With all the polls now showing an Obama surge, Republicans are jockeying for position to lock in credible-sounding explanations for why Romney is losing, the Senate is slipping from their grasp and other down-ballot races are turning blue.
The most popular trope is that Mitt Romney is a terrible candidate. Popular arguments range from he’s not really a conservative, to he’s not competent, to he won’t unshackle Paul Ryan, and to he just needs to be more aggressive.
What’s lost in the scrum of all this blame-shifting is the salient understanding that the product—not the pitch man—is the problem. Sure Romney is no Billie Mays. But watch the Bain promotional video recently outed by Mother Jones. Ignore your views about the message, just focus on the pitch. Romney nailed it. The video is good evidence that Romney can sell, when he has something to sell. (So, by the way, are his 47 percent remarks. They were well-received by his audience, and by plenty of right-wingers.)
It is the message that stinks. Arguably Romney would be winning now, if he ran the race like he ran for governor of Massachusetts. But today’s Republican playbook—forced on him by his primary—offers remedies for problems we don’t have and lacks remedies for the problems we do.
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