The Romney campaign sent out a rather breathless memo this morning warning the press to not get too worked up about the latest polling. Romney campaign pollster Neil Newhouse admonished the press that, “While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly.”
Yes, that sugar high y’all are on is going to crash down when you focus back on the economy, where Mitt Romney will win with his unspecified solutions and promises that he will create exactly the number of jobs analysts say will be created if we continue on the path we’re on right now. That there is some protein for You People.
Nate Silver is being warned by the press to not conclude anything about the convention bounces until “there is more data.” Somehow Nate Silver managed to respond to these “suggestions” with sanguine calmness, though I found myself wondering when exactly the media thinks is a good time to report on convention bounces. Perhaps in November? To be fair, it seems they are bothered that Silver sees a projectile upward for Obama that grows until Nov 6, but he explains that this is analysis is based on more than the post convention bounce and could, of course, change.
I’ve been picking up some sentiment from analysts and journalists in my Twitter feed recently, who correctly note that polling around the party conventions can be volatile. They suggest that we ought to wait for more data before concluding very much about the bounces that the conventions have produced….
Saying “wait for more data” sort of misses the point. What about the data that we have on hand already? Is it compelling enough to suggest that there has been some change in condition of the race? Or isn’t it?
Here’s what all of the fuss is about — Nate Silver’s current Nov 6 forecast:
Isn’t that the nature of forecasts and polling? Of course they can change. Anything can happen. Furthermore, attempted Democratic voter suppression can and will happen.
But if the Romney campaign is relying on Mitt Romney winning on the economy, it would behoove them to come up with an actual plan now instead of telling voters that they will “debate that in Congress.” That’s not exactly how our democracy is supposed to work.
We chose a direction for the country with our President based on their vision and policy proposals and then our alleged representatives are supposed to represent us as they work out the actual legislation. But Republicans did no such thing over the last four years, with the last two standing out as a complete jihad on Obama at the expense of our economy and the American worker. Now Romney wants us to trust him and that congress to debate specifics without telling us even what direction he’s going, or naming even one loophole that they would axe?
Voters want to know what direction Romney would go — even a general direction would be a good start. It’s called policy and while the Republican Party seems confident that Americans don’t care about it, I’m not sure they can sell this level of opaque, lacking as it is in a clear vision to package.
In this way, Romney is all over the map. He tells one group of voters one thing and turns around hours later to say he didn’t mean it. This sort of opaque vision is a hard sale. He could run a Republican values campaign if he could stick to values, but he changes his values by the day. Just yesterday on Meet the Press he told Americans he liked parts of Obamacare and would also like to address people with pre-existing conditions getting coverage, but then he reversed his stance within hours of his interview airing. Because these kinds of reversals are so consistent with Romney, it’s impossible to know what he stands for even on a basic Bushian level.
What’s really fascinating is that while we are used to Republicans who say one thing and govern and vote the opposite (Paul Ryan), we are not used to Republicans who say something conflicting every time we see them. Sure, Paul Ryan can tell everyone he hates the failed stimulus that he happily begged for funds from and proudly for voted for under Bush, but so long as he keeps telling the base that he’s a conservative, they believe. Romney can’t even do that.
Ryan and Romney both stumble their way through specifics, avoiding them at all costs while taking refuge under their misguided hope that Americans don’t care about specifics. Perhaps most Americans don’t pay attention to specifics, but they do get an overall sense of a candidate and what they stand for. Right now, it’s unclear what Mitt Romney stands for other than opaqueness.
If you look at where Republicans have focused their voter suppression tactics, you can clearly see that they know they need those states and they also know they stand a high chance of losing them if everyone is allowed to vote. Then there’s the fact that Romney has spent the last week shoring up the base instead of appealing to independents, cuddling up to Pat Robertson and NASCAR fans in hopes of getting Virginia back in his fold. At NASCAR, instead of insulting the rain gear worn by fans, this time Romney stepped up his game by refusing to name who his favorite driver was, relying instead on Palin’s “any and all of ’em” answer. It’s odd, isn’t it, for someone who is so good at pandering to the sentiments of the people he’s addressing that Romney can’t seem to pull off a decent mix and mingle with the base. All he had to do was pick Dale and he’d have been in good shape. But no.
The Romney memo claimed that they had a good chance of taking Wisconsin and New Mexico, but polls show them behind by 2 in Wisconsin and 5 in New Mexico. Yes, Ryan helped them close the gap in Wisconsin, but a gap still exists. Paul Ryan did not hand them Wisconsin, and now Ryan is being shoved into hiding in order to prepare to meet Joe Biden in the debates. I’m sure Americans will be riveted as Paul Ryan tells them that since he went to funerals of our troops, he has more foreign policy experience than Barack Obama did four years ago, as he faces Joe Biden whose foreign policy experience (not to mention his son’s time serving our country at war) crushes the deluded dreams of a pretend policy wonk.
Maybe Paul Ryan can tell America that his great foreign policy wonkiness comes from speeches given by Ayn Rand’s fictional characters (as he claims regarding his monetary policy). Now that’s a winner if ever I heard one. I’ll bet you he could sell that to the conservative base – in fact, I’d love to see him do it, because this race jumped the surreal shark yesterday and now I’m most interested in just how much utter garbage Romney Ryan can sell to their unquestioning and yet unenthused base. Is there a cliff they won’t follow over?
The mainstream media might note that instead of pouring all of their effort into creating a horse race narrative, they might just take the real narrative of the Republican Clown Show and run with it. It worked for the British press, and it’s a lot easier than suffocating reality. It’s also highly entertaining when you get past the press taking these folks seriously. And just think, if the media stopped trying to force a narrative, the Republican Party might just be forced to grow up and get serious. That would be a real win for America.
Paul Ryan is a foreign policy expert because he voted for the Iraq war based on a huge, horrible lie. This is what they’re touting. Run with it, MSM. It’s more entertaining than any reality show on TV.