Politics

09.21.12

Um, About that Tack to the Center

I knew I might be jumping the gun on that post, when I wrote yesterday evening that it looked like Romney was maybe tacking to the center. But that lasted exactly one event (the event with students and Latinos). Just shortly after I wrote the post, Romney appeared in Sarasota and from what I can tell was back to the usual bag of right-wing tricks, with the new fillip that he's capitalizing on Obama's "gaffe" about not being able to change Washington from the inside.

If you look at Obama's comments in context, they're totally unremarkable. There is also the problem that there was a candidate back in 2008 who said the exact same thing, who was known as Mitt Romney. 

The Romney campaign has this lame habit of looking for one line, one little phrase or group of words, that can be seized upon and taken out of context. And then he has this equally lame habit of reacting with melodramatic language. In this case, Obama was "running up the white flag of surrender." Please. From a surging candidate I guess that just might sound confident. From a tanking (at the moment) candidate, it sounds desperate and hyperbolic.

It's possible, as I think it over, that this one-line-out-of-context business has probably worked better in past elections. But now there's too much instant pushback online. That's a good development. It forces campaigns to tackle the actual meat of the other guy's argument a bit more. Obama is doing this far more effectively, evidently, judging from the movement in the polls. 

Interesting, in the Corn Tape, Romney gave those donors a pretty smart and nuanced explanation of why he shouldn't really hit Obama too hard. Voters in the middle, he told them, like Obama and probably voted for him. They don't wanna be told he's a failure or they were wrong; it all has to be put more softly. Pretty smart stuff--which he seems to forget the second he walks onto a stage.

He's just flailing and desperate and angry right now, feeling this lifelong dream slip from his hands.