This is a tale of two cities. No, not Dickens' phlegmatic London and passionate Paris. Nor the two neighborhoods Charles Murray contrasted in his recent bestseller "Coming Apart" -- prosperous but isolated Belmont (actually, Mitt Romney's home for decades) and needy and disorganized Fishtown.
There has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth as, in the spring, it appeared that forces supporting Mitt Romney would be able to raise about as much money as those supporting Barack Obama. There's even more now that it seems likely that the pro-Romney side will raise and spend more money than the pro-Obama side.
Last week, I wrote about the standings in the presidential race and said it looked like a long, hard slog through about a dozen clearly identified target states, much like the contests in 2000 and 2004. Call it the 2000/2004 long, hard slog scenario.
Just as the political air is filled with talk of the inevitability of Barack Obama's re-election -- we are told that the kids at his Chicago headquarters are brimming with confidence -- in come some poll numbers showing him behind.
Washington Post editorial writer and liberal blogger Jonathan Capehart is puzzled. Why does the "non-issue" of Harvard Law professor and Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren's Native American ancestry "require so much attention?" he asked last week.
I don't know how many times I've seen liberal commentators look back with nostalgia to the days when a young man fresh out of high school or military service could get a well-paying job on an assembly line at a unionized auto factory that could carry him through to a comfortable retirement.
"I don't worry about the Constitution," said Rep. Phil Hare, Democrat of Illinois, at a town hall meeting where voters questioned his support of the legislation that became Obamacare. You can find the clip on youtube.com, where it has 462,084 hits.
As I listened to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan describe his latest budget plan in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute this week, I couldn't help thinking how different things will be in Britain when Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne steps out of No. 11 Downing St. with a battered red briefcase holding his budget for the forthcoming year.
In the cold, gray numbers of election returns and exit poll percentages, a reader with some imagination can find clues to people's deep feelings, their hopes and fears, their self-images and moral values.