Why is Mitt Romney not winning? He should be - his background is perfect - proven business man (Bain), proven state leader (Gov. MA), proven repairer of things gone bad (Olympics). On top of this, he’s a good person - faithful to his family, committed to his community, strong moral foundation, etc.
And yet the incumbent who has presided over the largest national debt in history, middling economic performance, difficult times internationally, massive unemployment, and has Hussein for a middle name is preferred.
Is it because Mitt is so far up the ivory tower that he simply doesn’t connect to “regular” people? Is it because his plans are ambiguous? Is it because he equivocates too much? I don’t think it’s any of this. Compare Romney to W. Bush, and you don’t see major differences (President Bush never equivocated; but he was perceived as a bumbling idiot, no-one will accuse Romney of being an idiot so that evens out).
President Bush won because he sparked fear in his constituency. He (and Karl Rove) polarized their base against Gore (and Liberals) to the point where its fervency was so strong, it bled to the center to make the election very close. The Florida debacle did tip the balance, but fear made it close enough for Florida to matter.
In 2008, candidate Obama won because he caused people who had never done so to vote; his rhetoric combined with the absurdity of Palin assured a win. That fervor abated by 2010, allowing the Tea Party to take control of the Republican machine and dominate the House.
Over the last year, Tea Party fervor has abated some (abysmal Primary candidates), and while they still have a hold on Party policy, they are not controlling the campaign dialogue.
Here’s the problem - Team Romney (despite the best efforts of the FoxNews whackos) has not been able to spark enough fear in the base. Potential wedgies:
- Economy - everyone is resigned to a crappy economy; the EU crisis and China’s strength have taken their toll. No-one believes either side can really do much.
- Unemployment - no one believes either candidate’s claims that they can fix this, also a wash.
- Foreign Policy - as much as the media cares about this, most Americans just don’t.
- Redistribution - what crap! A society can't exist without redistribution; Romney has already said wealthier Americans should get a smaller Medicare benefit.
- Obamacare - well... sucks that Romney implemented 1.0.
- Terrorism - whatever - we’ve all got terror fatigue.
- Obama the Socialist - those who believe this are already voting Republican - the rest don’t see it as real or a big enough threat.
- Obama the Muslim - he’s been President for four years, and no-one’s singing the call to prayers from the White House balcony.
See what I mean? The fanatical Left and fanatical Right will vote for whomever their Party nominates - that’s a given. But this leaves Romney way short.
The “issues” aren’t scary enough, and no amount of Hannity/O’Reilly spin can change that. The tried and true Karl Rove strategy is failing despite the money they’ve raised and the vitriol they are spouting.
Romney could ask Grover Norquist to have every Republican candidate sign a pledge promising to cooperate with a Romney White House; it’s hard to imagine that happening, but it might be the one legitimate opportunity to one-up Obama... But then again, people hate Congress.
So, short of Romney so flustering Obama during the debates that he admits to being a closet Muslim who intends to give Palestine nukes, the Democrats have fallen into the good fortune of a country so resigned to its fate that it can’t be scared into voting for Change.