There’s nothing whatsoever to be gained . . . by doing what Romney has done, which is to act evasive on a hot-button issue for months on end before finally, grudgingly, issuing a defensive quasi-endorsement of your opponent’s gambit. When the White House announced its policy change, Romney could have attacked the president for bending the rule of law to suit the demands of Democratic coalition politics, or alternatively he could have embraced the DREAM Act himself to pivot away from the hard line he took during the Republican primary campaign. Either move, if finessed effectively, might have helped him with a crucial bloc of voters. But by doing neither, and basically ducking the issue until this late-in-the-game concession, he enabled the White House to reap all of the benefits of its backdoor amnesty without paying any political price at all.Yep. Douthat also diagnoses what I think is the central problem with the campaign, which is that they assumed Romney would be the front-runner by September and made no plan for any other eventuality:
[O]n immigration, health care and indeed just about every topic worth mentioning, the Romney camp apparently decided that the weakness of the economy meant that they didn’t need a clear script at all, and that they could get by with evasions and improvisations instead. On the evidence of current polling, they were wrong.It's worse than evasions and improvisations. It's an apparent unwillingness or inability to actually say anything. Yes, the media aren't playing fair (this Gawker piece makes some good observations in that regard), but they're not the problem.
I see Romney's ads on TV here in Virginia – his message, unfiltered by the press – and it's worse than muddled. It's non-existent. Each time I'm left wondering, "What are you saying? What's wrong with America, and how will you fix it?"
Or, as Jan Crawford tweeted recently, "Why not embrace who you are/why your views are better for America? SAY IT."