It Is More Than Etch A Sketch

It Is More Than Etch A Sketch

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

Mitt Romney’s problems are far more complicated than the implications of the gaffe committed yesterday by one of his senior staffers.  Eric Fehrnstrom’s blunder, referring to Romney’s position on issues as being as permanent as those on an etch a sketch pad, only underscored four inherent problems with candidate Romney and the person himself.

Despite having started out as the most likely GOP candidate in 2012, Romney has done virtually everything possible to position himself so as not to receive the nomination. It would seem now, nevertheless, that if he can just keep truckin’ along until the end of June, he probably will outlast the balance of the challengers, although it will not be fun and relaxing. It is in fact some of the signals that he has given off during the primary season which indeed may create major problems in the general campaign season.

First, Romney has not shown himself to be a strong convincing campaigner.  He appears to dislike the entire process. No one likes campaigning and Romney may be right, but the public is not supposed to be able to sense it. Candidates need to convince voters that they like politics and are good at it. Romney fails to do this more often than not. He is humorless or his humor is forced.

Second, Romney has consistently shown himself to be an elitist.  There have been many candidates before who were blue blooded Americans, from both parties, and they have won the Presidency.  Romney just can’t seem to get it correct when he speaks to the American people, to appreciate that not all Americans were born with silver spoons in their mouth.

Third, Romney is not only uncomfortable campaigning or with those other than the monied class, he repeatedly has difficulty in unscripted situations. He also cannot improvise effectively nor does he appear to have an impromptu side to his personality. Furthermore, he required a total overhaul of his debate team when he was being battered by his opponents in the long series of debates.  

Fourth, Romney, it now seems, is unable to control his own staff and that they have been socialized into the Romney view of the world. The notion apparently dominates his campaign that anything and everything is fixable. The electorate forgets, is gullible, does not remember what is said; therefore, the etch a sketch doctrine comment probably reflected their campaign theory.                                                                                                                                                

What the modern day media suggest, however, is something different. You can run away from nothing and everything will haunt you. While they now are involved in damage control mode from the etch a sketch incident, it is likely that the serious implications of the quip could well effect many voters (especially independents), especially in November.

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