Despite his protestations to the contrary, Mitt Romney currently appears to be losing the presidential election, and his problems are especially acute in Ohio, the state no Republican has ever won the presidency without. A new New York Times poll Wednesday put Romney a shocking 10 points behind Obama; even the most optimistic Democrats have a hard time believing the president, who won Ohio by less than 5 points in 2008, could win the state by 10 this time around. The most optimistic Republicans, for their part, do not believe any polls at all these days, since, in a highly suspicious coincidence, they are nearly unanimous in showing Romney behind.
Seeing the candidates campaign in the state back-to-back, as I did, neatly illustrated the divergent mood between the two camps -- one flailing, one on a confident roll. The Obama campaign is clicking on all cylinders, consistent, smoothly choreographed and slickly produced; Romney's appearances are a jumble, his tone of voice pleading to the point of desperation, his speech constantly improvised from a Frankenstinian array of spare messaging parts, never quite gelling into a focused whole. Obama's crowds are a Bieber-like fan-throng; Romney's are only passionately angry. A visitor from another planet who didn't speak a word of any human language could tell which one was up and which was down.
Indeed, things are so bleak for Romney that Obama is going to test out a trope that I had hoped would be employed more forcefully earlier: it's unAmerican to support Romney and his off-shoring of money and jobs:
"It's time for a new economic patriotism, rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong, thriving middle class," Obama says in conclusion." Read my plan. Compare it to Governor Romney's and decide for yourself."
In a nation that is struggling to achieve even a moderate reduction in unemployment numbers, that a whole cadre of wealth remains in offshore bank accounts and investments is treasonous. Obama doesn't come out and say this, but it's in between the lines: a strong, thriving middle class doesn't have access to Bermuda hedge funds, Caymans private equity funds, or Swiss bank accounts, and a weak middle class doubly not.
Romney had seven years, literally, to uncouple himself from those investments (or at least dump them into a blind trust) because he had to know they'd be an issue and defending by saying "you're just jealous" doesn't change the fact that mobsters and other criminals use those same facilities for the same reason: to hide money.
Add to that the very real gaffes Romney commits on a weekly basis, from the primaries all the way to this past week, and you have the makings of a real sewer hole of a campaign.
Indeed, Romney's stench is so palpable, it's even infesting apparent jokes. This is the same benchmark the McCain/Palin campaign breached when Tina Fey satired "I can see Russia from my house!" It wasn't a Palin quote, but it described the situation so accurately that it stuck.
How desperate have things become for Republicans? They've resorted to blaming the pollsters.
Oh yes. It's not that Romney has been a terrible campaigner or that Romney was just a bad choice, no, it's the pollsters who somehow have conspired to show Romney flailing like a Little Leaguer facing CC Sabathia.
Because goodness knows, there's no competition to get it right and earliest! The long term effects of this kind of conspiring would be not only tragic, it would be actionable by any shareholders.
Here we have another example of the Republican anathema to science and mathematics. For the GOP, God's poll tells them otherwise because they pray nightly for a miracle.
I'm afraid that door is closing too. About the only miracle that could possibly save Romney is during the debates, where Barack Obama unmasks as Osama bin Laden. And even then, Romney would still trail by three in Ohio.