William F. B. O'Reilly is a Republican consultant.
I don't know about you, but my head is spinning with all the theories out there about who will win this presidential election and why.
I'm as guilty of promulgating them as anyone. Ask any political consultant for a prediction on a race -- on anything really -- and we'll take you on a trip around the world. We're worse than the commentators before an NFL game:
"I'll tell you, Steve, no lefthanded president who has lost the Methodist vote in Wisconsin has ever been re-elected in a year that ends with the number two..."
Romney will win because Barack Obama has not done a good enough job.
Call it the Obama-Occam's Razor Theory if you want to dress it up -- the simplest explanation is usually the right one -- or the Homer Simpson "D'oh!" Theory, which I much prefer. But either way, the result on Nov. 6 should be predictable. Most Americans think the country is in trouble and headed more deeply into it rather than out of it, so come Election Day they will replace the current White House occupant with the well-qualified challenger.
"Politicians are employees of ours," the "Unforgiven" actor and director said. "And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let 'em go."
I was next to the convention stage with a colleague when Eastwood said that, and the simple truth of his words was palpable. "That's the whole election," I whispered to her beneath the roar of a partisan crowd.
And it is.
The day-to-day narrative of a presidential campaign can become impossibly complicated with all the voices and interests out there. But the underlying narrative of this one is a no-brainer. Fifty-six percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to an average of national polls by the website Real Clear Politics, and Obama has not offered a plan to turn it around in a second term.
There is no doubt that Obama inherited a mess, just as his predecessor, George W. Bush, inherited terrorist attacks on U.S. soil planned long before his inauguration. But Obama made huge promises that he did not deliver.
He projected he'd bring the unemployment rate under 6 percent by the end of 2012, yet it has remained above 8 percent for 43 months in a row.
He said he would halve the deficit, but it's set to surpass $1 trillion for the fourth straight time.
He promised "post-partisanship," a word that has turned into a punch line.
He promised new American respectability in the world, yet we seem weaker on the world stage than at any time since the end of the Vietnam War.
When Obama accepted the Democratic nomination in 2008, he promised that his election would mark the time "when the rise of the oceans began to slow and the planet began to heal," but we can graciously mark that down as rhetorical flourish.
Obama did oversee the killing of Osama bin Laden -- OK, give him that one. But his most significant accomplishment was forcing through a massive new entitlement program the country cannot afford. Indeed, according to a just-released Associated Press poll, fewer than a third of Americans support Obamacare, which is why you rarely hear the president talking about it anymore.
Not everything happening to America today is President Obama's fault. But he has proved unable to move us forward in perilous times, and that's a firing offense when push comes to shove.
The prevailing wisdom right now is that Obama is going to be re-elected.
He won't be, and the reason why is obvious.
Bill O'Reilly is a Newsday columnist and a Republican political consultant struggling to hold on to his own name. He is no relation to Bill O'Reilly the Fox News commentator.