The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World of Campaign 2012
Campaign 2012 has been on a crash course towards infamy for a very long time. It all started when Michele Bachmann announced her intent to run for the Republican Presidential nomination, and then surged ahead of Mitt Romney in the polls. Then Donald Trump got involved, and for a very scary couple of weeks, it seemed as if he might actually run for President. Not long after that, Rick Perry came along, then Hermann Cain, and all of my hopes for a normal election year flew out the window. Of all of the eight candidates who were running for the Republican nomination, only three were actually qualified; Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul. And yet, all of the people who should not have been running for President, were, at some point, leading in the polls.
The 2012 madness started even before 2012 did, but it did not go away with the primaries. I have been working on a theory that might explain why the campaign is the way it is, but first, I have to point out what both sides have been throwing at each other. The Obama Team has accused Mitt Romney of being a tax avoiding, out of touch rich dude, who just doesn't get it. (This has a certain ring of truth to it, as long as Romney refuses to release his tax returns.) They have also said of Mitt "he hasn't paid any taxes in the last ten years" (Harry Reid, probably a complete lie), and "their gonna put y'all in chains" (Joe Biden, definitely false). And then, the Obama Team ran an add accusing Romney for the death of a man's wife (not only a complete lie, but a very low blow).
For its part, Romney's campaign has said some pretty crazy things as well. When Eric Fehrnstrom compared Romney, unhelpfully, to an etch a sketch, the gaffe served as the perfect analogy for Romney's strategy. Romney doesn't flip flop on issues, he etches and he sketches. But leading up to the conventions, things really got wild. First, the Romney Team accused Obama of gutting welfare reform, which is patently false. Then, Romney cracked an infantile joke comparing his birth certificate to the President's, no doubt to pander to a part of his base that believes that Obama was born somewhere else. And all throughout this campaign, accusations, insinuations and threats have been made against the President and his family.
Now, about that theory. I believe that the two campaigns have become so negative because reality forces them to do so. After all, in a normal election year, neither one of the two candidates would be winning. Obama has the economy to haunt him, with that ever inescapable 8.3 percent unemployment rate. No President has ever been reelected with an unemployment rate above 7.2 percent. By any normal measure, Obama should be trailing Romney by about ten points, but national polls remain solidly tied.
Romney should be leading in those polls. The problem is, people just don't like him all that much. He has been trailing Obama on likability for a while, now. He looks and acts just like John Kerry. But Romney has an additional problem; he spent the entire summer allowing Obama and the Democrats to define him as a candidate. He spent his summer mostly on the defensive, and that is not a winning strategy. The Republican Convention in Tampa may have helped him a little bit, because he came out of Tampa looking like a human being, instead of a robot.
The Democratic Convention looked and felt like a more enthusiastic crowd, and the President's accomplishments were proudly highlighted. But reality hit the very next day, with a depressing jobs report. What is clear, at this point, is that no candidate has much to run on, except for this line; "vote for me, I'm not the other guy." And here we enter the final stretch. What more will 2012 bring?
- Mitt Romney's Poverty of Ideas.
Mitt Romney doesn't have a plan for the economy. His strategy for campaign 2012? Obama bashing.
- Mitt Romney Really Needs to release his Tax Returns
Mitt, really, please release your tax returns. Because hiding them really is not helping you.
- Romney's Electoral Trouble
Unfortunately for Romney, the odds are not in his favor. He has an uphill battle when it comes to the electoral college.
- How Romney Can Win
Mitt Romney can win, but not if he doesn't overcome Obama in the polls by the end of August. Here are three things he can do to save himself.