By Robert Schlesinger |
Is Mitt Romney blowing it? The better question would be, "Has Mitt Romney already blown it?"
Let's start with the basics. Romney is not a conservative. He is a liberal. This is his track record. He won the primary because he had more money than any of the other candidates and quite possibly more than all of them combined. Jonah Goldberg has argued that Romney is a late convert to conservatism, and as such does not speak the language of conservatives, much like someone who tried to pick up a foreign language as an adult.
When Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts declared the Obamacare tax to be just that, a tax, and the law was constitutional because of that, conservatives were outraged. Romney was clueless.
He sent his Etch a Sketch master Eric Fehrnstrom to announce that the campaign considered Obamacare to be a penalty, not a tax. Less than a week earlier, the Supreme Court had managed to do what Romney himself could not do. It united conservatives behind him. In five days, he managed to blow it. In one simple interview, Team Etch a Sketch took the wind out of their own sails and made conservatives simply wonder what the hell he was thinking.
Romney's fundamental flaw is that he is not a conservative, nor does he understand conservatives. He and his team believe they have said what they needed to say to get enough conservative support to win the nomination, and now they will simply say what ever they need to say and will ignore the conservatives. Because he does not understand the conservative base or even attempt to understand the conservative base, Romney insults the base.
A week ago, almost every conservative was united and most were even going to step up to the plate to help Romney. All he had to do was not screw it up. He blew it. Most conservative voters are "ABO" voters: Anybody But Obama. Romney, with his incredible lack of political savvy, has now pushed away many of those voters. In the end, because President Obama is so bad, many conservative voters will go to the polls and vote for Romney as the ABO candidate.
But Romney needs to understand that this is not over on Election Day. He better not blow this one or he could be the last Republican President.
About Judson Phillips Founder of Tea Party Nation
Brad Bannon President of Bannon Communications Research
Jamie Chandler Political Scientist at Hunter College