The bugler is warming up in the wings. He’s about to play “Taps” over the Romney campaign.
The latest Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS News poll shows the president widening his lead over the former governor in key battleground states. Among likely voters Obama leads Romney by 10 points in Ohio, 9 points in Florida and 14 points in Pennsylvania. Romney trails the president on “likeability,” “ability to handle the economy,” “foreign affairs” and “understands my issues.” Obama’s lead closely mirrors his standing in the polls at this time in 2008.
As if the polls weren’t bad enough; several Republican Party leaders along with a number of rank in file members are beginning to distance themselves from Romney. They see the top of the ticket as a drag on their re-election prospects.
Romney and his surrogates continue to put out a positive spin. Romney says the campaign is going well and sees no reason for panic. His surrogates question the validity of the polls and blame the biased main stream media for their woes. You know a campaign is in trouble when they start blaming their shortcomings on the media.
So what happened? Why has this successful CEO found himself trailing so badly in the polls? There are actually two basic reasons for the campaign’s current predicament.
The struggling economy and massive unemployment should have given Romney more than enough ammunition to take down the president. But rather than stay on this message the campaign chased the daily news cycle like a shiny object. Instead of talking about jobs, jobs and jobs they tried to spin every comment made by the president. The result has been a muddled message that has failed to resonate with voters. Meanwhile the president‘s campaign began with a defined message…and they stuck to it. In fact they continue to stay on message today. Their consistency has borne fruit in the polls.
Then there is the candidate himself. While Romney is undoubtedly a good husband, good father and outstanding CEO; he is a flawed politician. He made the calculation to adopt the policies of his base rather than running on who he really is and what he really believes. Romney is a moderate trying to appease a radically conservative base. The result is a stiff and cautious candidate who has to think about what he should say rather than speaking from the heart. The voters can easily sense that his remarks are not genuine. And when a video catches him in an unguarded moment the repercussions are devastating.
Is it over? Not yet! But it is getting close.
Early voting has already started in 16 states so to some extent the die is already cast. Romney may be able to alter the course of things in next week’s first debate. But he will need to do extremely well and have the president implode to have any impact on the current course of events.
So how will we know after Tuesday if Romney still has a chance? Karl Rove, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will tell us.
Republicans went into this campaign believing that they could take the Oval Office, increase their advantage in the House and maybe even take control of the Senate. They are now acutely aware that if Romney continues to lag by these margins they may lose all three. Karl Rove is no fool. If Romney falters next week you will see Rove moving substantial amounts of his Crossroads GPS PAC money away from the presidential race to bolster tenuous House and Senate candidates. Follow the money.
The same is true of Boehner and McConnell. Boehner wants to keep his House Speakership and McConnell wants to hang on to his Majority Leader position in the Senate. If they think Romney is finished you will see both of them ramping up their support for House and Senate candidates while backing off their support for Romney. Rove, Boehner and McConnell will let you know where Romney stands.
Mitt Romney can spin this current state of affairs all he wants. He can blame the biased main street media, inaccurate polling or the stars in the heavens. His campaign and consequently the Republican Party are in serious trouble. As they say: “You can put lipstick on a pig…but it’s still a pig.”
Romney is whistling past the graveyard.
The bugler is getting ready.