WASHINGTON, May 4, 2012 — It should be easy to snatch the White House away from President Obama. This should be the year of the Elephant.
The economy is stalled and always in danger of slipping into another abyss. The President’s approval rating puts him at about even, 47.9 % of the public approves and 47.6 % disapprove of his presidency, according to Real Clear Politics, which averages all the polls out there from Fox and Rasmussen to Gallup and CBS News.
Only Presidents Bush 41 and Carter had lower approvals at this point in their re-election bids. Not great numbers for an incumbent. Add to the negative mix the jobless rate, which still hovers at a disappointing 8.1 %, making the election year slogan, “It’s the jobs, Stupid” still viable.
So why isn’t Mitt Romney doing better? Why isn’t he the Golden Boy this year? Why is he apt to lose?
1. Romney is a radical capitalist, not just a capitalist or a venture capitalist, but a radical capitalist.
His victory speech after his latest wins in April was most revealing. He proclaimed a free America where people can pursue happiness “in their own unique ways, create enterprises that employ more and more Americans.” Translation: no pesky regulations. You know the ones: the government says you can’t sell tainted food, it requires safety on the work site, or it tell banks they can’t bamboozle their customers.
Romney’s America is where a company like Bain Capital, which Romney headed up for 15 years, can cause 22 % of the businesses he took over to end in bankruptcy, while putting thousands of workers out of jobs or shipping those jobs overseas. He became rich doing so, very rich, as others ended up on unemployment lines.
Then he has the moxie to say in the same victory speech, “… education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded. And poverty will be defeated, not with a government check, but with respect and achievement that is taught by parents, learned in school, and practiced in the workplace.”
In other words, those of you on unemployment actually just want a government handout. And if you fell on hard times, that’s because you didn’t live within your means and work hard enough. This he tells the American people even as their incomes stagnate and jobs head overseas, thanks to companies like Bain.
2. Not only is Romney out of touch, he lacks the common touch.
Not unlike President George H. W. Bush who didn’t know what a price scanner was when he bought some socks, Mitt doesn’t get what it means to be laid off. Earlier in the campaign, he told some unemployed Americans that he was out of work too. However, you can bet the people sitting around that table didn’t have a nearly $250 billion portfolio in blind trust to cushion their lives. Yet this was said by a man, who even then, was putting the finishing touches on his MacMansion in California by installing an elevator in his garage for his four cars. Think about the people who need an elevator to go upstairs, but instead make do, sleeping downstairs in the dining room.
Then there is a the lack of graciousness as exhibited in Pittsburg where he insulted the city’s famous Bethel Bakery by taking a bite of the cookie offered him and dismissing it by saying, “I am not sure about these cookies. They came from the local 7-Eleven bakery or whatever.”
The fact that these cookies are “sacred totems” in Pittsburgh is beside the point (although there is little doubt now that he won’t carry Pittsburgh). What he should have done was take a bite, say, “Yummy.” And then “Thank you.” That simple. That gracious.
But that does not come naturally to Mitt Romney. Can you imagine Obama dissing the cookies, no matter who baked them?
Then there’s Ann Romney’s $990 designer, silk T-shirt that she wore the other day to the CBS “This Morning” interview.
How many Wal-Mart T-shirts would a $1000 buy for the average American woman?
3. Romney was painted into a corner by Right Wing.
Now the only way to get out of that corner is to walk through the wet paint to the center of the room. A messy process to be sure and he will leave footprints.
Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich pushed hard Right during the Primary and not to be outdone, Mitt swerved Right as well. He was not about to let Rick and Newt outmaneuver him in this Indie 500. He, as he told CPAC, earlier this year is a “severe Conservative,” whatever that means.
But now Romney moves onto the general election, where he needs to moderate his rhetoric, but how does he do that when he joined in the contraception wars and supports Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget that savages the middle and working classes?
The flapadoodle over the resignation of Romney’s foreign policy expert, Richard (Ric) Grenell, who was forced out by Christian conservatives because he is gay, is the latest mess that Mitt finds himself in. As Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association tweeted his followers: “If personnel is policy, his [Romney] message to the pro-family community: drop dead.”
Even the National Review’s Matthew J. Francke wrote “Whatever fine record he compiled in the Bush administration, Grenell is more passionate about same-sex marriage than anything else. So here’s a thought experiment: Suppose Barack Obama comes out — as Grenell wishes he would — in favor of same-sex marriage in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. How fast and how publicly will Richard Grenell decamp from Romney to Obama?”
You can already see the sticky footprints Romney is leaving as he tries to head for the middle of the room. Perhaps he should be looking for an exit.
4. Mitt Romney was bloodied by the Primary, even though he tilted Right without toppling over.
After running the gauntlet of the GOP primary, you would think Republicans would say, “OK, Mitt got the nomination, now let’s start working for our guy.” However, no matter how hard Romney tries, he can’t get Republican voters to like him, much less love him, or even fall in line.
Many Republicans worry, is Romney the Etch A Sketch man that Gingrich portrayed, ready to erase his previous policy decisions? Will he flip and flop to make himself sellable to the moderates and Independents? Is he going to be Pretzel Man, twisting himself into whatever political persona a focus group wants? Simply put, the conservative base doesn’t trust him.
So what can Mitt to do to assuage their fears? Maybe pick a vice president whom they can trust. The May 3 Reuters-Ipsos poll asked that very question of Republicans and their first choice for VP is Rick Santorum. If Romney is stupid enough to pick Santorum as his VP, it would be the kiss of death in this election. But you never know how desperate Romney may be.
5. Women don’t care for Romney or his policies.
The recent Wall Street Journal/NBC survey shows that Mitt Romney is facing not just a gender gap, but a gender gorge that even Evel Knievel could not soar across, especially with unmarried women, of whom only 28% say they would vote for him.
There are 55 million unmarried women in Ameria, which is almost half of all adult women. Whether it’s Mitt Romney refusing to say whether he would veto or sign into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, giving women the right to equal pay, or calling health care coverage of contraception a “violation of conscience” in the latest battle over birth control, Romney has turned off women.
6. Hispanic voters can tip the election and they’re no fans of Romney.
Romney’s tough anti-immigration talk during the primary drove away Hispanic voters. Now Romney proclaims that “President Obama Isn’t Working for Hispanics,” showing Hispanic unemployment is two points higher than the national average, while Hispanic households have lost 66 percent of their net worth in the recession. And while that is true, it turns out they don’t blame the President.
A recent nationwide poll shows that 67 percent of registered Latino voters support Obama, the same number he achieved in 2008. Not good news for Romney.
So would an Hispanic VP solve Romney’s Latino problem? The second most popular choice of Republicans after Santorum is Florida Senator Marco Rubio. That might sound like a winning combo until you realize that Rubio is a Cuban Hispanic, and Cubans make up only 10% of the Hispanic vote and they are primarily Republican, while nearly 65% of Hispanics are Democrats. So don’t look to Rubio to save Romney from himself.
7. Ron Paul is not going anywhere.
In fact, Ron Paul supporters are a well-organized army going into state after state, rounding up delegates that are still theirs for the taking, targeting Louisiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, and even Massachusetts. The goal of the Paulbots is to keep the GOP convention from being an orderly and unified affair so they can get some concessions, such as forcing votes on their issues, creating some convention chaos for their issues and thus generate interest, and forcing the convention further towards the goal of Libertarianism.
All in prime time and with America watching. If the Paulbots don’t get their way, they will be decamping and taking with them a solid 10 to 12% of Republican voters, a number not to be sneezed at.
Romney is right in saying he has “a very different vision” from Obama’s. Just vote for him and see what he does on Day One. He has big plans for America.
Poof, elect Mitt Romney and just like that, all will be well, thanks to free enterprise — as if we never needed the trust busting of the Progressives, the social legislation of the New Dealers, Medicare as part of the Great Society, the actions of world governements in concert with the U.S. to stop the crisis of 2008 and 2009, and the Amerian Recovery and Reinvestment Act to keep the Great Recession from becoming something far, far worse. Poof: here today, gone tomorrow.
Right now the American public is not buying into Romney’s magical thinking. And unless the economy tanks, Romney chances of defeating President Obama are bleak to none.
To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.
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