Over the past few years books relating the events of the 2008 McCain campaign showed in blunt detail how much the fiasco in the staff vetting process of Sarah Palin cost the campaign any chance to win. In 2012 it has begun to appear that despite the long experience and high caliber of their collective experience the Romney campaign staff may be equally inept. It is not only the candidate himself who repeatedly is shooting himself in the foot, but it is the fact that his handlers have permitted him consistently to emerge from every contretemps looking even worse than imaginable. Unless Romney is micromanaging the entire campaign, there is no explanation for how only a few weeks after the convention period, it already is beginning to appear that time is running out on Romney’s ability to turn the tide.
The latest polls show that most of the damage has been self-inflicted. To overcome a manageable 3-5% deficit, Romney needs to make no mistakes from here on and hope that Obama slips. (The Pew Center poll released late today showed Obama with an even greater eight percent lead.) Romney needs to reverse the direction of all the polls–regardless of the size of the margins they all show him trailing–; climb back to even; and then hit a grand slam homerun in the first debate. In fact unless Romney shakes up the election in the first debate, it could seal his fate because only the nerds, policy groupies, and the denizens of the capital beltway will be watching the other debates.
Concerning the substance of the Romney fund-raising tape, most of initial attention went to the extensive economic flubs, but for the pro-Israel community as well as for Jewish leaders, Romney’s remarks also may be very telling. He essentially rejected U.S. policy favoring a two-state solution which has been American policy since Bush 41. He showed compassion to the Israelis, dissed the Palestinians, and told the audience he would not engage in a long unsettled conflict, despite years of the U.S. being the pivotal force in the region. He was basically rejecting the Clinton-Bush strategy of active U.S. engagement.
For the President it is beginning to look like it his race to lose. The polls are going his way, he should be fine in debates, and his likeability ratings are rising just as more and more people are questioning Mitt Romney. While a major Biden fiasco or an international incident over which he has no control, could still derail the Obama move FORWARD, at this point his opponent seems to be doing everything Obama needs to insure the President’s re-election.