Team Romney is in trouble. Big trouble. Trouble like, “we-only-have-50-days-left-until-the-election-but-lets-scrap-everything-we’ve-campaigned-on-and-try-something-new” kind of trouble.
Rumors of infighting among members of the Romney campaign have been surfacing for months. Yesterday POLITICO put out a harsh report full of anonymous aides pointing fingers and leveling much of the blame for a less than spectacular Republican National Convention at chief strategist, Stuart Stevens. As you will recall, the RNC was three days of “meh” with nothing to make it memorable save for the noticeable failure to even mention our troops or the 12 year war we’ve been fighting and the weird and uncomfortable ramblings of an old man and his chair.
Today, according to Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei at POLITICO, the Romney campaign is now “abruptly” switching strategy, with Mr. Stevens calling this new focus “a broader strategy to make the election a referendum on “status quo versus change.”
Also, there’s a contest to rename Romney’s private plane!
According to the Washington Post, “the campaign held a conference call this morning led by former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie designed to stamp out the story — and make clear that Romney is going to start talking more specifically about his own plan to turn the economy around.”
Stevens says that while this new strategy will still focus mainly on the economy, the new ads will also broaden the campaign’s attention to larger issues including the threat from China (“Trade has to work for America. That means crack down on cheaters like China. It means open up new markets”), foreign policy, and the general tone in Washington.
Stevens says the new unifying theme is, “Can we do better on every front?”
Perhaps it’s too early to talk about the spectacular crash and burn of a political campaign; there are after all seven weeks left before the general election and Romney could (maybe) get it together (it would help if Obama did something really bad, like, I dunno, if he ate a Latino baby and put the video on YouTube. That could conceivably give Romney the bump in polls he needs…maybe.)
Do you remember back when Romney began this run for office? How he ran in the primaries by talking almost exclusively about his private sector experience as a qualification to hold the highest office in the land?
What we are watching right now is not just the in-fighting and back-biting of a campaign in chaos; this is a campaign that was originally sold as competent in leadership and managerial skills. What we are watching implode is a campaign without clear leadership asking the American public to trust them to lead. Is that really the team we want in office?