It’s All Uphill From Here For Mitt Romney
It’s likely that things will start looking better for the Romney campaign this month:
- Later this morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly jobs growth/loss estimate; and if recent months are any guide, it will show little or no job growth.
- Most Americans are paying more attention to the Olympics than to politics right now. When the Olympics end, Romney will have a window of time to unveil his vice-presidential nominee. That will be followed by the Republican national convention in Tampa Aug. 27 – 30.
- Regardless of how bad the polls look for Romney now (Pew has him down 10 points nationally, Quinnipiac has him trailing by at least 6 points in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania), chances are he’ll begin September with a lead over Pres. Obama.
The problem for Romney is the election is Nov. 6, not Sept. 6. And after the dust settles from the Republican convention, Romney’s basic problems remain. People don’t like him, and they don’t like his policies. Furthermore, his policies and his personal life dovetail in ways that compound his political problems.
His tax policies and personal finances may be the most glaring example. Even bending over backwards to give Romney’s tax plan the benefit of every doubt, the Tax Policy Center’s latest report ends up reinforcing the case that Romney wants to give “people like him” (i.e., the wealthiest 5% of Americans) massive tax cuts which will be paid for by tax hikes for the other 95% of Americans.
There’s been a fair amount of complaining from political pundits that the presidential campaign hasn’t been about issues, and instead has degenerated into a series of personal attacks. Those complaints miss the point.
The Romney campaign wants to make the election a referendum on Pres. Obama and his stewardship of the economy. There’s no benefit to Romney in debating issues…particularly because his own proposals are so radical and so unpopular.
The Obama campaign, in the absence of an opponent willing to talk about policy, has spent the past two months “defining” Gov. Romney. The combination of their efforts and his own unforced stumbles (e.g., his performance in England, Israel and Poland last week) have resulted in a situation in which Romney now has no part of his biography (education, family, finances, Bain Capital CEO, Mass. governor) that can help him on the campaign trail.
That’s going to allow the Obama campaign to execute the next step of their strategy: tying everything that’s unpopular about the Republican platform to everything that voters already don’t like about Mitt Romney. The economy may be bad enough that Romney still wins the election…but it’s going to be an uphill battle all the way.