Monday, October 1, 2012

The Romney / Ryan Paradox

While watching Chris Wallace’s interview of Paul Ryan this past Sunday I finally figured out what the Romney / Ryan campaign’s real problem is and why they’re losing in the polls.

The prevailing logic among most Republicans and even a few Democrats has been that the election would be a referendum on Barack Obama.  Ironically, it has turned into a referendum on Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

If you look carefully at the polls – all of them – what you find is a staggering paradox.  On the one hand, a majority of likely voters feel the country is still not headed in the right direction; on the other, a majority of likely voters seem to prefer Obama over Romney.

In case you were wondering, the country isn’t suffering from a form of schizophrenia, nor are there two different samplings being polled.  They’re one in the same. The voters appear to be saying two things at once: they’re not happy with the way the economy is going and they don’t believe that Romney and Ryan can improve it.

Think of it like an interview.  The perspective employer is looking to make a change at the top and is conducting interviews.  Along comes a candidate who looks good and says all the right things, but when you ask him to articulate a bit and explain just how he would be an improvement over the status quo , he suddenly clams up and declines to give specifics.  Worse, when pressed, he has the nerve to say once he’s hired he’ll provide all the details and references.  If you’ve ever been an interviewer or interviewee you know what usually comes next. “Thank you for stopping by; we’ll keep your resume on file.”

That sound you hear is the shredder tearing Mitt Romney’s resume to bits. The problem isn’t so much dissatisfaction with the current CEO as it is a repudiation of his perspective replacement.  The more people see of Batman and Robin, the less appealing they appear to be.

Unfortunately for the dynamic duo, disclosure doesn’t seem to be helping all that much either.  The more Bud Fox opens his mouth about Gordon Gekko’s plans for Medicare, taxes, healthcare, the lunar cycles, the deeper the hole seems to get.  Voters don’t like the lack of details, but when they’re given a glimpse of the details, they run in the other direction.  It’s a classic case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t, and, barring a dramatic turnaround in this week’s presidential debate, the prospects for a win in November are growing dimmer with each passing day.

And that’s why Barack Obama is the luckiest president running for reelection in over a generation.  He’s running against a candidate who has no moral compass, won’t divulge what his plans are if elected and then, to add insult to injury, chose the political equivalent of the Love Canal for a running mate.  With opponents like these, who needs friends?     

Makes you wonder what would’ve happened if the Republicans had had the courage – and sanity – to nominate someone like Jon Huntsman. A conservative with principles, what a concept.


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