Oh man, this is painful to watch;
The conventional “wisdom” going forward is that Willard’s awkwardness on display here, along with the Herculean task of walking back all the stuff he had to say on his journey into Wingnuttia in order to win the primary, will give Obama a relatively easy ride to a second term.
The idea seems to be that so long as there are no wild-cards, like another economic meltdown or something, Obama is more or less home free. I’m not so sure.
Willard has all summer to re-market himself, and gobs of money to do it with. It’s true that he’s awkward, as this video excruciatingly shows. So what? I don’t think that’s a game-changer necessarily at all. It also seems to me that more than a few of the voters Romney will need to win over are likely to be more “understanding”, even forgiving, of his recent walk on the dark side.
It might not be as tough as many liberals like to think for him to rebuild his image as being closer to the “moderate” (ha!) Mass. Governor than the drooling wingnut he “impersonated” for the primary campaign. That old “etch-a-sketch” strategy depends on a lot of indies and fence -sitters being persuaded of exactly that, and thus not finding him as spooky as the d’s would wish to portray him.
That’s not an outrageous bet at all. Certainly no more outrageous that the democrats habitual faith that somehow, magically, rationality will prevail, and that actual substantive arguments and data will be the deciding factor. No matter what, it’s all still going to be a war of messaging, and we all know who tends to dominate that game.
If Mitt’s people can cut some kind of deal with the theocrats and the Randians, getting them to cool their jets for the duration of the campaign so as to facilitate such a repositioning, this thing could very easily be a nailbiter. That may not be so tough—they don’t trust Romney, sure, but they really hate Obama with a passion, and destroying his Presidency has been “job one” since, well, day one.
(I have a lot of family stuff going on right now, along with (unusually early) Spring chores, so posting will be sparser for a week or two—I haven’t had much time to read the news here lately.)