WASHINGTON, September 18, 2012 — This election is getting curiouser and curiouser, as Lewis Carroll’s Alice would say. Suddenly the Republican Party, the Conservatives in particular, are indulging in unadulterated Romney bashing.
It’s bad enough Mitt Romney has had to put up with President Obama’s ads pointing out all his policy flaws, now he is the target of potshots from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Erick Erickson, David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, Joe Scarborough, Mark McKenna, and even Bill Kristol.
It can’t possibly be because Mitt Romney fell a few points behind Obama after the Democrats came roaring out of their successful convention. Come on, guys, of course, the Democrats got a bump, but bumps have a history of being just that and they don’t last that long. It can’t be that he spoke from the heart in that undercover video. So why are the Republicans breaking out in a cold sweat over their nominee? Hey guys, that’s no way to treat your candidate.
Romney needs your support, your ideas, your comfort as he weathers the latest storm. Sure he has made some less than perfect speeches. Yes, he is long on platitudes and short on details. And yes, he has been stonewalling on releasing his tax returns, raising all sorts of eyebrows and questions. Yes, he has made a few gaffes and some embarrassing remarks when he thought no video camera was running. But what is this circular firing squad all about?
There are three possible reasons the Republicans, and especially the Conservative wing of the Party, are freaking out.
1. Republicans, who have always been a disciplined group, have succumbed to a full-fledged anxiety attack. Call it panic, which is so unRepublican. But they seem to be having a serious case of the nervous willies, or is it “nervous Willards,” almost bordering on hysteria.
Republicans now hate their own convention, labeling it a disaster. Come on, at the time, you guys all thought it was cutting edge and edgy, what with Clint Eastwood putting it to Obama. Now you have a convention hangover and blame Romney for it? It was your convention. It was supposed to be the Republican showcase and you had some of your best and brightest speaking. Tomorrow’s stars were featured. So what’s the beef? That you didn’t have a Bill Clinton?
You think falling behind three to five points is a sign of the End of Times? You don’t think your candidate can pull it out of the fire? Oh, ye of little faith.
Even now, the Romney team is retooling the message and the man. Look for a new and improved campaign to hit the trail this week. If Mitt Romney is anything, he’s adaptable. And he isn’t called Mr. Fix It for nothing. So watch him fix his campaign. It just needs a little tweaking and watch the Obama bump become an anthill.
Republicans’ Long Memory
2. Conservatives have never really bought into the conservative Mitt Romney even though he has tried to sell himself as a “severe conservative,” whatever that means. Conservatives are like elephants and have long memories. They can recall all the way back to 1994 when Romney was espousing liberal values when he ran against Ted Kennedy or back to 2002 when he became governor of Massachusetts. So they are apt to be suspicious that he doesn’t have the bona fides. Better known as the Right stuff.
Actually, if the truth be told, Republicans just plain don’t like Romney. If he were only more cuddly like Mike Huckabee, who can say the most outrageous things and everyone still loves him a lot. Even the Liberal media.
In fact, in poll after poll, Republicans say they are voting against President Obama and not for Mitt Romney. So it doesn’t take much for Republicans to begin to lament their choice of Romney, suffering from buyer’s remorse. But, hey guys, your voters choose him in your primary. He is now the face and voice of your Party, like it or not.
Is It the Message or Messenger?
3. Many Republicans think Romney is his own worst enemy when he comes to delivering his…er, their… message. Whether it’s criticizing the President during a time of an international crisis as he did last week during the Muslim riots that resulted in the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other consulate staff.
Or whether it’s speaking at a Boca Raton Republican fundraiser and making off the cuff remarks that dismisses 47% of the Obama voters as free-loaders, who just want a hand out, Romney steps on his own message of “It’s the Economy, Stupid.” You know the one, the slogan Clinton’s folks used to a fare thee well in 1992.
And now here is Mitt Romney Monday night at a hastily called news conference, trying to explain away his disparaging remarks of the 47% of voters that are now all over the Internet and talking heads shows on TV as having been “inelegant” manner. Oh, that explains it. Sort of. But in true Romney mode, he has double-downed on those remarks on Fox so he’s not backing down. Don’t forget the title of Romney’s book is “Don’t Apologize.”
So why aren’t the Republicans happy with Romney being a tough guy?
The Election Should Be Romney’s To Win
This election should have been an easy win for a Republican, goes the logic. Unemployment has never slipped below 8%, gas prices are still high, the U.S. is producing fewer jobs, 23 million people are out of work, and more people are on food stamps. No incumbent president should win with such a head wind.
But Obama is instead striding right into the center of the storm and seeming to have found the calm center where he has reassured the American voter that he has taken on a herculean task and while it’s not done, not even to his satisfaction, he is far from done in turning the economy around.
But why isn’t Romney that center of stability, of calm? decry the conservative pundits, strategists, and politicians. Simple. Romney carries some heavy baggage, the conservative philosophy of starve the beast (aka cut government and government spending), no taxes on the super wealthy, make Medicare into a voucher program, cut food stamps, and take an aggressive stance in hot spots around the world, ready to plunge into another war with Iran, if necessary.
So, my Conservative friends, you are zeroing in on the messenger, when the big problem is the message, your message, the one that Romney has worked so hard to make his core principle. If you desert him now when he needs you most, you are what Thomas Paine called the “summer soldier, the sunshine patriot,” only ready to fight when the weather is good, when things are going your way.
So you’ve got a squall on your hands, Republicans. Right the ship and sail on. You’ve nearly seven weeks and three debates till election day plus a zillion dollars in PAC ads ready to go. How about all hands on deck, instead of leaping over the side like you know what.
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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