Contra Dick Morris, Mitt Romney is not winning this election. At least Mitt Romney is not winning the election right now. Conservatives are obsessing over every poll, the turn out models used, and the media bias that is on ful display. Yes, some of the polling models seem screwy, though we all forget the pollsters apply a secret sauce known only to them on top. Yes, reporters are fully beclowning themselves to get their god-king re-elected. But while we may be focused there, the fact is the Romney campaign isn’t functioning well. Lucky for you and me the election is not today. But something needs to happen in Boston and I am less and less hopeful anything will happen.
It would be easy to dismiss me by saying I never cared for Romney or I’m somehow actually rooting against him. So let me put it to you this way: Jenn Rubin and I are on the same page. That’s either a sign of the apocalypse or there is something really dysfunctional happening within the Romney campaign.
Having refused to get on the “campaign shake up” bandwagon when Rupert Murdoch and Jack Welch were claiming a shake up needed to happen, count me in now. Like it or not, spin it or not, put your head in the sand or not, attack me as the messenger or not, the very simple truth is that Mitt Romney has failed to close any deal with the voters and his message is so muddled no voter really knows what they are getting.
Consider last Friday’s economic news. The Romney campaign has let every North African nation distract them from reminding voters of that data. Even the North African mess has rendered the Romney campaign a rudderless messaging mess. His message is not selling. His ads are not very good. He has hundreds of staffers in Boston and I’m guessing too many cooks in the kitchen.
Several weeks ago, based on conversations with people more attuned to Team Romney than myself, I suggested Stu Stevens might be in over his head or too busy selling himself to sell Mitt Romney. In the past few weeks, I’ve confirmed that more and more Republican donors are also concerned with Stu Stevens.
I don’t know the man, but that people knowledgable about the situation suggest he is a problem means there is either infighting and some of Team Romney is out to get Stevens or Stevens is a real problem. Considering the New Republic’s flattering profile of Stevens during campaign season, I’m going with him being the problem. I have a general rule to never trust consultants who sit for fawning profiles while trying to get a candidate elected.
Regardless, Team Romney seems so scared of being more unliked than he is already is that they refuse to actually pound a consistent, hard hitting message. Negatives be damned, his message is too muddled for voters to be anything other than confused. Voters have been subjected to two straight Presidential campaign seasons where Romney’s opponents have hit him for being inconsistent and now he is … well … too muddled up to look consistent. If you are going to beat the incumbent, you must convince voters you’ll be a steady, consistent hand or they really will go with the status quo knowing at least they can plan around the guy they already know.
There is time for Mitt Romney to close the deal. But he can’t close the deal with a schizophrenic campaign message. If he’s afraid of being more unliked than he already is, he might as well let Paul Ryan be the lead. Because the status quo for Team Romney is not working. That is just a fact and we might as well accept it instead of screaming at everything else trying not to make eye contact with that fact.