With 97 days to go, the 2012 presidential election remains Romney’s to lose.
The deteriorating economy is President Obama’s albatross and should be enough to defeat him on November 6.
But — and it is a significant “but” — Mitt Romney has yet to convert this inherent advantage into an asset. Why not? Because Romney seems to be a step slow politically. It is alarming to see a few things:
- The president — as a candidate, not as a president — is a far superior political candidate than Romney.
- He is hungrier
- He switches tactics on a dime
- He and his campaign are setting the tone and terms of each week’s debate
- Overall, Team Obama is playing a weak hand much better than Team Romney is playing their far stronger hand
Now, let’s look at what is wrong with Romney:
- He is a wooden, stiff, stilted candidate
- On the stump and in TV interviews, he cannot connect with anyone
- He clearly has lost sight of who he really is: a non-ideological problem solver
- Instead, he has twisted and turned himself into trying to sound like something he clearly is not: a true-blue conservative
- This turn-into-a-pretzel maneuver is forefront in his head at all times; he is constantly afraid to deviate from the right — even when the right is wrong, i.e., on Simpson-Bowles, taxes on the rich, and Pentagon spending cuts
- Team Romney is awful. They are the single worst challenging campaign team in the modern era
- They are slow; they are sloppy and undisciplined. Just look at the horrible behavior of the Romney travelling press secretary in Israel and Poland
- They are stupid, i.e., the Etch-A-Sketch and “It’s not a tax” pronouncements of Eric Fehrnstrom
- On the ObamaCare ruling by the Supreme Court, it took Team Romney six days — six days! — to agree with the Court that the penalty was indeed a tax? What is so hard about this?
- Now comes the veep selection. There should be worry over this choice as the Romney high command seems lost at sea. It is possible they will pick a dud like Pawlenty who gives them absolutely nothing. He proved to be an ineffectual campaigner in 2011 when he ran for president. He probably does not put Minnesota back in play. And he does not help in any other states.
- His sole claim to fame is that Romney likes him in part because Pawlenty refused to really tear into Romney over “OBomneyCare” in the Fox debate last spring.
- There are not the reasons to select a running mate.
In sum, Romney and his staff better get their act in gear — and soon.
They are blowing — slowly — this election.
Yes, the economy could still slide downward and perhaps make Obama un-electable.
But Romney needs to get out there with a positive, inspirational message about why the country should turn to him.
So far he has been woefully lacking as a candidate and as a leader.
John LeBoutillier is a former U.S. congressman and a political commentator who has contributed to many major newspapers and magazines. Read more reports from John LeBoutillier — Click Here Now.
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