Legend of the Lone Romney
They came into town, the masked man and his loyal sidekick, and left town with people asking, “Who was that masked man?”
The Lone Ranger and Tonto? Nope, Mitt and Paul, the two who want to win your vote without offering any details about their intent to govern.
And, at the end of the day, do we really know who they are or what they stand for?
In what may be recorded as the most poorly organized presidential campaign since Barry Goldwater in 1964, Mitt and Paul have managed to be on the verge of snapping defeat from the jaws of victory.
The latest Gallup Daily Poll shows President Obama leading Governor Romney 50 to 43 percent.
How did this happen in an economy that historically would have made the incumbent unelectable?
How did it happen with a challenger having more campaign money than a sitting president in history?
It happened because, at least so far, with less than two months to the election, Mitt Romney has run the worst campaign in modern presidential history.
First Romney allowed Obama to define him during the summer as a rich out of touch guy.
Bain Capital became a symbol not of American business success, but of vulture capitalism. And Romney contributed to that perception by offering that while at Bain he created jobs.
But Bain was never about job creation at all, it was openly and honestly about profit creation and it did that quite well. By taking credit for job creation Romney misrepresented his strength, that of making money.
Then Romney had to run away from his single greatest success, the Massachusetts health care law that provided universal care for the citizens of that state. The program worked, and it worked so well it became a model for Obamacare.
Unfortunately for Romney, most of his successes in Massachusetts were unacceptable to middle class voters today, including his $300 million in state fees, that affected mostly the middle class; his funding cuts to education that resulted in increased state tuitions; his cuts to towns and cities that resulted in higher property tax rates; and the overall increase in state and local taxes during his single term.
And his Republican friends wanted to forget he supported domestic partnership benefits before he opposed them; supported abortion rights until 2004; and supported cap and trade until 2005. Romney later claimed he was “a severely conservative governor.”
When Mitt Romney ended his term as governor only 34 percent of voters approved of him, the 48th lowest approval of any governor at that time.
So Governor Romney runs from Bain and the Massachusetts governorship and touts his 2002 Olympic success, a “success” that he once boasted “… got record funds from the federal government. …” A success that Senator McCain once described as, “The American taxpayer is being shaken down. …”
Then Governor Romney misses opportunities he needed. His foreign trip exploded with missteps; his VP selection of Paul Ryan gives him no bump and Ryan trips all over himself with false charges against the opposition.
The Republican convention gives Romney no bump and is remembered mostly for the Eastwood chair speech, while the Democratic convention gives his opponent a large bump.
Governor Romney is left with one chance to win the presidency: the upcoming debates.
But President Obama will be debating a guy with a proposed tax plan that the Tax Policy Center and Fact Check analyze as mathematically impossible; a personal negative perception higher than any presidential candidate in 30 years; a candidate who would have largely ended America’s role in the automobile industry; and a candidate who supports more tax cuts for the rich while raising taxes on the middle class.
And, in all probability, when the debates end we will still be asking, “Just who is that masked man?” and what does he really stand for?
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.