Figurtively of course, and by no means in a way that means it's over, but the Romney campaign is doing a very good job of pounding nails into its own coffin. It's not enough that Romney is having to fight off the debacle that was his response to the deaths in Libya, now he's having to respond to something else he's said when he didn't think people were listening to him.
In a moment of true honesty, when he appeared more comfortable in his own skin that I've ever seen him, Romney shoots himself in the foot for the second time in a week and offends nearly half the country. Not only does he overgeneralize by calling 47% of people freeloaders, essentially, but then goes on to say that it's not his job to worry about them. Well, I suppose it's not his job to worry about them right now, but he's applying for a position where that is his job. So, do his comments make it seem like he'll take this job seriously?
But you know, Romney has been a victim of his own making for a while now. He doesn't provide details on his plans, doesn't divulge information about himself, and then complains that people aren't warming up to him. Couple that with things like this, and you can imagine he must be sweating it out right now.
And that's not all. If it were just the Left and the "Mainstream Media" that were out for blood with Romney, he could handle it. He'd have his base and the conservative media and pundits to back him up. But even they're jumping ship with Romney. Remember back in 2010, during the midterm elections, when Republicans were gleefully pointing out how many White House staffers were leaving "like rats on a sinking ship"? Well, witness the conservative version of the exact same phenomenon. And the thing is, Romney's not even in the White House yet. These guys can't stand him for being too moderate.
Frank Rich, writing in New York Magazine, describes the phenomenon of the far-right, and seeks to explain, through exposing himself to a week of hard right media, just what makes this base tick. As I said above, it appears on the outside that people are abandoning Romney and Ryan to their fate at this point, but the truth seems to be that real hardliners never wanted them in the first place. They feel abandoned by their party, and want real conservatism to take over. As I've written about before, this continual slide to the right by mainstream Republicans is occurring, but those who are waiting for them are getting fed up with how long it's taking.
What strikes me about all this is how Romney, his supporters, and the Right wing of the Republican party all seem to believe that their problem is a lack of conviction, a lack of conservatism, and a lack of Republican values. Romney has been duped, no doubt by the conservative base, into thinking that moderates respond more favorably to a denial of facts, ideological purity, extremism, and loudness. Not being a moderate myself, I can't tell you from personal experience whether this is the case. But it seems to me that these tactics would push people away from Republicans rather than drawing them in. Time will tell, of course. We're inside of two months heading into the election. Romney is going to have to really work this election if he wants a shot.
And, in case you were interested in that 47% that Romney mentioned, here's a good breakdown.