This is easier to like than his ethanol pandering or his weaselly wiggling on global warming, but it indicates what looks like something of an arrogant strategic choice by the Romney campaign.
Specifically, now that people are calling Romney a “frontrunner,” he’s going to try to ignore the rest of the GOP field and just run against Obama. Which is probably what you do when you want to (1) unite the clans, or (2) make the other candidates irrelevant.
And yeah, Romney is getting more votes in the polls as of right now, so yeah, he’s the frontrunner. Gallup has one out which says he’s picking up momentum. But he’s got all of 24 percent – when more than three-quarters of the Republican electorate isn’t sold on you, running a campaign bashing Obama when you’re open to getting hit on “Obamneycare” and when you at least pay lip service to the same moronic energy policies the president is destroying the economy with isn’t smart.
It isn’t smart because it puts the cart before the horse by assuming the 76 percent of the Republican voters who don’t have you down as their candidate will just come aboard because you can beat up on Obama best – they probably will, but you have to close the deal on the nomination first. And that closing of the deal isn’t going to happen unless you address the concerns the electorate has about your record and your statements.
Here are the poll numbers from Gallup, with the change from the last poll in parentheses…
Romney: 24 (+7)
Palin: 16 (+1)
Cain: 9 (+1)
Paul: 7 (-3)
Pawlenty: 6 (0)
Santorum: 6 (+4)
Bachmann: 5 (0)
Gingrich: 5 (-4)
Johnson: 2 (0)
Huntsman: 1 (-1)
Perry: 1 (+1)
Other: 1 (-2)
None/Any/No opinion: 18 (-4)
What does this mean? It means that tonight at that debate Romney is going to get trashed by the other candidates as though he was Obama, and he’s going to sound like a dummy for talking past the rest of the group. And while he’s trying to score points beating up on the president, the guy/gal who wins the debate is the one who does the best job of trashing Romney.
Of course, Rick Perry won’t be there. He’ll get in next month, if not a little sooner. And if none of the other candidates don’t start scoring points against Romney it’s quite likely Perry will sweep up a big piece of that 18 percent undecideds and start getting talked about as the new frontrunner.
And then Romney won’t be able to just beat up on Obama. He’ll have to offer up some believable economic plans and a vision for the country the Republican base finds attractive.
That he’s not doing this now is mystifying. The longer he wastes time pretending he’s the Republican nominee the more likely he won’t be the nominee. And while today’s web ad is good stuff – I got chills, I’ll admit it – it’s a year too early. Wrong message.