Why Is Anyone Surprised?
I’m recommending the linked Politico piece from this morning for several reasons. First, it summarizes the growing concern within the GOP about Romney’s missteps and inability as a politician and communicator. Second, it reports on the concerns from his fundraisers about the lack of a plan to win the battleground states. And third, it makes the point oft-heard over the last several days that if Romney doesn’t turn things around with a couple of good weeks and a knock-out first debate performance, then the big money inside the GOP will be redirected to down-ballot races.
One piece of spin that keeps coming up that needs to be challenged by the media is this confusion at how an experienced and successful CEO can have a badly-run campaign. First off, please show me evidence of Romney’s successful track record as a CEO. Governor of Massachusetts? Try again. The 2002 Olympics? How much did Romney really do aside from being a public face, fundraiser, and figurehead? Bain Capital? How hard is vulture capitalism anyway? You don’t make anything, and all you do is ruin things and profit from that. Are these the marks of a successful CEO?
No one should be surprised that Romney’s campaign is in this shape. He’s making all of the top-level decisions and responsible for the team surrounding him, and keeps saying how much confidence he has in that team. That and his view of our society, as expressed in the fundraising video is all you need to know about how he’d be as a president. It’s no surprise that his own bundlers are dismayed at the lack of a consistent and effective campaign message, or a lack of a plan to win individual battleground states. The Team Romney approach from Day One of this campaign is to attack and kill the opposition with an overwhelming fundraising advantage. Message discipline, an actual connection to voters, or actual plans that hold up to scrutiny were never thought to be necessary when your whole focus is on raising cash and reminding people that you are the guy to get the black man out of the White House.
Lastly, don't assume this race is over. Romney is only saying what a large part of today's GOP thinks as well about their fellow citizens (A Gallup poll taken yesterday shows that 44% of Republicans polled said Romney's comments make them more likely to vote for him). David Brooks acted somewhat surprised in his column yesterday that Romney showed such a craven and disappointing view of the social compact in our country, but Brooks has been looking the other way for decades while the GOP moved into such a cancerous direction. Romney himself has been saying some of these things publicly for awhile now, and showed himself to be a bullying elitist jerk as far back as college. He's simply a reflection of today's GOP corporate elites. But Democrats cannot breathe any easier until more than one national poll of likely voters with a small MOE starts to indicate that Romney's mistakes are costing him. And as of right now, only this poll shows that.
If the GOP flames out in November, we'll see how things play out between the Fox News/Wall Street wing of the GOP and the Tea Party base. Get your popcorn and find a comfortable chair.