Politico Article Looks Inside The Romney Campaign

Ken AshfordElection 2012Leave a Comment

I'mma just going to point to the article — it's really inside baseball stuff about why the Romney campaign is doing so badly, drawing from friends of Romney and campaign insiders who wish to remain anonymous.  This is pretty heavy stuff:

“You design a campaign to reinforce the guy that you’ve got,” said a longtime Romney friend. “The campaign has utterly failed to switch from a primary mind-set to a general-election mind-set, and did not come up with a compelling, policy-backed argument for credible change.”

In other words, the campaign is being run by people who are still running in the GOP primary against Newt Gingrich et al.  They're not prepared for Obama.

Well, that can't be good.

One also gets the sense from the article that there are too many cooks. The Republican National Convention, which was supposed to help re-re-reintroduce Romney to the country, was a total disaster. Various planned highlights were canceled because of the abridged schedule; Romney's speech was rewritten so many times — by people who didn't even know Romney — that key points—like, say, mentioning the troops—were left out, and the nation was treated to an aging actor debating furniture.

And it only got worse:

The GOP convention failed to generate momentum or excitement for Romney — a potentially fatal setback for the struggling campaign. Before that, Romney’s criticism of Olympics organizers just after he landed in London set the tone for a snake-bitten foreign tour that some top campaign officials had argued against taking. Last week, Romney diluted his repeal-“Obamacare” message by saying on“Meet the Press” that he would keep part of the plan. Then Romney’s incendiary late-night statement after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya led many conservative allies to say he had squandered credibility as a potential commander in chief.

Romney strategist Stuart Stevens takes his fair share of hits in the Politico piece, but the article is right to suggest that the problem flows from the top: Romney himself.

UPDATE: GOP speechwriter David Frum tweets his thoughts on the subject —

(1) This AM's Politico story about Stuart Stevens being to blame for Romney campaign's troubles utterly misses the point.

(2) The Romney campaign has a messaging problem because it has a policy problem.

(3) The policy problem is that the Romney campaign offers nothing but bad news to hardpressed Americans and the broader middle class.

(4) How do you message: I'm doing away w Medicaid over the next 10 yrs, Medicare after that, to finance a cut in the top rate of tax to 28%?

(5) I don't care if you hire the people who produce the ATT ads that make my wife cry, there's no lipsticking that pig.

(6) The problem isn't the campaign leadership; it's the party's followership

(7) Over course of campaign, Romney has changed from a pragmatic, capable manager into a dog-whistling culture warrior.

(8) Candidate cd have and shd have resisted that pressure – but it's rich for ppl who demanded the change to complain about consequences.

(9) I thought Stevens' – drafted Tampa speech did good job of humanizing the man, Mitt Romney

(10) But voters do care about the q: what will this presidency do for me? And "dick you over" is not a winning answer