John Cassidy: Start the blame game — it’s over for Mitt

From veteran writer/editor John Cassidy, blogging for The New Yorker:

When Romney decided to run in 2012, the best argument for his candidacy
was that he had nothing to do with the Bush Administration and could
appeal to moderate voters. But rather than trying to make a break with
the Bush Administration and portraying himself as a different sort of
Republican, one who has learned from the mistakes of the past, Romney
has embraced the Bush heritage—one that delivered the Presidency to
Obama in 2008. We see this in economic policy, where he has embraced the
Republican orthodoxy that tax cuts are a solution to everything and tax
increases are evil. We see it in the field of social issues, where he
has pandered to evangelicals and conservative Catholics on issues like
abortion and gay marriage. And now we see it in foreign policy, where he
has given a platform to the very folks who led us to disaster in Iraq.

Romney's blundering during the past couple of days is of a piece with
his entire campaign. A man with an impressive résumé, whose best hope
of victory lay in portraying himself as a moderate, independent
figure—somebody not beholden to tired old orthodoxies, Democratic or
Republican—has self-destructed by aligning himself with some of the
least credible and most voter-repellant groups in the G.O.P. If he had
kept quiet on Tuesday, he would be well placed now to raise some
legitimate concerns about what happened: Why was the consulate in Libya
so lightly guarded? What returns is the United States getting on the
billions of dollars in aid it provides to Egypt? Why did we intervene in
Libya but not in Syria? What’s our over-all policy for the Middle East?
If he tries to make these points today or tomorrow, his intervention
will be widely dismissed as another political ploy.

His electoral prospects have deteriorated to the point where about
his only hope is a grim one: that the situation in the Middle East
worsens, and more American embassies get sacked. That way, perhaps, the
alarmist warnings of Bolton and others about lack of leadership and
resolve on the part of the Obama Administration will start to resonate
with voters. As of now, though, I’m sticking with my initial judgment: it looks like curtains for the Mittster.

Famous election analyst Charlie Cook agrees, in a mealy sort of way, and a slew of polling from swing states looks bad, bad, bad for Romney.

Via Political Wire

"New Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist polls show President Obama building leads over Mitt Romney in Ohio, Florida and Virginia among likely voters.

Florida: Obama 49%, Romney 44%

Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 43%

Virginia: Obama 49%, Romney 44%

"These states – all of which Obama carried in 2008 but which George W. Bush won in 2004 – represent three of the most crucial battlegrounds in the 2012 presidential election. And according to NBC's electoral map, Romney likely needs to capture at least two of these states, if not all three, to secure the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency."

Politico reports the numbers in Ohio "roughly match up with internal surveys conducted by both Democrats and Republicans recently."

Rumor has it that Team Obama thinks Romney is an inept politician, and Romney's definition of the middle-class today to ABC News would seem to prove the point: 

Romney when asked if $100K is middle income: "No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less."

Perhaps he will claim to have been misquoted by the liberal media, but Derek Thompson takes him to task anyhow in The Atlantic, and helpfully provides a chart showing what Romeny thinks vs. what the Census Bureau has found: 

The Census Bureau says that middle-class household income is about 50k. 

Jamelle Bouie adds:

If you look at the last 30 years of Gallup polling, one trend becomes clear—the leading candidate after the conventions almost always goes on to win the election. This, of course, isn’t to say that the election is a lock for Obama, but that Romney’s odds have become longer than they actually look.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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