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Over at No More Mister Nice Blog, Steve M. argues that liberals and centrists are getting too excited about Romney's latest shit-step, and that Romney is far from down and out at this point.  Essentially, Steve argues that uncommitted voters just don't pay enough attention to politics to understand what is happening here, and therefore even Romney's dead-Ambassador-to-Libya gaffe is not going to completely sink his campaign.

I don't really disagree with any of Steve's points, but I think his analysis is missing a significant piece of the election puzzle.  For reasons set forth below, I think it really is not very difficult to envision how Romney's truly despicable attempt to cash in on a public tragedy for his private gain (does that remind you of anyone in particular's real-life business model?) really might place him inexorably on that long slide to irrelevancy.

The issue here, really, is not the remaining persuadable public.  As all the pollsters and pundits keep pointing out, there are very few truly swing/undecided voters out there.  Romney already starts behind the eight ball because (i) he is lagging in the polls, and (ii) the universe of undecided voters available to overcome that lag is very tiny, historically speaking.

Romney's trailing status has become something not even Rasmussen or Fox News can ignore any longer.  When the general consensus is that Romney is down by high single digits in Ohio -- pretty much a must-win state for him -- and lags Obama generally in the swing states, then the stench of Loser starts to attach to him.

As a result, we've been seeing a lot of Conservative gasbags and politicos either start to edge away from Romney or else start preemptive attacks on the "GOP Establishment."  

In the first camp we have people like Joe Scarborough, who recently asserted that if Romney loses it will be because he hasn't run a "conservative enough" campaign, i.e., the familiar 'Conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed' schtick. In the second camp we have Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham warning that if Romney loses then the Republican party will try to "blame" conservatives -- as if there is anybody left in that party who isn't already rabidly conservative -- and suggesting that a new, "truly conservative," third party will form in reaction to that blame.

Really, Republicans in disarray.

Then you've got a point Paul Krugman made in a post earlier this week.  Krugman points out that Wall Street and the Big Money Boyz have overwhelmingly given to Romney's campaign, but this is at least as much a hard economic investment for them as it is an ideological one. If Romney begins to look like a poor return on investment, they may stop donating or even -- really! -- start plying Obama with a bit of cash in the hope of getting back some of that old pull.  (Let's remember:  despite the hurt fee-fees over Obama's calling them "fat cats," the Big Money Boyz have done amazingly well during Obama's tenure.) In other words, if Romney appears to be a loser than the only advantage he currently enjoys - the money advantage - might shrink significantly.

And then you have the media. Look, it is in their interest to push the theme of a tight race, but I can't help but think that they don't want to look like chumps either.  These are people whose self-image depends absolutely on being members in good standing in the Church of the Savvy.  Not pointing out the obvious -- that Romney is losing and flailing badly -- risks that standing.

Add all these factors together and I think you get to the reason this latest misadventure may really end up being the final nail in Romney's coffin:  it gives all the ancillary players -- the other pols, the Big Money Boyz, and the media -- an excuse to abandon Romney.  To cut him loose before the stench of defeat/backing a loser/being naive and unsavvy can attach itself to them.  They can all just shrug their shoulders and say something to the effect of:  "We really wanted Obama to lose and we were going to back Romney unconditionally, but after his smirky shit-taking on the corpse of a U.S. Ambassador, well . . . what else could we do?"

The issue here is not whether the low-information, don't-care-to-follow-politics-anyway remaining uncommitted public is going to look at this situation and decide on their own to abandon Romney.  It is whether the ancillary players who largely shape these low-information voters' views will, by their own abandonment of Romney, end up persuading them to do so.

I'm thinking . . . yes.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If the pundits abandon him, he's toast. (5+ / 0-)

    I think you've spotted the key issue here. If he loses the support of the money and the pundits and the media, the low information voter starts to perceive an entirely different situation.

    Good observation.

  •  I was disappointed to hear McCain say this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, JTinDC

    AM that this president was weak in the middle east.  I am more than leary of the Romney campaign as the neocons on steroids who love to wag the dog regarding their idealology has found another fool to do thier bidding and concerned if the media starts backing off of Romney.  Romney had no business to open his mouth regardless of what he had to say as we only have one president at a time.

    It is obvious that the PM of Israel clearly has an interest in this election and  causing chaos in the Obama camp to stir up votes for Rmoney.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:04:35 AM PDT

    •  O'Donnell gave McCain credit last night (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BitterEnvy, Vetwife

      for his tribute to Stevens on the floor of the senate. Rang hollow for me. McCain is still an ass no matter how you slice it.

      And you're right, Romney had no business involving himself. Who was it that had class and decency to say "We only have one president at a time."? He sure is a smart fellow.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:40:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Netanyahu Is Screwed (karma's a bitch) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vetwife
      It is obvious that the PM of Israel clearly has an interest in this election and  causing chaos in the Obama camp to stir up votes for Rmoney.
      After this fiasco, further saber rattling in the Middle East will at best remind people of Mittens' ineptitude at managing foreign policy and at worst lead him into an even bigger outburst of assholery while Obama looks competent and Presidential. If Netanyahu has the sense to figure that out, Mittens' stupidity may have ironically and unintentionally contributed to inhibiting any further provocations from that quarter.

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 08:08:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think both of you overlooked a very pertinent (6+ / 0-)

    point.  Mitt's going off the deep end happend in association with an international incident - the death of an ambassador and the attacks on other embassies.  In that type of situation even low information voters listen to newscasts and have discussions around the proberbial water fountain.  

  •  Two thirds of the electorate has no interest in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MaikeH

    getting into yet another military conflict so they aren't particularly interested in this issue to begin with. And given the way Mitten's is going about this is coming off as a cheap shot which actually works against him so this is really an epic miscalculation.

    Saber rattlling and fearmongering worked in 2004. This isn't 2004. Some one might want to send the GOP a calendar.

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:25:39 AM PDT

  •  Where is the GOP pundit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ashaman

    who will speak the truth, which is that none of this is Romney's fault?  His actions are the only logical response to running for the Presidency from a party that has moved to the far right.  

    It's the party that moved.  Romney just followed it, along with the rest of them.  Until they  realize that the biggest mistake was one they ALL made together, they will continue to be marginalized.

    Still enjoying my stimulus package.

    by Kevvboy on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:36:27 AM PDT

    •  or perhaps put another way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FishOutofWater

      This is only the logical extension of the Republican policy of putting party before country, time and time again.

      Romney just executed that policy a bit more ineptly than usual.

      What kind of craven jerk sees in the death of four Americans only a way to twist words to paint their opponent in a false light?

      •  A very wealthy entitled jerk named Mitt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BitterEnvy

        Mitt bullied his way to the Republican nomination against a very weak field of not-Romneys.

        Republicans tend to follow bullies, but Romney goes to far even for them. He's nasty, unlikable and cold.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:22:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  nanana heyheyhey goodbye (0+ / 0-)

    he`s a gonna! But first lets get rid of him the right way. That is to find the ones who attacked our embassies. Second, kill them. Third, then turn to Romney and say " The ones who hurt Americans are dead, do you have a statement you would like to make"? Leave this up to me gentlemen to bring it about!!! It will be fun. STAND BACK EVERYONE!

  •  that is exactly right. They are turning on him (0+ / 0-)

    now and pointing out all of his supposed inexcusable gaffes because they want cover when the debacle occurs.  

  •  And Now, You Die... (0+ / 0-)

    ...and we all move up in the rankings for 2016!

    On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

    by stevemb on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:57:14 AM PDT

  •  T & R'ed most especially for (0+ / 0-)
    the stench of Loser starts to attach to him
    :)

    Re-elect Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI). Screw Pete Hoekstra.

    by BitterEnvy on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 10:06:48 AM PDT

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