Every candidate running for president has a time in the campaign when they are at their most popular — for whatever reason. Public emotion is at its top while critical analysis of their blather hasn’t hit home yet.
Obviously, incumbents have a problem with this since the public has been watching them blather on for four years. The job of the challenger, then, is to make their case for thowing the bum out late enough so public emotion hits its peak right about election day. The job of the incumbent, obviously, is to keep this from happening, putting the challenger on the defensive early enough so he/she can be shown to be a clown who doesn’t deserve election.
Polls like those cited here (click) make me wonder if my impression a while ago of the Mittster being really popular a bit too soon — like, say, July? — rather than November is coming true. He was hot after the primaries, but now he’s having trouble gaining traction with his accusations of welfare, or whatever other things he’s trying to accuse Obama of. His efforts to take words from Obama and turn them against him are so blatantly out of context even Mitt’s fans are having trouble supporting him. His tax and budget plans have been denounced by impartial groups that Mitt has cited in the past, and how does he explain that?
And while apologists are trying to gloss it over, Mitt’s trip to Europe was a real foot-in-mouth extravaganza.
So now the polls are heading south for him and all he really has to hope for is that the carefully engineered suspence over his vice presidential selection will give him a bump or the economy will take a downturn.
The Sarah Palin fury will be hard to repeat, and it’s kind of ironic that during the 2004 election Republicans accused Dems of hoping the war in Iraq would go badly so Bush would lose, and I would never accuse Romney of hoping that Americans do more poorly financially just so he can get elected, but he can’t be happy about the stories showing that things are, however slowly, getting better.
More financial uncertainty would help him, but if anyone was going to try to make more uncertainty with a good deficit crisis, that is going to be tough to engineer with the Congress out of session. Congressional GOP leaders don’t want to do that anyway because the public is also pretty tired of THAT sort of foolishness.
So where does this leave Mitt?
In trouble a bit too soon.