How is Mitt Romney still in the presidential race? Doesn’t he know what the media say? Can’t he see the election is over? Can’t he see it’s been over at least ten times already?
1. The Economic Recovery: Romney’s main focus has been the economy–and yet the economy has been getting better ever since Obama took office. Sure, unemployment is unexpectedly high, and household wealth is unexpectedly low, and Obama’s campaign botched the answer to the question of whether we’re better off than we were four years ago. But–ask Bill Clinton!–no one could have done better. Why is Romney still trying?
2. Bain Capital: You knew Romney was in trouble when Newt Gingrich, of all people, busted out the Bain Capital opposition research. That made it impossible for the GOP to complain when Obama did the same thing–and took it further. Romney didn’t just cut jobs–he actually may have killed a woman, and probably also committed a felony in his SEC filings. In a “class war” election, Romney was clearly toast. Foolishly, he stayed in!
3. Tax Returns: As David Axelrod said, Mitt Romney is the most opaque candidate we have seen since Nixon. By delaying the release of his returns–and only releasing a summary–Romney turned a non-issue into a major blunder. Sure, he paid a higher effective rate than many middle-class Americans. Sure, it turned out Harry Reid lied about Romney paying zero. But Romney’s clearly done something wrong–like running against Obama!
4. Obamatax: In July, even conservatives turned on Romney after his spokesman said Obamacare was not a tax–even though the Supreme Court did. One put it bluntly: “This ain’t Etch-A-Sketch, Mitt. Go hard or go home.” (Er, that was me.) Romney clarified that the Court was wrong, but Obamacare was now a tax. Amazingly, he stayed in the race.
5. Foreign Policy “Gaffes”: Whatever remaining chance Romney might have had was surely eliminated in July, when he made a number of true but somehow outrageous statements on a trip that was meant to highlight his foreign policy credentials. More recently, he knocked Obama after 9/11 over his administration’s apology for the anti-Islamic film that caused all the Middle East violence. But–weirdly–Romney kept going!
6. The Ryan Pick: When Romney picked Paul Ryan to be his running mate, it almost seemed as if he were trying to lose the election. Ryan wants to end Medicare as we know it! Have the Republicans learned nothing from decades of demagoguery? They can’t touch entitlements–not even Obama could do that (those are Medicare savings, not cuts). Romney knew it was a bad pick–that’s why he kept Ryan out of Florida that first week. Sure, Ryan went the next week, but by then the election was lost. Again!
7. The Empty Chair: Nothing better symbolizes the disaster that was the Republican National Convention than Clint Eastwood’s “empty chair” stunt in prime time. If you can’t run a convention of your own party, how can you run the country? Not to mention the fact that a hurricane canceled the first day–again. Even God wants Romney to quit!
8. The DNC Bounce: The triumphant Democratic National Convention sealed the deal for Obama. Millions more watched the DNC than the RNC–especially on NBC, which aired 25% more of the proceedings. Neither a deeply embarrassing and undemocratic floor fight over Jerusalem, nor a lackluster acceptance speech, could stop the Obama machine. A five-point bounce! And it lasted a whole week, at least! This thing is over!
9. Romney’s “47 Percent” Gaffe: This one surely marks the beginning of the end. Romney said–correctly–that nearly half of American households pay no federal income tax. He said–correctly–that Obama is appealing to people who want the government to take care of them. But who says that out loud? And then Romney said, incorrectly, that none of those 47 percent will vote for him. Even the bitter clingers! Give up already!
10. The Polls: The swing states are looking increasingly out of reach for Romney. He is losing in Iowa, for instance. Well, maybe not, but how about Florida! Hmm. Okay, he’s definitely down in Ohio. Ohio! No Republican has won without Ohio. Yeah, Rasmussen has the race tied overall, but Rasmussen’s conservative. And sure, Gallup has him tied with Obama, but Gallup cheats–just ask Axelrod. The polls are in, and Romney’s done!
Yet he stays in. As if Obama’s weak. As if voters want a choice. As if he has a chance!