, all everyone in DC did was pick up their paycheck in spite of the problems that pervade our economy. How will he govern differently in his second term than he has in the last two years? Why didn’t he do these things since 2011?

Romney must answer the question of what he would do differently than Bush 43 did in his eight years. By the end of his second term, Bush’s policy ideas had shown themselves to be at best ineffective in dealing with issues that arose during his tenure. I’ve followed the Republican nomination campaign since it began, and can’t find anything that Romney has proposed that is noticeably different than what was done between 2001 and 2008. There must be something, but I don’t know what it is. If the Obama campaign can paint Mitt’s election as merely an extension of those years, Romney will lose. So, Romney must explain how his ideas would differ from Bush’s, and why they would be more effective.