"Garbage time" is a term often used in describing basketball games, or the last half hour or so before a bar closes for the night.
In basketball, garbage time is those final minutes that must be played out after, and even though, the outcome of the game has been decided.
In bars, garbage time is those final minutes when "last call" has been given, and customers drink down or put down their final drinks before emptying out into the evening--or early morning.
Occasionally, there is garbage time in politics, when--long before election day--it becomes clear who will be the winner and who will be the loser.
The press, the pundits, and the political pros would most certainly caution against any talk--at this point in time--of the possibility that the term "garbage time" could apply to the final weeks of this year's presidential contest.
They would remind us that the unexpected--such as this week's troubling events in Libya and Egypt--could influence the outcome. They would surely say that I am jumping the gun in predicting now that the race will be over weeks before November 6.
But that is what I believe--and I am not alone. MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry has gone so far as to foresee a landslide victory for President Obama.
The signs are there for all to see. Nearly every political indicator favors the President. Most telling are the numbers and all-important trends that pop off the pages of recent polls of the battleground states.
Mitt Romney's last realistic hope for turning things around is to land a knockout punch in the first Presidential debate, and there ain't no one, nowhere who believes that could happen. That's like asking a lifetime singles hitter in baseball to step to the plate under pressure and suddenly belt a game-saving home run.
The Romney campaign team has just thrown in the towel in Michigan and Pennsylvania--canceling its ad campaigns. Mitt Romney now trails President Obama in all but one of the remaining states that are still up for grabs. His chances of winning the "must have" states of Florida and Ohio are fading faster than his popularity, and Paul Ryan's credibility.
So when we will know we are in garbage time?
When the Republican fat cats turn their attention, and redirect their money, from Mitt Romney's campaign to the Congressional races.