Here are the top ten reasons why Romney should be concerned about this election:
1) Battleground State Polls
Despite Obama’s low approval rating, Romney has not been able to close the gap in the polls. As of today, Real Clear Politics has Obama ahead by 3 points in the national polls and ahead by 1.3 and 4.2 respectively in the battleground states of Florida and Ohio. The election hinges on who wins the battleground states. No Republican president has ever been elected who did not win Ohio. Romney has to win the majority of swing states to win this election, and he is facing an uphill battle.
2) Dissension in the Ranks
Romney’s inability to close the gap in the polls has puzzled conservative pundits and led to a growing pessimism. Mediaite reported that talk show host Laura Ingraham, a leading conservative figure said, “You should be killing out there, and instead, you’re being killed.” She said that Romney “brought a down pillow to a gun fight.” This comment comes on the heels of her comment on Fox News and her show where she said, “If you can’t beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party,” Ingraham said. “Shut it down, start new, with new people because this is a give-me election, or at least it should be. George Will, the veteran conservative establishment commentator said, "If the Republican Party cannot win in this environment, it has to get out of politics and find another business." Bill Kristol, editor of the very conservative Weekly Standard, said that Romney could be setting a course to lose the election. "When a challenger merely appeals to disappointment with the incumbent and tries to reassure voters he's not too bad an alternative," Kristol wrote, "that isn't generally a formula for victory."
3) Romney’s Credibility Gap
Romney has only released one tax return. He is “planning” to release another. Ann Romney said releasing more details on the family's taxes would merely give the Obama campaign "more ammunition." If there is nothing to hide, why would there be any useful “ammunition.” Romney’s record at Bain is of open concern. While there is no doubt that he ran a successful company and amassed a fortune, how he did it and when he did it have been open to question. There is an open question as to when Romney left Bain. Romney maintains he left in 1999, but SEC filings and state disclosure forms show that he was still involved with the company as late as 2002. Taken together, the refusal to release his tax records and the questions about his tenure at Bain give Romney the appearance of the stereotypical “shady” businessman “with something to hide."
4) Where’s the Beef
Despite repeated calls from the right, Romney has refused to provide any detail for his economic plan. Romney has made the assumption that he can raise defense $2 trillion dollars, cut taxes 20%, and balance the budget. Romney claims that tax reform will keep the plan revenue neutral. He has also proposed closing government agencies. However, Romney has steadfastly refused to provide any detail to support his assumptions and the plan cannot be scored by independent authorities. When asked for detail, Romney has said that he does not know which tax loopholes and deductions he would close. He also has not identified which agencies he would close. In a TPM article Romney is quoted as saying, “I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go.”Romney has refused to provide any detail on what loopholes would be closed in his plan. In an interview, Dick Gregory of Meet the Press asked him repeatedly to provide an example, and Romney either wouldn’t or couldn’t provide an example.
5) Health Care Remains His Achilles Heel
Romney’s Massachusetts health plan was the model for what became the Affordable Care Act. Conservatives have long been concerned about how Romney would address that when confronted by Obama. Rick Santorum famously described Romney as the “worst Republican” on health care. Romney has maintained for months that he would move to repeal the ACA in its entirety. But on Meet the Press, Romney changed his position and admitted that he would keep some of the provisions of the act.
6) The Etch-A-Sketch
During the Republican primary, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstom famously said, “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.” Romney has deployed that strategy throughout his political career. Romney’s etch-a-sketch moments range from his latest back-pedaling regarding his comments about the anti-Muslim video, to his change on retaining key provisions of the ACA. Romney has famously flipped flopped on core issues. Polifact has rated some of these flip flops. Romney has changed position on: Abortion; Gun Control; Immigration; Global Warming; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; Same Sex Marriage and Gay adoption.
The Hispanic/Latino vote is critical to this year’s election, particularly in battleground states like Florida, Nevada, and Colorado. Bush received 44%, McCain, 31%; Romney is polling at 26%. The economy remains the #1 issue in the Hispanic/Latino community. However, Romney’s stance on immigration, including his refusal to support any form of the Dream Act and his policy of “self-deportation,” has alienated many in the group. Pollsters and strategists believe Romney needs 405 of the Hispanic/Latino vote to win the election. The Huffington Post and others have reported that Republicans are concerned about Romney’s poor showing amongst Hispanic/Latino voters. HuffPost reported that John McCain and Lindsey Graham asked Romney to “tone down” his rhetoric.
8) Inability to Control the Conversation
Romney would like to keep the conversation and media attention focused on the economy. Romney and the Republicans were very happy that the August labor report stopped any momentum that Obama may have received from the very well received DNC and turned attention back to the economy. But then the events in Libya and Egypt put foreign policy and diplomacy front and center. Anytime Romney is not talking about the economy, he is losing.
9) Foreign Policy
Romney has been a disaster on the international front. He was the brunt of foreign policy jokes at the DNC. John Kerry said, “Romney’s idea of an overseas trip is tripping over himself overseas.” Obama said, “You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't attend the Olympics and avoid offending our strongest ally."
In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Romney referred to Russia as "without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe.” Russian Prime Minister Putin indicated that a Romney presidency would heighten tensions between the two countries and would renew Russian efforts to expand their missile defense system. He said, "I'm grateful to Romney for formulating his stance so clearly, because he has once again proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems."
On a visit to Israel, he suggested that Palestinian “culture,” not the Israeli occupation or embargoes, was the primary cause of their economic distress. In his latest display of foreign policy ineptitude, Romney prematurely and inappropriately released a statement on the incidents in Egypt and Libya. Foreign policy experts on both sides have harshly criticized Romney for his remarks.
10) The Ron Paul/Gary Johnson Vote
Libertarians supporting Ron Paul and Gary Johnson will vote their conscious and select Johnson and write in Paul wherever possible. The party has tried every tactic possible to silence this group. They disrespected and attempted to silence them at the RNC, they have tried to have them removed from ballots in states, and they have generally treated them like outsiders. The shabby treatment that the GOP is giving this vocal, active, and growing segment of the populace will be felt in November.