Mitt Romney is in trouble right now -- he's struggling, he's on the defensive, and even his allies are public recommending that he change strategy, which is never a good sign. In response to the bad news -- particularly to a Politico story in which Republican governors offer campaign advice to Romney -- BooMan writes this:
... Mitt Romney's utterly vacuous campaign is turning the nation's Republican governors into blathering idiots. I don't know what I'd say in their place, but that's sort of the point, What can you say? If you offer some advice like maybe Romney could release his tax returns and put this controversy to bed, you're forced to walk it back the next day. If you say that Romney should spell out his economic plans, you ignore that his economic plans poll so badly that the Democrats have decided that no one will believe them if they talk about them. If you suggest that Romney humanize himself by talking more about his personal life, you ignore that Romney is basically a straight-laced Clark Griswold who does weird things like strap a dog crate to the roof of his station wagon before he sets off on a lengthy vacation. If you tell him to defend his work at Bain Capital, you aren't taking account of the fact that he's had twenty years to try to do that as a candidate and has never succeeded. And you know in your heart that releasing his tax returns won't make the issue go away, but will destroy his candidacy in its crib....There's a lot of truth here -- but while it makes me think that Romney's going to lose, it also makes me think that we're going to derive the wrong lesson from a Romney loss if it does happen. We're going to think that Mitt Romney himself was the problem.
But who would have been better for the GOP to run? Is it even possible for a more appealing candidate to win a Republican nomination?
BooMan talks about how poorly the Romney economic plan polls when people learn the details -- the very details some GOP governors say Romney should be promoting. But any Republican candidate would have proposed a plan that made the rich richer and the poor poorer, that punished the have-nots and coddled the haves.
Any Republican would have engaged in a war on Planned Parenthood and abortion rights and minority voting and immigrants. Hell, every Republican who ever seemed to be in contention this year was as weird as Romney -- Newt Gingrich with his delusions of grandeur, Rick Santorum with his prurient interest in everyone's sex life, Herman Cain with his sleazy treatment of women, Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump with their crazy conspiratorialism, Rick Perry with his incessant God-bothering and simple-mindedness and odd response to prescription pharmaceuticals.
And all this is because being bizarre is, at this point, a requirement for making it to the top tier in the GOP. You have to have the same extreme economic views as the Koch brothers -- and you have to have at least some obsessive fixation on supposed Antichrists (people who have premarital sex in Santorum's case, evil liberals who oppose child labor in Gingrich's). It's the Republican Party, stupid. That's the problem.
So Romney may lose -- and the takeaway will be that he was a lousy presidential candidate, an unappealing guy with an unappealing life story. But the GOP is now built to elevate people like that. The Republican rank-and-file loves what the rest of us hate. It's more than a Romney problem -- it's a Republican problem.