A couple of bloggers that I respect deeply are seeing signs of panic and desperation from the Republicans and the Romney campaign.
Anyone else getting the first whiffs of panic on the Republican side? Odd thing, though. I’m seeing plenty of resignation, too. I mean, I don’t think Ohio Governor John Kasich really gives two craps whether Romney wins or loses, and he really should be a little more concerned. But then I remember that George Will wrote off Romney’s chances at the beginning of March.
I’m reluctant to use the word “flailing” because the race remains very close, but for over a year, Mitt Romney has invested time and energy in telling Americans he’s a competent, corporate turn-around artist who’ll create jobs. Over the weekend, he was reduced to, “I will not take ‘God’ off our coins.”
It seems as if the guy no longer knows what he wants to say to the nation, so if he keeps coming with new lines, maybe one of them will eventually resonate. I’m not a campaign strategist, but it seems to me the time for this kind of message experimentation was mid-September 2011, not mid-September 2012.
This sort of grasping-at-nutsery usually sets in much later in a campaign when all of the insiders start making plans to look for work after the election and toss the apartment guides to the Washington area that they’ve been scanning. George H.W. Bush railed against Bill Clinton and Al Gore’s foreign policy experience — “My dog Millie knows more about foreign policy than those two bozos!” — when it was clear that he was not catching up in 1992, but that was in October. Here we have Mitt Romney already in the weeds of whackery, and Paul Ryan is telling us that because he once voted to send troops to war, he has more foreign policy experience than Barack Obama did when he ran. (For some reason, Mr. Romney is reluctant to bring up his dog while on the stump. Go figure.)
I’m not superstitious, but why take the chance. It is still way too early to call the race; how many times have the Tigers been five runs ahead in the third inning only to lose? But when you are seeing this kind of scatter-shot campaigning at this point, you have to wonder who is controlling the message. Certainly the Romney people did not plan this, because if they did, it’s not exactly the kind of leadership you want to have running the campaign, much less the country.