Political Animal


September 15, 2012 11:36 AM Romney Death Spiral Beginning?

By Ben Jacobs

Although I speculated about issues that Mitt Romney might face in a close election in my last post, right now things aren’t looking too close. Nate Silver, over at 538, gives Obama a 76% chance of winning the election and voters viewing Democrats as the better choice both for the economy and foreign policy, things aren’t trending in the former Massachusetts Governor’s direction. As John Heilemann put it in New York Magazine, “a broader narrative emerging in the media across the ideological spectrum: that Romney is losing, knows he is losing, and is starting to panic. This story line is, of course, rooted in reality, given that every available data point since the conventions suggests that Obama is indeed, for the first time, opening up a lead outside the margin of ­error nationally and in the battleground states.”

Fred Barnes has already come out with a preemptive postmortem at the Weekly Standard for what’s gone wrong and has blamed some of the usual scapegoats like “press favoritism” and skewed polling. Only at the end of the piece, does Barnes address in passing other factors, like which candidate is running a better campaign.

There are understandable reasons for Republicans to be befuddled. Obama is poised to become the first incumbent President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to win re-election with unemployment above 8%. But Obama isn’t going to win because the press is in the tank for him or because of conspiracy among pollsters. Right now, Obama is running a much better campaign and Romney has not been a very good candidate. For a party that focuses so much on individual responsibility, it’s ironic that Barnes is blaming others, rather than Boston, for Romney’s faults.

Ben Jacobs is a journalist living in New York. He is a former reporter for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and contributor to the Boston Globe editorial page. Follow him on Twitter @bencjacobs.


  • Daryl Cobranchi on September 15, 2012 12:33 PM:

    Bad link. The "pre-emptive postmortem" actually points to a Gallup poll.

  • RepubAnon on September 15, 2012 12:34 PM:

    One minor quibble: Republicans have never believed in being personally responsible for their own actions. They do, of course often speak of "personal responsibility" - but only in the context of people they dislike.

    You'll never see a Republican advocate for laws making, say, JP Morgan's management responsible for massive financial losses resulting from their irresponsible gambling. However, Republicans are perfectly willing to claim that homeless veterans should be "personally responsible" for not having a job (rather than asking the rich Republicans for a modest taxpayer-funded jobs program).

  • Tigershark on September 15, 2012 12:36 PM:

    And maybe, just maybe, the voters prefer the positions of the Democratic Party to those of the Republican Party. Does Barnes even consider that?

  • Roger the Cabin Boy on September 15, 2012 12:36 PM:

    Their focus on "Individual responsibility" doesn't include themselves, however. Makes it kind of hard to learn from your mistakes when you won't ever admit to any.

  • Ben Jacobs on September 15, 2012 12:43 PM:

    Link fixed. Thanks for pointing that out Daryl.

  • Mitt's Magic Underpants on September 15, 2012 12:51 PM:

    Two things:

    1. The media want a horse-race. They are lazy, and "must" do the false equivalency BS. So they won't let the election get away from Romney.

    2. Beware panicky racists. Bad (well, even worse) things are to come.

  • jjm on September 15, 2012 12:59 PM:

    @Mitt's Magic Underpants: Your second comment is absolutely correct. We've already seen insane acts for every degree Obama rises in the polls: the latest being the Kansas attempt to knock him off the ballot, but other examples are the panicked purge efforts of the IA elections official, the Florida purge, and includes Romney's total flame out over Libya. The racists ARE scary, but when they team up with guys like Romney who think playing by the rules of normal and ethical behavior is for chumps ... watch out!

  • John on September 15, 2012 1:01 PM:

    Is the problem really that Romney is a "bad candidate"? I mean, sure, that's part of the problem, but isn't the bigger problem that Romney had to run way to the right to get the Republican nomination, and is now stuck with a bunch of positions that are wildly unpopular with the American public?

    Romney hoped that the economy would be bad enough that he'd be able to pander to the right for months and still win the general election. It turns out the economy is not bad enough for that to happen, so he's losing.

    I'd add that, in general, it is the perception that a campaign is losing that creates a consensus that it is running a "bad campaign." It's completely tautological. Do I think Romney is running a good campaign? No, not really, but I don't think that this post offers any insight at all.

    Barnes's explanation seem to be clearly wrong, but at least they're actual attempts to explain what's going on. "Running a better campaign" is just pure tautology - we know that Obama is running a better campaign because he's winning. If Romney were winning, we would know that he is running a better campaign.

  • Just Guessing on September 15, 2012 1:01 PM:

    Fred Barnes - August 31st 2012.

    "Romney and his advisers believe these 2008 Obama voters, disappointed in the Obama presidency, are coming their way. And Romney and his allies don’t want to do or say anything that might stop the former Obama enthusiasts from becoming Romney voters in 2012. What might? Suggesting they were dumb to back Obama in the first place or demonizing or dissing the president that many of them still like personally.

    It’s a risky strategy. Who knows what might prompt these voters to reverse course and go back to Obama? But polls show that millions of voters are deeply disillusioned about Obama and are Romney’s for the taking, if he doesn’t somehow alienate them.

    Romney has two final tests. The first is to campaign in a way that makes his election possible......"

    I don't suppose Romney continuously dissing the president and campaigning poorly has anything to do with Obama's lead in the polls eh Fred?

  • Amy Fried on September 15, 2012 1:11 PM:

    Part of why Republicans are befuddled is that they see the economy as much worse than other Americans do and they are far more likely to blame Obama rather than Bush for the economy's condition.

    From their perspective, things are worse than in fall 2008 (when the economy was crashing) and Obama is obviously to blame.

    You'd think the Romney campaign would know that activating their base by appealing to these false beliefs is not enough to win the presidency but maybe not.

    Conservative pundits who say Romney needs to lay out policy details overlook the reality that they are quite unpopular. People don't want to slash social insurance programs and the safety net in order to fund more tax cuts. And they sure don't want any more military adventures overseas.

  • Hornblower on September 15, 2012 1:17 PM:

    Fred Barnes a hack and a man of no impotance. The more Romney appears on television the more gaffes he will make. The reason the Republicans are surprised at this point is that they only talk to each other. They have little contact with anyone unlike themselves.

  • gregor on September 15, 2012 1:18 PM:

    Romneybot does not care for statistics, polls, data, facts, morality, and ethics.

    He wants to win, and he will damn well do anything to win.

  • RaflW on September 15, 2012 1:20 PM:

    But, Dick Morris just said on Sept 13th "Now that both conventions are over, the dimensions of the likely Romney triumph are becoming clear." Isn't he da man?? Doesn't he know a winner?

    Err, umm. Yeah.

  • auto world on September 15, 2012 1:24 PM:

    it is the begining not the end and is seen everywhere auto car

  • RaflW on September 15, 2012 1:33 PM:

    @John: It is easy to identify some key campaign mistakes by Romney and their related good moves by Obama. Key in this was Romney failing to do biography messaging early after he sewed up the nomination, but before the convention. Obama siezed on that to take Bain and turn it into a major liability for Romney. That's just one of many instances of poor campaigning by Mitt.
    And the GOP convention, which should have been all Romney's, turned out to be a dud as well as a platform for egos like Chris Christe. And the stunning Eastwood-chair moment.
    So there's plenty of evidence of fail that is common knowledge. I don't think Ben needed to dsc4ibe the obvious to make his point.

  • jimtowndem on September 15, 2012 1:35 PM:

    The more I hear of mittens screwing the pooch on this election and I begin to wonder what is going on. Mittens is not a dummy. To make all the money he did had to take some smarts so what is going on. He had to know a lot about how to game the system on taxes and laws. Or at least had to put together a good team to do that which would require some smarts. So why is he being so stupid in the election.

    He seems to be wasting a whole shit pot of money (not his) on an election that he is basically trying to lose. These statements that he is making seem guaranteed to lose the election, why.

    Has he figured out that if he wins that he is going to be in the spotlight on everything and that might not be a good thing for him. He has always been hiding and secretive in business and I don’t think his ego could take every mistake shown to the world.

    This may have come home to roost and now he is trying to lose the election and make it look like it is not his fault that a lot of money (again not his) was wasted.

    A lot of the blogs say that he is panicking and that is why all the dumb statement or being made. He even came up with a reason for losing the debates. “President Obama will lie about everything” and everyone know that mittens has lock on that scenario so now that’s covered.

    I don’t buy the story that he is panicking, I think it is a deliberate tactic to lose that leaves him some cover.

  • c u n d gulag on September 15, 2012 1:44 PM:

    Sure, Mitt's a very flawed candidate, but if he had a real good team behind him, instead of his Keystone Kops Kampaign staff, he might be better able to pull it off.

    Mitt has fired or let go or downsized or outsourced a hell of a lot of people in his life - except the only ones he should get rid of:
    His Keystone Kops Kampaign staff.

    Oh, and if Obama does win, expect some open riots from the KKKonservatives and White Racists (but, I repeat myself).

    And I'm not talking "Brooks Brothers Riots" - I'm talking Bubba and Bubbette Riots!

  • Freudian slip on September 15, 2012 1:47 PM:

    Sour grapes much, Fred Barnes? What a bunch of baloney.

    Romney is such a scarcely conceivable candidate, with many public incidents of appearing inconsiderate and highly dislikeable.
    It is laughable that he won't be more forthcoming in what he would do as president, and so many have already heard about him ending Medicare, changing Social Security.
    That alone is a big threat to people, and I think voters are paying attention. Talk about red flags going up. These are precious programs upon which almost everyone relies.
    And it reminds people that Romney is rich, and doesn't have to rely on Medicare or Social Security. Plus he has million$ hidden overseas, won't reveal tax return$, is so absurdly evasive.

    What Romney will to "entitlement" programs is related to one's personal economic outlook---shockingly so.
    "The economy" isn't just if you have a job. It is also how you might end up.
    And voters are aware they've paid taxes to get these promised programs. Romney seems to have paid little taxes at all, if any.

    Even with the unrest in the Middle East, in terms of bread and butter issues in this country, the direct threat of a Romney/Ryan presidency is to social programs~~and people, seeing President Obama as a reasonable, composed, intelligent man, will likely count on him to deal with foreign policy issues.

    Afterall, he did get bin ladin.

    And Romney has been campaigning for a long time, endlessly--with that contentious primary, all those debates, and the silly season we've had.
    Plus, he really did not show presidential readiness this week in jump-starting with criticism of the current administration during a crisis. That was widely panned, and continues as such.

    Further, in general, Romney's messages are confusing, his convention uninspiring--and it is especially significant that voters still view President Obama as the one who cares about them.

    And--women have the right to--and want to--control their bodies and their reproductive futures, and Romney and Ryan were exposed in their plans to apply painfully big government to women's lives. Their War on Women is Real.

    They are a couple of hypocrites when you review biographies and voting records.

  • bdop4 on September 15, 2012 1:49 PM:

    An Obama reelection is only one variable in the equation. We need to push the momentum down ticket. Republicans have shown there is nothing they won't do to obstruct Democratic policy. They have to be taken out as a variable, or very little will be achieved.

    Every GOP candidate needs to be firmly tied to their extremist party platform and made to answer for it. If they pull a Romney and don't respond, then the only conclusion is that they approve it.

  • kyraDC on September 15, 2012 1:56 PM:

    I do believe that's the problem, the Rethuglicans have become the party of projection, blaming you & accusing you of everything they do, see Romney accuse Obama of lying?? They no longer take responsibility for anything, it's pretend W didn't destroy the economy & the deficit instead they try to put it all on Obama then obstruct Obama to make him fail then they put up for candidate the poster child for what destroyed the economy in the first place & then some, a man with bank accounts in foreign countries & shipping jobs overseas all that's wrong with the economy, to boot. Then his trickle down eonomics plan & no regulations is what got us here?? How are voter to accpect that & have amnesia about W at the same time? There's only so much stupidity American voters can be expected to have. We may be stupid after all the GOP education cuts but we're not brain damaged.

  • TCinLA on September 15, 2012 1:56 PM:

    Romney's defeat will, of course, be taken as a sign that the Republicans failed to be "conservative enough", since they know that the avarage American voter is a True Conservative who is waiting for a True Conservative Candidate and will keep punishing the Republicans by voting for a Democrat until they learn their lesson and nominate that True Conservative who will be America's Messiah.

    And the fundamentalist fascist fuckwits over at the Nuremberg Party Rally, e3r, I mean the Values Voter Summit have already announced they are ready to Save The Party when this coming failure happens.

  • JC101 on September 15, 2012 2:08 PM:

    To say Romney's message is confusing is an understatement. For example, an embassy employee under attack puts out a statement condemning religious hate & Romney attacks that? This man is insane, then the State Dept said to put a stronger statement condemning the anti religion hate over the one put out but Romney attacks the victim & supports religious hate, and he's a Mormon? The man's nuts.

  • KyraDC on September 15, 2012 2:18 PM:

    I do believe that's the problem, the Rethuglicans have become the party of projection, as in blaming you & accusing you of everything they do.. see Romney accuse Obama of lying??
    They no longer take responsibility for anything, it's pretend W didn't destroy the economy & the deficit. Instead they try to put it all on Obama, then they obstruct Obama to make him fail.. then they put up for candidate the poster child for what destroyed the economy in the first place & then some-- a man with bank accounts in foreign countries & a history of shipping jobs overseas--all that's wrong with the economy, to boot. Then his trickle down economics plan & no regulations is what got us here, but trust him this time it'll work, really?? How are voters suppose to accept that & have amnesia about W at the same time?
    There's only so much stupidity American voters can be expected to have. We may be stupid after decades of GOP education cuts but we're not brain damaged.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on September 15, 2012 2:19 PM:

    @John on September 15, 2012 1:01 PM:

    I like your post a lot, because I like it when anyone questions tautology. Nevertheless, there are some reasons why Romney has run a bad campaign that Jacobs might be taking for granted. Of course the last flip-out over Libya is a dramatic incident suggestive of a lack of focus, but it's emblematic of a broader strategy: Seize on something Obama said out of context, cobble it together with false narratives about Obama echoing around the right wing, and lie if the out-of-context quote doesn't fit in the narrative. It's a gamble that there's no level of mendacity the media won't detect and that the public won't fall for.

    That said, the interesting question is whether any other strategy could have done any better. Romney certainly couldn't have won the nomination without joining the Looney Right. He could have jettisoned all of that at some point, but it would need to be after the convention to avoid a revolt, and that leaves very little time to pivot, making him look totally unprincipled.

    And even if this had been a great strategy, Romney's execution leaves a lot to be desired. The RNC, where they have total control of the messaging, was a disaster. The Eastwood sketch alone should bring home the point that no one's really running things.

    I think Romney's candidacy is maybe 2/3 a product of the perverse state of the Teapublicans and 1/3 a product of Romney's poor management.

  • golack on September 15, 2012 2:33 PM:

    Blame the candidate and not the ideology???

    Blame the democrats for Bush's and the POG's epic fail?

    Talk about your spoiled brats...

  • Daddy Love on September 15, 2012 2:33 PM:

    Romney is winning in the world they live in. That's just not our world.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on September 15, 2012 2:36 PM:

    I do wonder how someone like Huntsman, bland but plausibly moderate, would have done against Obama. If he had eschewed the Grover Norquist silliness and run on an economic platform just a bit to the right of Obama -- ask the super-rich to pay a little more, but not that much more -- I suspect the Republicans could have retaken the White House.

    Of course the Republican base would rather lose with purity than win with compromise, so that was never going to happen.

  • AbijahL on September 15, 2012 2:46 PM:

    They needed someone the far right could trust, but who could put on a blander and more moderate face like W. Instead they had Mitt and a bunch of clowns in the primary. Jeb would have been more likely to succeed except for his last name problem. There are rumors that he may have had a zipper problem too, but R sinners are readily forgiven.

  • T2 on September 15, 2012 2:54 PM:

    Soon we'll start to hear how the Debates will be Mitt's last chance. The problem with that is that it seems the more people see Mitt, watch his robot-like manner and absorb his complete lack of substance on any issue, the less they like him. So even if the Media declares the debates "a draw", I'm betting the public won't see it that way. I mean, if Obama says " tell us Mitt, how does one go about amassing 100 million dollars in an IRA account? I'm sure most Americans would like to do that too"..........all Mitt will say is "hey, you murdered the Libyan ambassador"

  • drew on September 15, 2012 3:00 PM:

    Romney loses because he has no core, no moral compass. Cheers! VOTE!l

  • SamNYC on September 15, 2012 3:08 PM:

    RogertheCabinBoy & RepubAnon are correct

  • Just Guessing on September 15, 2012 3:12 PM:

    It appears that Mitt's only strategy from day one was to blame Obama. In the primaries he came off looking reasonably sane compared to the other wing-nuts that were running but after the conventions it became quite clear that actually running against the President, as opposed to just running for president was a much more difficult task because many independents and fence-sitters could quite easily compare their abilities.

    So to the extent that Romney's campaign can be criticized, he's been executing it quite well at every moment, even this week over Libya, i.e. attack Obama. But what he got wrong, and even Fred Barnes felt it was risky, is that this messaging isn't working and it doesn't seem that his campaign management can come with any other viable options that will work at this late stage. And when I say viable, I mean that makes him look bigger and more presidential, rather than him currently shrinking every moment he says something.

    And do I also blame Romney? Hell yeah. The fact that he comes across as an arrogant turd probably means he is. He has totally misjudged his opponent and the mood of a large majority of the country that still clearly remembers the results from the last arrogant, out of touch, turd that occupied the White House.

  • DRF on September 15, 2012 3:14 PM:

    If and when Obama wins, and the Republicans start casting about to blame someone-probably Romney, let's remember a few things: Yes, Romney is a bad candidate, but he was, after all, the best candidate the GOP fielded this year. All of the other candidates were basically clowns, with no national appeal or support, and certainly no support beyond a relatively small fringe of the country.

    Those experienced Republicans who might have successfully appealed to the centrist part of the public were too smart to run this year. First, they knew that running against a reasonably popular incumbent was a bad bet. Second, and most important, they knew that trying to straddle the increasingly greater gulf between the Republican base and the independent/moderate center was impossible.

    Yes, Romney is a bad candidate. But this year, there was none better among the Republicans.

  • PA DEM on September 15, 2012 3:15 PM:

    Best two comments on the entire web:

    "A Romney presidency would 1.) Cut taxes for the rich; 2.) Start a war with Iran; 3.) Lead the USA right back to the edge of the cliff where the Bush Cabal left us in 2008; and 4.) Toss our nation over the precipice to ruination and total collapse."

    "And then in the second week, privatize social security, end medicare and medicaid."

  • Doug on September 15, 2012 3:26 PM:

    I suppose something COULD occur that let Romney scrape out a win, but at this point I haven't a clue what that would be.
    Here's a question that may be relevant: Has there ever been a Presidential campaign based on continuous, unending, out-and-out falsehoods? Lies about taxes, foreign affairs, lies about the candidates', and party's, position on civil rights; it just goes on and on and on. It's gotten so bad the MSM can't even provide cover with the old "both sides do it"!
    I may be wrong, but I have the impression that the tactic used by Romney to win the nomination was to defeat each opponent separately. First Santorum, then Perry, then Gingrich and finally Ron Paul; more accurately, Paul's supporters in various state delegations. Romney got his nomination by using his money to drown his opponents in negative political ads; he was, literally, the last man standing.
    The trouble appears to have developed because of two, possibly more, factors. One is that Romney does NOT represent the "base" and, in order to prove himself to them, has had to continually throw red meat to them to keep them in his corner. However, every gobbet of political flesh Romney dispenses to the "base" not only solidifies his opponents, but risks alienating those few voters who haven't yet made their decision on whom to vote for.
    The other problem is what I mentioned in my second paragraph; the lies, the obfuscations, the flip-flopping on every policy. During the primaries a lot of that could be covered up or drowned out with tons of cash; that's not possible in a national campaign - no matter hard hard R/R try. Romney HAS to hide what the base wants because if the campaign is run on THAT, he'll lose. At the very same time, if Romney DOESN'T run on what the base wants he'll lose. Which leads to his lies about what he supports and will do as President followed by outrageous actions such as last Tuesday's to shore up his base. Awwww, poor Mitt.
    Couldn't happen to a nicer rat...

  • PTate in MN on September 15, 2012 3:32 PM:

    "Obama isn't going to win because the press is in the tank for him or because of conspiracy among pollsters. Right now, Obama is running a much better campaign and Romney has not been a very good candidate."

    My opinion of the average American voter is not very high and given the $$$ poured into a right-wing misinformation campaign and suppressing the vote, I won't be confident that Obama is going to win until after the election.

    That said, if the Republicans lose, it is not because Romney is a bad campaigner. Jeez, the Republicans are running against an Obama that only they can see, and they embrace economic, social and foreign policies that have proven disastrous for average Americans. Republicans are not befuddled because they so stunned by the possibility that they could lose this election. Republicans are befuddled, period. And befuddled is a gentle term. Delusional, mean-spirited and incompetent are other apt descriptors. We need to get these people out of every level of government.

  • j on September 15, 2012 5:10 PM:

    In 2011 the repubs were denying Obama money to aid Libya,
    they want to destroy his presidency so bad they can taste it. Could Romney's new statement condemning the video be anything to do with the fact that the same film makers also do anti mormon videos, did he just di8scover that fact?
    The repubs are saying there should be more security for embassies around the world, so why are they cutting 129 billion from the embassy security budget?

  • Anonymous on September 15, 2012 5:36 PM:

    Equal Opportunity Cynic - I certainly wouldn't argue that Romney has run a good campaign, and certainly there are moments that seem to bear out the idea that he's run a bad campaign. But nobody would be talking about that if he was winning. And if Obama was losing, I'm sure we'd be seeing stories about all the huge mistakes his campaign has made.

    I guess I have a hard time seeing the point of a post which attacks Fred Barnes for not paying enough attention to horse race bullshit. Aren't there much better grounds to attack Fred Barnes on? Or, ideally, why should we be wasting our time responding to Fred Barnes in the first place?

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on September 15, 2012 7:12 PM:

    Anonymous (John?) -- That's why I say I love your line of reasoning. You're correct -- human nature is to write the narrative after we have the results and make the results seem inevitable, like the quarterback who just didn't have what it took to win after some gust of wind blew his game-winning pass out of the receivers hands.

    I think there are salient decisions that could have led to a better Romney campaign. I don't know if they would have won, because:

    (1)Any GOP nominee would be in an absolute straitjacket because of their lunatic base, so the only options would be to move back to the center and piss off the base or to obfuscate and try to the extremist policy positions from the public. Obviously Romney has opted for the second option. Perhaps a more courageous candidate could succeed with the first. (Note that the first option is how Democratic candidates usually operate. Obama rightly figured that he didn't need to worry about losing extreme progressives' votes.)

    (2) The GOP has implemented their dystopic vision of money-driven campaigns. They got Romney, a rich and well-connected man, because he blasted negative ads, not because the public really thought he was well-suited to a general election. Sadly for them, the same rules don't apply in a general election against an incumbent.

    Like I said, I think the Repubs' problem is 2/3 structural and 1/3 down to Romney. A better candidate facing the same constraints might not beat Obama.

  • lgerard on September 15, 2012 8:00 PM:

    The fault lies not in their stars, but in themselves

    fred would never get that

  • Mimikatz on September 15, 2012 8:48 PM:

    Mitt was apparently good at gaming the tax laws and hollowing out companies, but he has no idea, really, about politics, about connecting with voters and offering a vision. Plus, he is very, very confident in his own abilities, much more so even than GWBush. He has surrounded himself with consultants who aren't very good and who reinforce Mitt's bullying instincts, like Eric Fernatrom. He has no idea they aren't very good because they support his (bad) ideas. And he lacks one of the most important things in a campaign, someone he trusts who can tell him when he is going in the wrong direction, making an ass of himself and just generally full of bs. No one talks back to the CEO. These are reasons why he's losing. That, and he is a robotic campaigner with no there there, a hollow man.

    And yes, he was the best they had to offer. Sad and pathetic, to quote the RNC chair.

  • c00p on September 15, 2012 9:50 PM:

    I'm with gregor: Romney displays no evidence of any ethical structure, any morality, despite his much-ballyhooed tithing, etc. He is a bad candidate--patently dishonest (that is, a bad liar) instead of slyly and cleverly dishonest; obviously evasive on policy proposals and his own past (i.e. those pesky IRS returns) instead of divertingly evasive.

  • freudian slip on September 15, 2012 10:01 PM:

    Mitt is unsteady, variable, reversible, modifiable, and annoyingly erratic in all things. Robotic and inauthentic.
    His foreign policy credentials don't exist; dealings are limited to his business overseas. He showed he was no diplomat in England or Israel, and was roundly ridiculed. Mitt's already upset Russia with provocative insults, and China with inflammatory statements.
    As to London, perhaps is is true that traveling is a fool's paradise. Who said that--Emerson?
    Mitt fanned the flames of the critical happenings in the Middle East without a coordinated diplomatic statement-- simply to satisfy the right wingers' need to treat President Obama with contempt.
    Paul Ryan insults our intelligence saying that said his foreign policy experience is voting men and women into war. As if that was sufficient.
    Both of them are comfortable lying despite a check of true facts. It's character:

    good link: http://prospect.org/article/mitt-romneys-character-problem

  • Detersmom on September 15, 2012 10:07 PM:

    Sure, he'll say Obama caused the MidEast problem..and Obama will say but somehow I didn't kill Bin Laden right? Mittens dead in the water.
    The reason Mittens is losing are his myriad contradictions.

  • Kathryn on September 15, 2012 10:12 PM:

    @Mimikatz....good post, his arrogance is so ingrained in his personality that it appears he did little or nothing since he declared his 2012 run in the way of reading, learning or preparing to be the president of the Unied States. In fact, we voters should be damn grateful, he and lady Ann are willing to be our president and first lady.

    Suggest all read Michael Lewis article on President Obama in Vanity Fair, remarkable article and remarkable president. Read about his deliberations on the Libya intervention and then imagine Romney in the Oval office. It will make your blood run cold.

  • bluestatedon on September 15, 2012 10:22 PM:

    I think one fundamental reason the election is where it stands at the moment is that Mitt Romney is the most maladroit politician to receive a major party nomination since 1964, with no retail political talent whatsoever. He cannot go a single week without stepping on his dick in some way. If he's not insulting the cookies at a campaign event, he's insulting NASCAR fans for their rainwear. If he's not insulting his London hosts' abilities to put on the Olympic games, he's saying the trees are the right height in Michigan. When you look back on the campaign so far, it's a mind-boggling list already of goofs, gaffes, shambling, stumbling, and brazen lies so ridiculous that he's incurred the open contempt of major media outlets from Los Angeles to Boston, including a number of die-hard Republicans. And we still have almost two months to go.

    What it comes down to is that Barack Obama's secret weapon against Mitt Romney is Mitt Romney.

  • KenBarr on September 15, 2012 10:37 PM:

    Republicans are running aginst an Obama rational people in the real world don't see but their voter suppression is falling apart. PA's the only problem but will likely be delayed or struck down, too extreme. But Obama's leading by 11 points so suppression can only do so much. Obama's leads are widening in several key states & DDemocrats are fired up for Obama but Republicans only interested in defeating Obama not electing Mitt. Rush said he might as well be Elmer Fudd. Ouch. He'll lie, be nervous & embarrass himself at the debates. He'll spend a lot of money but so will Obama.
    In June I was worried about Obama, his ads sucked, made no real impact then they latched on to Bain & more positive ads & they've just been killing it with their ads on substance. There's only so much negative ads can do against a likable incumbent. I do believe Obama will win, in spite of all their dirty tricks and obvious lies.
    Had it been Huntsman, I do think he could have won, just by being moderate or acting like he was W. Mitt acts, way more extreme than W. The inappropriate smirks and robotic look don't help either.

  • cld on September 15, 2012 11:07 PM:

    Let us not count our chickens before they're hatched, please.

  • Mike1776 on September 15, 2012 11:16 PM:

    Yes, the Death Spiral of the Romney / Lyin' Ryan ticket is well under way.

    First of all, they have lied so much, so unscrupulously and so transparently that hardly anyone now believes a word they say.

    Second -- they have no clear proposals, except more tax cuts for the very rich (Romney will pay 1% or so instead of 13.9%, on an income of about $20 million).

    Third, if there was an Olympic Gold Medal for flip flopping, Romney would win it hands-down. First Romney introduces a heath plan very, very similar to Obamacare in Massachusetts. Then we're asked to forget all that, and believe that Obamacare is "communism"; and the Republicans will repeal it. Now Romney says he won't repeal Obamacare 100%, but will keep a lot of it. Then Romney's "handlers" deny that. Utter chaos and lying incompetence.

  • bluestatedon on September 16, 2012 1:35 AM:

    If Romney was true to his inner instincts—which I believe are moderate like his father's were—he would have become a moderate-to-conservative Democrat over a decade ago when it became blindingly clear that the GOP was rapidly being taken over by ignorant reactionary Christianists. But he stayed a Republican, which means he's had to transform himself into a completely fake "severe conservative" who's pathetically eager to pander to whatever wingnut audience is in front of him. The joke is on him, because even the wingnuts can tell he's not really one of them.

  • Varecia on September 16, 2012 2:21 AM:

    A word of caution: mentally, this is a dangerous place to be in, thinking that it's looking like Obama will win. We all want to be optimistic, but I find it better to not let myself really go there. Just keep volunteering your time to the campaign!!!!!!

  • Rick B on September 16, 2012 8:37 AM:

    Mitt Romney is running a poor campaign because he is using traditional conservative hierarchical management methods. Those operate best in slowly changing societies. He set a strategy in place back during the primaries - run against the poor economy and depend on the House and Senate Republicans to paralyze the federal government whenever it considered legislation that would increase the available jobs. Don't expose the true goals of his conservative party when they regain power.

    Once the strategy was in place he hired his staff to implement it. Romney's only job in that strategy was to give speeches and to display his prowess as a super wealthy businessman. He has also chosen the people who would run the various elements of his campaign and let them run their fiefdoms mostly independently. [This was also G. W. Bush's approach to managing the White House. It is conservative management theory.]

    Part of the weakness is the poor staff work. Romney does not know how to select, train or operate a staff to permit rapid adaptation to changed conditions. Why should he? Conservatives depend on tradition and consistency, not on adaptation. They operate as small personal groups built around individual leaders rather than as large adaptive organizations which can deal rapidly with changing situations.

    A vulture capitalist operates on the financial statements of the companies they prey on, not on the actual operations the companies perform. It is financial management in which actual operations are dealt with at lower levels of management. It also depends on organizations that operate based on tradition and on rigid laws and rules.

    Compare this to the Obama 'Chicago' team which is a well-organized, trained, experienced, and fully functioning modern staff which is receiving fantastic intelligence and adapting to the latest changes.

    The conservatives simply are not ideologically capable of operating in rapidly changing social situations. They don't have the necessary central controls. If they did have those central controls they would be Democrats.

  • Rick B on September 16, 2012 9:33 AM:

    @Equal Opportunity Cynic 2:36 PM

    Either Huntsman or Pawlenty could have run the moderate slightly to the right of Obama campaign you describe. Neither could have gotten the evangelicals to turn out to vote because they are absolutists. Moderates will not get their votes. Look at the clowns that Romney ran against in the primaries. Manichean thinkers all.

    Also, moderate Republicans could not have appealed to the ultra-wealthy like the Koch brothers or Adelson. Romney courted those guys and they starved moderate Republicans in the run up to the primaries.

    I seriously doubt that any Republican candidate who could not turn out the right-wing money people together with the evangelicals and dominionists could have gotten the nomination this year. That's why McCain had to choose Palin over Lieberman. The same internal party mechanics limits who they can put up for the election, and no one who meets those key requirements appears capable of running a large and extremely geographically diverse organization in the rough-and-tumble of the actual election.

    @AbijahL 2:46 PM is also correct.

    @drew 3:00 PM: Oh, Romney has a core and moral compass. But it is totally based on his religion. He is a top religious leader in the Mormon Church. If his in-depth religion was widely known he would have no more chance of getting elected than a Roman Catholic Bishop would. He can't display any of his core beliefs and win election. Then too, his moral compass is the moral compass of the son of a wealthy powerful man, much like G. W. Bush. He didn't earn his status; he was born to it and inherited it.

    Romney has so many negative qualities that the voters would reject if they knew of them that it is no surprise that he comes off as being without any core beliefs and morals. He simply cannot expose his true beliefs and win election.

  • Rick B on September 16, 2012 10:18 AM:

    This has been a great set of comments. They certainly got me to thinking.

    @c00p 9:50 PM:

    I think that in hindsight we are going to see that Romney is an old-style candidate facing a whole new electoral world. He's adapting badly - as should be expected from conservatives.

    Romney started running for President at least a decade ago when politics as very different. Many of the things he planned to run on ceased to be effective political strengths, particularly outside the hothouse of the conservative Republican Party. His financial success should have been a great strength, but the Obama camp has exposed the despicable tactics it was based on. (Romney had no clue.)

    Romney has been left by the changes with nothing except lies and money to base his candidacy on. Again, a decade ago that would have been enough in the current economic situation. Now it's not. Romney is a transitional candidate with limited abilities to deal with new situations.

    @bluestatedon on September 16, 2012 1:35 AM:

    Romney couldn't switch to being a Democrat. He is a wealthy aristocratic individual from an evangelical religion with a career as an authoritarian manager of a small firm. Class and status are more important to him than accepting equality and diversity, especially from the lower classes. He was born into Mormon "royalty" much as John McCain was born into Navy "royalty."

    Romney simply could not have succeeded in politics in the Democratic Party. He had neither the personality nor did he have the bases of support that would have let him dominate other Democrats.

  • James M on September 16, 2012 12:07 PM:

    As Rick B stated above, great posts! However, my personal winner would be bluestatedon:

    @bluestatedon on September 15, 2012 10:22 PM:

    "I think one fundamental reason the election is where it stands at the moment is that Mitt Romney is the most maladroit politician to receive a major party nomination since 1964, with no retail political talent whatsoever. He cannot go a single week without stepping on his dick in some way. If he's not insulting the cookies at a campaign event, he's insulting NASCAR fans for their rainwear."

    I couldn't agree more. Mitt Romney may be the worst candidate for a major political office I have ever seen. The more people see him the less they like him. Plus, given that he seems to lack any empathy, compassion or normal sense of humor, the more he speaks the more mistakes he is guaranteed to make.

    It became clear to me weeks ago that Mitt Romney only had 2 chances to win:

    1. Eurozone meltdown
    2. Israel attack on Iran*

    Given that the Eurozone meltdown seems to have been at least temporarily averted, 'BiBi' Netanyahu is now Mr. Romney's last hope. Ironic that this election has somehow come down to foreign policy, but it is real risk and one we shouldn't take lightly.

  • AndrewBW on September 16, 2012 9:20 PM:

    From the very beginning of this thing it has been my firm belief that barring a crisis of practically world-historic proportions there is simply no way anyone could stand Mitt Romney and Barack Obama next to each other and honestly argue that Mitt Romney is the better man. He's not and it should be obvious to anyone with eyes to see.

  • SaveUSA on September 19, 2012 4:23 PM:

    The Romney death spiral will begin if he is elected. War with Iran, cuts in health care, increased pollution, etc.

  • Julie Hensley on October 08, 2012 8:43 AM:

    Well, regardless of the reasons, Romney has emerged from his death spiral and all the ensuing possibilities are at play. I agree with the prior comments reflecting his ability and the quality of his Presidency and hope that everyone is making an effort to stem the tide. I am in the Southwestern corner of Virginia, need I say, a battleground state, and Mr. Romney is trending very comfortably partly because the locals were never comfortable with Mr. Obama. While I've heard very little in regards to birther statements, these coal miners hold Mr. Obama responsible for the slow demise of their industry via EPA regulations (which is not the whole story by a long shot but they won't believe it), they also have a strong undercurrent in racism which is understandably difficulty to measure. Nevertheless, things are tightening up in Virginia and Florida is now a tossup. North Carolina is thought to be in the bag for Romney and as anticipated, it will all come down to Ohio.