I hate to annoy my exceedingly loyal readers, many of whom clearly do not agree with me on this. But I’m interested in how political battles play out. I get hunches. Then write about them. My hunch about the Bain attacks is they are working to a greater degree than many understand. As I said yesterday they are obnoxious and often dishonest. This doesn’t mean they aren’t working. Romney’s response baffled me last week. It baffles me this week. Charlie Cook, who knows a thing or two about politics, chimed in Monday…
The attacks on Bain, outsourcing, and his investments are sticking to Romney like Velcro, and it’s hard to see how that will change until he picks his running mate. Romney has lost control of the debate and the dialogue. Instead of voters focusing on the economy, they are now hearing about investments and accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, as well as about outsourcing and layoffs.
Cook makes a very salient point about a tactical decision by the Romney campaign:
The strategic decision by the Romney campaign not to define him personally—not to inoculate him from inevitable attacks—seems a perverse one. Given his campaign’s ample financial resources, the decision not to run biographical or testimonial ads, in effect to do nothing to establish him as a three-dimensional person, has left him open to the inevitable attacks for his work at Bain Capital, on outsourcing, and on his investments. It’s all rather inexplicable.
Cook’s word is inexplicable. Mine is baffled. Romney is being defined in the public mind right now. He’s responding to the attacks, but not powerfully. This is odd given his resources and, I believe, a strategic error that is larger than he seems to understand. It’s difficult to come back after you’ve been dismissed. Romney’s in danger of being dismissed by the exact voters he needs to win.
And yet Romney will travel to the Olympics then the Middle East shortly – creating further distance. Perhaps he’ll announce his choice for VEEP before he goes. This will change the subject for about 2 days. We’re then likely to see a strange dynamic in which we are introduced to his 2nd in command before he’s fully introduced himself.
Much of the country is now being handed a thousand reasons why Romney should not be President. The central reason he’s promoted as to why he should be President is under assault. His response isn’t non existent. It is weak.
This is odd. I really do not understand Presidential candidates from Massachusetts. Both Kerry and Dukakis were afflicted with midsummer malaise. As far as I can tell, Romney is too.
Now tell me why I’m wrong. I certainly could be.