Carl Golden, 8/28/2012 [Archive]

Romney's Winning Message Down For The Count

Romney's Winning Message Down For The Count

By Carl Golden

In his book "The Candidate: What it Takes to Win and Hold the White House," political science professor Samuel L. Popkin of the University of California, San Diego, describes an encounter with a campaign consultant who lamented his client's dilemma, saying he had entered "the world according to Mike Tyson."

He went on to explain that Tyson, asked by reporters to discuss how he intended to deal with the strategy of an upcoming opponent, replied: "They all have a strategy....until they get hit."

Mitt Romney has been standing at the entrance to Mike Tyson's world, placed there partly by his own words and actions and partly by punches thrown by unexpected sources.

The strategy was apparent to all --- focus on a wretched economy, high and persistent unemployment, dismal job creation, stagnant growth, record high home foreclosures, steadily sinking consumer confidence, increasing pessimism about the future --- and pin it all on an ineffective President and his misguided policies.

Contrast that record of the last three and one-half years with his own resume of a highly successful businessman and investor who understood and could deal with a shifting economic landscape while creating jobs and producing growth.

It was a can't miss strategy, particularly in light of the consistency of polls which revealed a majority of Americans felt the country was on the wrong track and that the Obama Administration's failure to grapple effectively with the economic downturn was by far their greatest concern.

Then, as with Tyson, the first punches were thrown.

Romney was knocked off balance and off stride by weeks of defending his refusal to release 10 years of personal income tax returns.He was forced to deal with veiled suggestions of impropriety involving squirrelling money away in Swiss bank accounts or hiding it in tax havens in the Caymans.

He became enmeshed in defending the practices of Bain Capital --- the private equity firm he co-founded --- against allegations that the company bought failing enterprises, looted them for its own financial benefit, closed them down and threw hundreds of hard-working Americans out of jobs.He was accused of out-sourcing, sending jobs overseas to take advantage of cheap labor while enhancing his own profits and those of his associates.

When the U. S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the national health care law, Romney and his top adviser fell into a public disagreement over whether the fee for failing to purchase insurance coverage was a penalty or a tax, re-kindling the contentious debate over whether there are any significant differences between the President's health care law and the one enacted in Massachusetts when Romney was governor.

Romney and running mate Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan were caught up in the maelstrom created when Missouri Congressman and U. S. Senate candidate Todd Akin publicly practiced medicine without a license and said a woman's system could shut down a pregnancy if it resulted from a legitimate rape --- an oxymoron for the ages, destined to take its place in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

Akin's comments became an even greater distraction when it developed that Ryan had co-sponsored with the Missouri Congressman several legislative proposals to restrict or prohibit abortion as well as re-define the definition of rape.

Days before leaving for the Republican convention in Tampa, Romney addressed a rally in Michigan and, in a tone deaf effort to assure the crowd he was one of them, said: "Nobody ever asked to see my birth certificate."It was a tasteless comment which only drew unnecessary attention to the "birther movement," those people who insist President Obama is not an American citizen.

Even the gods seemed to conspire against Romney by sending Hurricane Isaac along the west coast of Florida resulting in a day's delay in the convention proceedings and forcing the party to share media coverage with storm stories.

In the meantime, the nation's economy remains stuck, the national debt continues to climb to unprecedented levels, and millions are searching for employment --- the very elements supporting what was to be the Romney can't miss strategy, the plan he's been unable to implement at the level it requires because he's been preoccupied dodging left hooks from the world of Mike Tyson.

The wonder of it all is that the race is still a toss-up.

-----

©Copyright 2012 Carl Golden, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Carl Golden is a senior contributing analyst with the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. You can reach him at cgolden1937@gmail.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.




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